Andersen presents ‘Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010,’ March 12

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By Special to the Monitor


As part of the Los Alamos Historical Society’s 2012-2013 lecture series, “History and Science,” John A. Andersen will present, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010,” at 7:30 p.m. March 12 at Fuller Lodge.  

“Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2010” is a pictorial tour of the peace parks and museums at the locations of the two U.S. atomic bombings of Japan in August 1945. 

The epicenters are visited, numerous monuments and shrines are shown, and some impression is given of the groups of Japanese people in visitation. Local travel arrangements and the reception as a visitor and the hospitality accorded are noted. A brief view of the Japanese cultural icons in Kyoto is added as an adjunct to the primary trip destinations.

Andersen joined Sandia Corporation as a mechanical engineer early in 1955 and within two weeks volunteered for Operation Teapot in Nevada, where he was a microbarograph operator close in to some large detonations. 

Upon return to New Mexico, he began working with Los Alamos on the W25/MB-1 nuclear air defense emergency capability project. A 50-plus year career ensued, including many joint projects with people on the Hill. 

This was supplemented by being called to a two-year active duty stint with the Army engineers as a combat engineer atomic demolition munitions officers.

Growing up in Miami, Fla., Andersen was close to WWII, being well aware of U-Boat activity. 

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. Andersen worked all over the complex, including a summer at Savannah River Site in South Carolina and for Convair Ft. Worth working on the B-58 supersonic bomber.

He was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia and submitted Sandia’s first solar patent. 

Andersen was an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, and he was on the staff of the United States Nuclear Command and Control System Support staff in Washington, D.C., from 1994-1996.  He is a Life Fellow of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and served many leadership roles at all levels of ASME.

Anderson’s wife Elaine (Reithel), a retired teacher, grew up in Los Alamos where her father was a physicist in the detonator group. He has three grown children: a zoologist, airline captain and rock musician. 

Andersen said he enjoys being a docent at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, home design and construction, sailing, flying small planes and N scale model railroading.

Visit losalamoshistory.org/Events.htm for a schedule and for a synopsis of each lecture.  Lectures are on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the Pajarito Room of Fuller Lodge. The lectures are free and open to the public.