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January 6, 1962


Author Affiliations

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

JAMA. 1962;179(1):66-67. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050010068012

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Fifteen years ago we dropped an atom bomb over Hiroshima. It was wartime, and bombs were fair play. Our intention was to kill people, and to the extent that we damaged life and property, the bomb was successful. After the first shock of this big firecracker wore off, we started the ball rolling on the really big damage. We told a lie. It wasn't a big lie. It was a little bitty "maybe" lie. Large doses of radiation cause some mutations; "maybe we caused some mutations." Big amounts of radiation have caused cancer; "maybe we will see some cancer from this explosion." Some scientists received research grants to look for the fulfillment of these "maybe's." Since it worked once, it might work again; so we told bigger lies. "Maybe something will happen that we don't know about; we had better look for it." With the development of bigger and better

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