How did the development of atomic technology affect education, literature, and other aspects of daily life in the United States?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Atomic technology can be divided into several segments, but the most dramatic in terms of effect had to be the development of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Education - The US government was not afraid, in 1957, of a four foot long object that beeped from space called Sputnik.  They were afraid it gave the Soviets the capability to drop nuclear weapons from satellites.  This led to the National Defense Education Act, which pumped billions into science and math education, a direct result and reaction of the development of nuclear weapons.

Literature - The fear of nuclear holocaust, and later in the 1970s, fear of nuclear meltdown were reflected in film and literature during those times.  Movies like The China Syndrome and The Day After were worst case scenarios of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, and scores of novels were written with the same theme.  This just shows how afraid Americans were at that time.  I remember it well.

Daily Life - There have been many benefits of nuclear technology too, such as radiation therapy for cancer, electricity in our homes, and safer, more powerful warships in our navy.