The site hosts a short video by Isao Hashamoto, a Japanese artist who created a time-lapse animated map of nearly every nuclear detonation (2053 of them) recorded between 1945 and 1998.
"This piece of work is a bird's eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world."While the work does not include the North Korean tests (estimated at two) that have been held in the 21st century, it is a significant and accurate piece of work.
This is a shocking and disturbing visual image, especially when we get to the early 1960s and the height of the Cold War era.
Possible topics of discussion for our students would be where were the detonations held – and why?
Other questions come to mind as well that could prove worthwhile for discussion/exploration.
For example: What happened to the people who lived on Bikini Island – which became a test site – as well as what long term effects happened to the land there? What are the long-term effects of nuclear blasts in the American West, especially Nevada, where nuclear testing took place for years – and the underground water table? What about testing sites in the former Soviet Union states?
And, perhaps, more importantly, what is the probability of nuclear weapons being used either by terrorist organizations, Iran, Israel, or North Korea?
An excellent article titled “The Growing Nuclear Club” by Kathy Sutcliffe appeared on the Council of Foreign Relations website. The article discusses current and potential members of the “Nuclear Club”. Another good visual to use is from Doomsday Clock.
Yet, it is also important to remember the conditions that formed the basis of the development of the atomic weapon (a race between the U.S. and Nazi Germany in World War II), as well as the reason for the continuing development of weapons and delivery systems (the Cold War, spies, selling of state secrets – a whole variety of interesting topics of discussion).
Do you know where your local Civil Defense shelter is???
This all could lead to wonderful exploration, critical thinking, as well as use of all aspects of Social Studies (from history to sociology, geography to environment and economics).
Site for nuclear detonations
Matt’s Geography Blog
International Atomic Energy Agency
Screen Shot of Video/Geekosystem
Bikini Relocation/Bikini Atoll
1954 Nuclear Explosion at Bikini Atoll/atomic archive
Civil Defense Guy/Civil Defense Museum