The Metamorphosis of Andrei Sakharov; March 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Gorelik; 6 Page(s)
The cloud turned gray, quickly separated from the ground and swirled upward, shimmering with gleams of orange...The shock wave blasted my ears and struck a sharp blow to my entire body; then there was a prolonged, ominous rumble that slowly died away after thirty seconds or so...The cloud, which now filled half the sky, turned a sinister blueblack color.
It was August 12, 1953, and Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov had just become father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb. Along with a few officials, he donned a dustproof jumpsuit and drove into the blast range. The car stopped beside an eagle that was trying to get off the ground; its wings had been badly burned. "I have been told that thousands of birds are destroyed during every test," Sakharov was later to write in his memoirs. "They take wing at the flash, but then fall to earth, burned and blinded."