Every art form had to deal with the arrival of atomic age in one manner or another. Some artists were reserved and intellectual in their approach, others less so. The world of popular music, for one, got an especially crazy kick out of the Bomb. Country, blues, jazz, gospel, rock and roll, rockabilly, Calypso, novelty and even polka musicians embraced atomic energy with wild-eyed, and some might argue, inappropriate enthusiasm. These musicians churned out a variety of truly memorable tunes featuring some of the most bizarre lyrics of the 20th century. If it weren't for Dr. Oppenheimer's creation, for example, would we have ever heard lines like "Nuclear baby, don't fission out on me!" or "Radioactive mama, we'll reach critical mass tonight!"?
There are various subgenres that comprise the master genre we like to call the Atomic Platter, but mainly these compositions celebrate, lament or lampoon the Bomb and the Cold War that sprang from the mushroom clouds over Japan.
March 27, 2006
Half-life: Living with the effects of nuclear waste
Mayak, in Russia's Southern Ural mountains, is the largest nuclear complex in the world.
Lying 1400km east of Moscow, close to the Kazakstan border, Mayak has been the key Soviet and Russian military nuclear facility for over 50 years. Read about how Mayak became one of the most radioactive places on the planet.
Mayak has blighted the lives of the communities living in its shadow.
At least 272,000 people have been exposed to high doses of radiation. Thousands have died and those who are left still suffer the horrific effects. Here are their stories.
Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years since Chernobyl
April 26 will be the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Last year, Robert Knoth made a photo-reportage of the lingering effects of the tragedy.
March 22, 2006
Cold War-era supplies found in New York
Workers inspecting the structural foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge uncovered a Cold War-era trove of basic provisions that were stockpiled amid fears of a nuclear attack.
The stash, discovered in a vault under an entrance ramp, includes water drums, canisters of (352,000) calorie-packed crackers, paper blankets, medical supplies and drugs that were used to treat shock.
Yury Mukhin: Soviet electric guitar pioneer
Yury Mukhin, the first electric guitar player in the Soviet Union, once rubbed shoulders with the nation's elite. Then he fell into obscurity - until a sudden change of fortune last year.
March 18, 2006
My great uncle, Stalin's spy in Whitehall
Nick Barratt, the genealogist who unearths secrets in the family trees of celebrities for the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? series, has found there is a skeleton in his own ancestral closet.
His great uncle was a Foreign Office civil servant who spied for the Soviet Union before committing suicide when MI5 finally tracked him down.
March 01, 2006
Cosmonauts plan the biggest golf drive in history
Russia plans to hit a golf ball into Earth orbit from the International Space Station. If NASA approves the plan, the ball would set records for the longest drive ever made--but some experts warn that a mishap could cause "catastrophic" damage to the station.