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September 15, 2011
THE Manhattan Project gives the
story of the birth of the US Army-
run research and development
program that developed the atomic
bomb, and those who helped build
and unleash its power.
It's about people like E. Fermi,
J. Oppenheimer, General Groves, E.
Teller and others whose names were
synonymous with the nuclear age.
The story starts in the embryonic
world of nuclear physics in notewor-
thy laboratories and the discovery
of fission in Germany in 1938 that
sparked interest elsewhere.
With war clouds looming over
Europe, some expatriate scientists
such as Einstein lobbied President
Roosevelt to divert vast resources
toward building the bomb before the
other side did.
The concept for the bomb was
simple -- slam together two highly
concentrated enriched chunks of a
few kilograms of fissionable material
like uranium or plutonium to achieve
a critical mass and chain reaction, to
develop a nuclear explosion.
However, the production of such
material was far more complex and
time consuming, requiring tens of
thousands of scientists, engineers,
technologists and operators working
in huge diffusion plants.
Some scientists, fearing a US
nuclear monopoly, took matters
into their own hands and transmit-
ted bomb development secrets to the
Whether the deciding factor in
shortening the Pacific War was the
dropping of the bombs on Japan in
1945 or Russia's entry into the war
against Japan, it is still debated and
open to conjecture today.
GREAT SCOT: There's a lot to like about the Volkswagen Polo
GTI hatch -- and don't forget the tartan trim on the inside.
Photos: SGT Andrew Hetherington
A little too perfect
AFTER spending a short time in the
driver's seat of the new Volkswagen
Polo GTI, it didn't take long to verify
the validity of the swag of internation-
al motoring industry awards it received
The 1.4l engine, fitted with a turbo
and a supercharger, was like an animal
waiting to be unleashed.
Drivers not checking the speedometer
could easily find themselves clocking up
So rapid is the acceleration the only
way you will know if you are not driv-
ing within the speed limits is the use of
your over-active left hand switching the
indicator stalk to the right as you go to
pass approaching vehicles that seem to
be reversing towards you.
Steering inputs defied the fact it's
driven through the front wheels.
There was some torque steer, but on
the whole its road manners were well
above what was expected of a car in the
There's a lot else to like about the
Opening the rear hatch revealed sur-
prisingly enough space to lug a couple of
Being a five-door, one could have
expected room for nothing more than a
suitcase and pair of running shoes.
Buyers will appreciate the well-
designed interior, high standard of work-
manship and materials used.
Some of the features include soft-
touch dash, sports seats with tartan trim
(great if you have Scottish heritage), a
flat-bottomed leather steering wheel with
stereo and blue tooth phone buttons, cli-
mate control, in-dash driver multi-func-
tion display, power windows and enough
air bags to cushion a Davis Cup team.
The safety package continues with
anti-lock brakes with electronic brake
force distribution, brake assist and rigid
passenger safety cell with door-side
From the outside it looks like an
under-nourished, prematurely born Golf
GTI -- a deliberate move by VW to make
a smaller and cheaper sibling of the
hugely popular family-sized hot hatch.
Unfortunately, it's a little too perfect
In particular, it lacks driver involve-
ment and doesn't give enough feedback
to reward you for hand and foot inputs.
The Polo GTI is a great car but, if
you want to work a bit harder behind the
wheel and actually feel the rewards from
your efforts, then it might not be for you.
But if you like tartan it might be
worth a look.
Volkswagen Polo GTI five-door
hatchback with semi-automatic
seven-speed DSG transmission
Engine: A turbo and supercharged
1.4l engine producing 13kW power and
250Nm or torque
Test vehicle RRP: $29,490 before on-
Reviewer: SGT Andrew Hetherington
The Manhattan Project
Author: Cynthia C. Kelly
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Reviewer: Gregory Jarosch
Available at: Defence Library Service
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