Introduction · Prologue

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What is atomic wonderland? As this introduction explains, the metaphor of ‘atomic wonderland’ is intended to connote a study more complex and revealing than one limited to the Atomic Age, or even ‘atomic culture’. Atomic wonderland brings challenges to our understanding of time, meaning, significance, and style.

This introduction traces the intellectual development of this thesis from the ‘turning point’ of Hiroshima, through to the problem of communicating historical complexity. It explains how an exploration of the Atomic Age in Australia became focused on the meaning of progress; how a story of pioneering scientists became a cultural history of Australian science; and how a thesis became an experiment in some of the possibilities of narrative.

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