in the Twentieth Century
By A. Stanley Thompson
Gloucester Farm by Winslow Homer, 1874, scanned image from The Artists' America,
1974, American Heritage Publishing Co, Inc., New York
By Patricia Gray
As a country boy who lived thru the depression and believed that technology would
solve the world's problems, Stanley Thompson naturally turned to the exciting potential
of nuclear energy. In this account of his life in the twentieth century he was thrilled
to be part of developing what he thought would be safe nuclear energy for peacetime
activities. This thoughtful book tells how he gradually realized the lethal load
of radioactivity produced by nuclear reactor is deadly for the whole planet.
His investigations showed alarming potential instabilities capable of spreading deadly
loads of into the environment. He desperately tried to promote new engineering development
of any reactor system prior to construction, but could get no one in power to listen
to his warnings. Government and private nuclear proponents proceeded to build reactors
based upon optimism and ignorance and refused to consider negative indications and
neglected to act.
Economic interests and the profit motive led public and private agencies to blunder
ahead and betray the public trust, he says. Thompson feels that nuclear reactors
mass produce uniquely poisonous radioactive materials, including plutonium which
threatens all life on earth for all time. There is no safe disposal.
After seventeen years in the terminally ill nuclear reactor field, Thompson felt
that he had "had it". He decided that life was too short to waste in this
field and turned his considerable talents in other directions.
He became a professor of engineering at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, then
at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He then retired to think about non-nuclear
environmental problems at an abandoned mountain farm bordering Shenandoah National
Park, Virginia. He and his first wife of 50 years, Barbara, and his beloved children
supported Stanley on his projects from a computer program for reactor kinetics to
Barbara died in 1987 and Stanley later married Millie, a professional musician. She
traveled with him and healed him, after a soul and body crushing accident. They have
been together for eight happy years. They attend Eugene Friends Meeting.
Stanley's book, My Life in the Twentieth Century, is a fascinating book. I hope you
will enjoy it as much as I have.
© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000 All Rights Reserved.
The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher
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