Medical Discovery NewsBridging the World of Medical Discovery and You

Recent Episodes

It Didn't Pay to be Down Wind


High atop a tower in the New Mexico desert, the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in a test called Trinity on a July day in 1945. People over 100 miles away could see the mushroom cloud. No one knew then how far the fallout would go, but now a study shows that within 10 days the radioactivity had reached 46 states, Canada, and Mexico.

As depicted in the biopic, Oppenheimer, the Trinity test ushered in a new age of nuclear weapons testing that culminated in the bombing of two Japanese cities and ended in 1992 having set off over a thousand nuclear explosions.

Recently, scientists reconstructed the weather the day Trinity exploded by charting weather patterns extending thirty thousand feet up. Using this data, researchers could track the fallout of Trinity and the nearly 100 tests that followed.

They could estimate ground deposits of radioactivity for the first five days after each test. It revealed that northeastern New Mexico was heavily impacted. There are stories of children playing with the ash like snow, trying to catch it on their tongues.

Despite the passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, many in New Mexico have been denied. About half a million people lived within 115 miles of the test site. They weren't warned and many have since died of cancer. Even though the US and Russia have been reducing their nuclear stockpiles, countries like China and North Korea may be producing more.

You can now hear additional episodes on many of your favorite podcast providers - visit Buzzsprout to subscribe.

More Information

Trinity Nuclear Test's Fallout Reached 46 States, Canada and Mexico, Study Finds
The research shows that the first atomic bomb explosion's effects had been underestimated, and could help more "downwinders" press for federal compensation...

SGS Maps Radioactive Fallout from U.S. Nuclear Weapon Tests, Beginning with July 1945 Trinity Test
SGS has released research showing in unprecedented detail the spread of radioactive fallout from 94 continental U.S. atmospheric nuclear weapon tests, including the first nuclear weapon test - the 16 July 1945 Trinity explosion that was a key part of the Manhattan Project. This work has been reported in The New York Times...

Fallout from U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests in New Mexico and Nevada (1945-1962)
One hundred and one atmospheric nuclear weapon tests were conducted between 1945 and 1962 in the United States, resulting in widespread dispersion of radioactive fallout, and leading to environmental contamination and population exposures. Accurate assessment of the extent of fallout from nuclear weapon tests has been challenging in the United States and elsewhere, due to limited monitoring and data accessibility. Here we address this deficit by combining U.S. government data, high-resolution reanalyzed historical weather fields, and atmospheric transport modeling to reconstruct radionuclide deposition across the contiguous United States, with 10-kilometer spatial and one-hour temporal resolution for five days following detonation, from all 94 atmospheric tests detonated in New Mexico and Nevada with fission yields sufficient to generate mushroom clouds...


Medicine is constantly advancing – that is a great thing about life in the 21st century. But it doesn’t just happen. Dedicated biomedical scientists are making discoveries that translate into those new medical advances.

Biomedical science is broad, encompassing everything from social science to microbiology, biochemistry, epidemiology, to structural biology and bioinformatics to name just a few areas. And, it can involve basic fundamental biology, the use of AI and chemistry to clinical studies that evaluate new medicines in patients.

No matter the research focus, the goal is always the same, to advance human health. It may take a few months, a few years or for fundamental science, a few decades. Few people make the connection that biomedical science is medicine and that biomedical scientists are working today on the medicine of tomorrow. Our weekly 500-word newspaper columns and 2-minute radio shows and podcasts provide insights into a broad range of biomedical science topics.

Medical Discovery News is dedicated to explaining discoveries in biomedical research and their promise for the future of medicine.


Alternatively, you can copy and paste the following web address (URL) into iTunes as a new subscription:

You can also search and subscribe to "Medical Discovery News" in the podcast section of iTunes.

See all podcasts and radio stations

The web site and Medical Discovery News radio program (Program) are made possible by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB)as a community service and are intended to advance UTMB's mission of providing scholarly teaching, innovative scientific investigation, and state-of-the-art patient care in a learning environment to better the health of society and its commitment to the discovery of new innovative biomedical and health services knowledge leading to increasingly effective and accessible health care for the citizens of Texas.

All information provided on the web site and in the Program is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. Any information obtained by participating as a web site visitor or program listener is not intended to and should not be considered to constitute medical advice.

Thoughts and opinions expressed on the Program or on the website are those of the authors or guests and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of UTMB. The provision of links to other websites is not to be construed as written or implied sponsorship or endorsement of such websites by UTMB.

Please contact Dr. David Niesel or Dr. Norbert Herzog via email with any concerns, suggestions or comments.

All rights are reserved to information provided on the website or other information sources. No part of these programs can be reproduced stored in a retrieval system or transcribed in any form or by any means for personal or financial gained without the express written permission of Drs. Niesel and Dr. Herzog.