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On the Neutron Trail, Northern New Mexico: Copyright © 2011 Olivia Fermi

“Human ingenuity and human aggression are not compatible. This conflict has the potential to destroy our civilization and possibly our species.”
Jerome I. Friedman (1930-  ), PhD, Nobel Laureate Physics, Enrico Fermis last graduate student

The Neutron Trail is a cultural exploration of choices. In a sense, we’re all on the Trail. Our choices, for better or worse, create a shared legacy and potential of and for nuclear waste, nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

There are dark and light sides of being human  — things we’re proud of and things we find hard to accept. I grew up with that reality. My grandfather Enrico Fermi‘s role in the birth of the atomic era is part of this history and part of my personal family experience.

With the help of my grandmother Laura Fermi, and many others, I came to see how momentary circumstances, world events and world views create a crucible of forces. These forces along with our individual and collective fear, pride, mixed feelings, biases and defenses profoundly affect how we make choices in society.

How do past choices support or restrict future decisions and options? The events of World War II led to the first atomic bomb test (Trinity Test) and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. These are pivotal turning points on the Neutron Trail that, for example, skewed our ability to develop safe, clean nuclear energy.

“All successful human action is preceded by accurate knowledge.”   – Dharmakirti, Buddhist philosopher

Now, the future is calling to us as we race toward planetary-wide eco-system collapse,  increasing social unrest and the potential for more wars.

As nimbly and quickly as we’ve developed technology, can we develop in ourselves a healthier relationship with each other and our world? If so how?

The Neutron Trail offers one avenue to explore these questions. I invite you to trek with me…