Atomic Ed

tabletop

Drove this morning with Steve, Robin and Broadus to Los Alamos, to visit The Black Hole, a most unusual place and met its most unusual and inspiring owner, Ed Grothus. Ed recycles the equipment and hardware from the Los Alamos labs and sets it about his warehouse and premises for sale and display. The place is part salvage yard for things as varied as 5 inch think slabs of lexan, microscopes and optics, centrifuges, bomb casings, cast off atomic equipment, stainless steel rods, a camera that takes 100,000 pictures a minute, equipment used in the manufacture of biological weapons…

Ed says he offered that piece of equipment to George Bush for $2000,000. He thought that since George couldn’t find any weapons of mass destruction on his own, he might want to save face by buying it and flying it to Iraq, where George could conveniently arrange to have it “found”.

The kids loved the place. What kid doesn’t love a scrapyard? And these two are creative to the max. Steve and I were even more enthralled, I with an eye out for sculptural components and Steve on the lookout for things for UWC, and to outfit the workshop of his new house.

We found a kindred spirit in Ed and he graciously gave us the tour, including his thoughts on the war, the politicians and the insanity of developing and maintaining an arsenal of atomic weapons, which continues to this day.

Most interesting is the pair of 33′ tall granite obelisks Ed had carved in China and shipped to the Black Hole. I suggested that United World College would be a fitting place to stand them up.

The following article was excerpted from The Bomb Town News Observer blog from Friday, Feb. 23, 2007.

a link to the complete article is here

…For an aging Los Alamos resident whose roots and memories go back to the height of Cold War atomic research and the uncomfortable realization that mankind has the ability to incite Armageddon, Thursday night may have been as big as the Trinity Test.Ed Grothus, 83, saw part of a lifelong dream come true, when a pair of 33-foot high stone obelisks, weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 tons, were delivered to Ed’s “Black Hole” salvage shop.The granite obelisks, manufactured in China at a cost of reportedly more than $100,000, will become the heart of a sculpture that Grothus hopes will tell the tale of Los Alamos and its atomic heritage long after mankind has ceased to exist—an event that Ed says likely will culminate in a flash of nuclear fire in the not-too-distant future.“The white granite obelisks have been commissioned to make note of the occasion in 1945 when the most momentous, man-created event in the history of the world took place at Trinity Site,” he wrote in a notification to interested media.Ed’s atomic art project envisions each obelisk standing atop a 52-inch black granite cube inscribed with the history of Los Alamos in fifteen languages. Ed calls the black cubes the Doomsday Stones—”Rosetta Stones for the Nuclear Age.” Each cube and obelisk will be capped with a 33-inch sphere…

The following is another clipping about Ed I found on the web. A link to the complete article is here.

“Edward B. Grothus has been salvaging material from the waste-stream his entire life. He began Los Alamos Sales Company many years ago while he was still employed as a machinist at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now known as Los Alamos National Laboratory). After 20 years helping to build “better” bombs at The Lab, Ed quit to pursue his independent business interests full-time. The Los Alamos Sales Company was dubbed The Black Hole in recent years because “everything goes in and nothing comes out.”

Aside from pursuing his independent business interests, Ed is widely known for full-time pursuit of his independent political interests. His political activism on the side of peace and nuclear disarmament is not often viewed favorably by the local population, which has a vested interest in the continuation of the nuclear arms race.

But peace and nuclear disarmament have a following around the wider world. Ed has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of newspapers and magazines worldwide (April 1995 Wired, May/June 2003 Mother Jones, April, 2006 Esquire and in Kyodo News in Asia ). He is the subject of a documentary video by Ellen Spiro which has been shown on HBO (Atomic Ed and the Black Hole) and another by Claus Biegert (The Secret and the Sacred: Two Worlds of Los Alamos) in Germany.

Across the parking lot from The Black Hole, is the First Church of High Technology. On Sundays, during “critical mass” there is a bomb unworship service where “we change wine into water”.

Click here to see the embroidered patch Ed designed.”

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