by Dawn Strover
If you saw the recent remake of Godzilla, you saw stock footage from Atom Central, known on YouTube as “the atomic bomb channel.” Atom Central is the brainchild of Peter Kuran, an expert on archival films of the atmospheric testing era of 1945 to 1963. Kuran had a successful career creating photographic and visual effects for the movie business, beginning with his work as an animator on the original Star Wars. Combining his film restoration and photography expertise with his interest in nuclear history, he has also produced and directed five documentaries. He won a 2002 science and engineering Academy Award for a color film restoration technique he developed while working on his 1996 film Trinity and Beyond. Kuran literally wrote the book on How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb, published in 2006, which tells the stories (and shows the work) of the photographers who documented atomic bomb tests. He is currently working with Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories to preserve and catalog images from the bomb-testing era, and to produce a technical handbook that will help people understand these images and the techniques used to create them. Dawn Stover spoke with him about his work.
For more on this story, visit: Peter Kuran: Bringing Hollywood to history | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.