Podcast, Radiolab, July 16, 2012.
In early August of 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi had a run of the worst luck imaginable. A double blast of radiation left his future, and the future of his descendants, in doubt. In this short: an utterly amazing survival story that spans … well, 4 billion years when you get down to it.
On the morning of August 6th, 1945, Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a work trip. He was walking to the office when the first atomic bomb was dropped about a mile away. He survived, and eventually managed to get himself onto a train back to his hometown … Nagasaki. The very next morning, as he tried to convince his boss that a single bomb could destroy a whole city, the second bomb dropped. Sam Kean, whose latest book The Violinist’s Thumb scrutinizes the mysteries of our genetic code, tells Jad and Robert the incredible story of what happened to Tsutomu, explains how gamma rays shred DNA, and helps us understand how Tsutomu sidestepped a thousand year curse.