Cinema History from the Cold War!

Living With the Atom
The Moody Institute of Science
1957

In 1896 on Chicago's north side, The Moody Bible Institute was founded as an attempt to spread Christian ideals to the city's poor.  Ultimately successful in their endeavor, the Institute expanded in the early part of the 20th Century, eventually becoming an accredited university which broadcasted the first ever Christian radio programs in the late 1920's.  Focusing on the disciplines of biology and chemistry, the Moody Institute of Science developed as a branch of the organization in 1945.  At the helm was Dr. Irwin Moon, a preacher and theologian with a keen interest in the natural sciences.  While working with troops during World War II, Moon saw the potential of film as an instructional medium.  As a result, he created the extensive Sermons from Science film series which blended traditional Christian teachings with entertaining science experiments, often performed by Moon himself.  Arising from a similar vein as his popular sermons, Living with the Atom is also hosted by Dr. Moon who demonstrates the awesome scope of atomic energy with several quick demonstrations while also discussing the responsibility needed to control such power.
                                   

Dr. Moon begins by placing atomic energy in a historical perspective.  Like several films of the genre, he stresses the universality of atoms, specifically from the cosmic rays of the sun while quickly attributing this power to Intelligent Design.  Using "the building blocks of The Creator" (model atoms and isotopes), Moon demonstrates the differences between chemical energy (the explosion of a single firecracker) and atomic energy (the flash of an atomic bomb).  The energy of the atom is also given a size perspective when Moon explains that the amount of energy contained in the atoms of a single railway ticket could power a four engine plane to outer space and back.  Moon provides an abbreviated history lesson about the importance of Albert Einstein's theories, before proceeding to an experiment indicating how the removal of air from a gas canister causes it to collapse on itself, showing the lack of atoms to provide internal air pressure.

                                                                                                                                                 
Moon stresses that there are several ways to release the energy of the atom, including nuclear fission as well as the recently developed cyclotron.  Before showing extensive footage of the actual cyclotron, however, Moon demonstrates the general principles behind its operation through magnets and spinning metal discs.  The medical cyclotron presents only one function of nuclear energy, the other uses, Moon asserts, can be seen in the testing of the atomic and hydrogen bombs.  Providing footage from Operation Crossroads and Operation Ivy, Moon discusses the awesome destructive power which was unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and was now being perfected through the Pacific tests.  It is this aspect of nuclear power which concerns Moon, as a force for conflict and devastation, which provides a troubling counter to the host of positive uses such technology can potentially yield.

"Man has within his grasp the power to destroy civilization, practically destroy the earth in a few days time".  In the final minutes of the film, Dr. Moon takes time to present the moral dilemma presented by atomic power.  As the clip below displays, Moon asks if man can use the guidance of God to harness nuclear energy for good.