Charles Glassmire, artist and former Nuclear Engineer for Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory and (later) Nuclear Energy Systems.   Now teaches at Carnegie Mellon University in the OSHER (adult education) program. He has a Bachelors in Physics and later on, the Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University in New York in Film . He served on the faculty of five colleges and Universities. He served as a Radiological Defense Officer (RADEF) for the City of Pittsburgh, where he taught courses in Radiological Defense. He currently teaches Digital Photography, Digital Art, Digital Filmmaking, Cinema Arts, and a course in “Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism”. He is licensed to handle radioisotopes.


7 Responses to “About”

  1. Jeanne Gassman Says:

    Mr. Glassmire,

    I’ve been reading your blog and have enjoyed it immensely. I wondered if you would be willing to correspond with me offline to answer some questions. I’m a published writer working on a novel that is partially set in Las Vegas from 1957-1967. One of my main characters is a meteorologist at the NTS.

    I’ve already made several trips to the Atomic Testing Museum and toured the NTS. I’ve also done extensive research online, pouring through declassified govt. documents. But what I would really like to know is more about the day-to-day life of the meteorologists, engineers, and workers at Mercury and the NTS. Would you be willing to discuss some of this with me via email?

    Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Jeanne Gassman

    • Charles Glassmire Says:


      Thank you for your interest in my blog and the nice comment. I would like to know what you have published before also. What is the new book about? I admire folks who are already published.

      I’m not sure my experience is worth exploring. Are you intending to quote things and name names? Also I might suggest another book you may have already read entitled “Area 51”. The author does not always get the science correct, and she really is a more than a little off when she discusses the NERVA project which I was a part of. But there is some discussion of people who worked there (the NERVA program was adjacent to area 51).

      Charles Glassmire

  2. Jeanne Gassman Says:


    Thanks for getting back to me. I haven’t read Area 51 but am aware of it. I’ll definitely pick up a copy. Some of the books I have read include Bombs in Our Backyard and Yellow Dirt. I’ve also read through a number of DOENV documents that provide an overview of activities at the NTS. Other research includes trips to Nevada, the NTS, Grants, NM, and parts of AZ as well as numerous websites, blogs, and publications on the Internet.

    Most of my publications are small pieces–short stories and essays in literary magazines. I was also a columnist for a writer’s magazine for almost five years, writing articles on the craft and business of writing. I have an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and have received fellowships in writing from Ragdale, Creative Capital Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. My first novel (a historical work set in first century Palestine) is currently on submission to agents.

    My novel-in-progress spans over 30 years from 1957 to 1991 and is the story of a family whose lives are intertwined with the nuclear industry. The father works at the NTS from 1957-1967. The son later takes a job in a uranium mill in Grants, NM. There are three main settings in the story: Las Vegas/NTS; Winslow, AZ; and Grants, NM. The family is also somewhat dysfunctional. The mother suffers from undiagnosed bi-polar syndrome, and her behavior sets off a chain of events that nearly destroys the family. In addition, the book explores the drastic cultural and societal shifts that occurred during these decades. The whole world changed from 1957 to 1990!

    As I mentioned earlier, this is a work of fiction. Other than using the names of real places, tests, and major events (ex: Kennedy assassination), I have no intention of naming names or quoting real people. What I’m seeking are those details that provide verisimilitude to the fiction, the small significant things that will bring the scene to life. You may not think your experience is worth exploring, but I would love to learn more about the day-to-day life of employees at the NTS during that decade of 1957-67. I’m interested in things like routine schedules, office equipment, meals at the cafeteria, recreational activities, housing (including costs of renting the trailers), etc. In other words, how did people live and work at Mercury and the NTS?

    There are specific dates that are important to me, including Nov. 22, 1963. I know the Greys test was performed that morning as part of Operation Niblick, but what would be the normal routine after a successful test? How would they have learned about JFK’s assassination, which happened less than 2 hours later? Did people watch TV or listen the radio? Did the news come over the teletype as well? Were nonessential personnel allowed to go home? If so, who qualifies as nonessential personnel?

    These are the kind of questions I have. Some of this information can be found via books and research, but it’s always more interesting to hear it from someone who was there.

    Thank you again for responding to my request. If you’d like to correspond with me via private email, my address is below (change (at) to @):


    Jeanne Gassman

  3. Billy Williams Says:

    I have read about the problems faced by those downwind of the test site when so many tests were set off, mainly in the ’50s…Do you cover that anywhere, may have missed it.

    • Charles Glassmire Says:


      Haven’t gotten to that yet. Should be interesting. Keep reading – there’s lots more to come.

      Charles Glassmire

  4. Kate Steratore Says:

    Did you know my father, Frank Spurrier?

  5. Brandon Rigney Says:

    Charles: are you still there?

    I left a long message on your website in the comments section, trying to reach you.

    I worked at Large, PA, Astronuclear division, at the same time you did on the NERVA program, there and in Jackass Flats.

    I would live to exchange stories with you, and see who we knew in common.

    Brandon Rigney
    Dallas, TX
    Email: rigney@alum.mit.edu
    Phone: 214-706-4160

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