Ralph Carlisle Smith was born in 1910 in New York. He co-authored Project Y: The Los Alamos Story, with David Hawkins and Edith Truslow. He served as Assistant Director of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1947-1957. Smith, like Richard Feynman, saw the explosion of the Trinity Test with the naked eye. He recalled:
“I was staring straight ahead with my open left eye covered by a welders glass and my right eye remaining open and uncovered. Suddenly, my right eye was blinded by a light which appeared instantaneously all about without any build up of intensity. My left eye could see the ball of fire start up like a tremendous bubble or nob-like mushroom. It turned yellow, then red, and then beautiful purple. A hole was punched through the clouds but two fog rings appeared well above the white smoke column.”
Smith later served as the ninth President of New Mexico Highlands University. He died in 1989.