Healing Past Relationships: Laying the Foundations for Princeton and Hiroshima University with Atomic Bombed Roof Tiles


By the members of Prince-STAR-nian (Samuel Dorsey, Leila Grant, Noelle Kim, Emma Patterson, and Campbell Schouten)


“We should never be enemies, but cooperate with each other to achieve 

a world without nuclear weapons.” 

-Misaki Katayama, in an interview with the group


Inspired by the work of a FRS152 project in Spring 2022, this project had and continues to have three main goals in our work with the atomic bombed roof tiles sent to Princeton University by University of Hiroshima in 2011: increasing the accessibility of these tiles and their accompanying documents, holding Princeton University accountable for its past and present work in developing science, technology, and policy concerning nuclear weapons, and rebuilding relationships which may lead to a more peaceful future. 


In this project, we examine the work done by indigenous Dene people in taking accountability for their involvement with nuclear development; provide digital copies of the important documents surrounding the roof tiles, which can be found in person at Mudd Manuscript Library in Princeton, New Jersey, open to all; highlight artwork which has already been used to memorialize the destruction which the atomic bombs caused and to call for an antinuclear future; and, as a keystone, provide a transcript of an interview with a PhD student at the University of Tokyo and third-generation A-bomb survivor, Misaki Katayama. 

We hope to engage in what Katayama calls a “peace study,” using the resources available at Princeton to reckon with the history and implications of the prestige with which Princeton is associated. The work here is historical, documentary, and humanistic; most of all, though, it is provocative: from the Latin prefix pro- (“forward”) and verb vocare (“to call”), this project calls all of us forward in working towards a world which is more peaceful and united. Looking forward, among other projects, we hope that the tiles will one day be displayed permanently. . . for now, though, we invite you to enjoy this digital exhibition which we have curated.