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Old 12-25-2014, 11:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A Concise History of the Atom Bomb

“To understand how black projects began, and how they continue to function today, one must start with the creation of the atomic bomb. The men who ran the Manhattan Project wrote the rules about black operations. The atomic bomb was the mother of all black projects, and it is the parent from which all black operations have sprung.” –Annie Jacobsen

“…and these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them.” –H.G. Wells

12JULY1939 – Physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner, both natives of Hungary, piled into Wigner’s car and drove to Peconic Bay in Long Island to talk to Albert Einstein. They were concerned about the successful fission (splitting) of the uranium atom into a radioactive barium isotope which was achieved back in December by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman of Germany. In January, Danish physicist Neils Bohr and Italian physicist Enrico Fermi opened the Fifth Washington Conference on Theoretical Physics where the results of the fission experiment of Hahn and Strassman were confirmed by Fermi and John R. Dunning at Columbia University.

What concerned Szilárd was that the fission could be used to produce a chain reaction—an idea he had been thinking about since 1933. The year before that, British physicist Ernest Rutherford had split a lithium atom but was not impressed with his own results at using liberated protons to drive a chain reaction. But Szilárd was convinced that liberated neutrons would do the trick. He had been trying to attain a chain reaction with lighter atoms but found that these did not work well. A heavier, neutron-rich atom, as uranium, would be a more viable candidate.

Szilárd and Fermi had worked on building a nuclear reactor that would split uranium, liberate neutrons and use them to drive a chain reaction. Nazi Germany had some excellent minds in its employ. In addition to Hahn and Strassman, there was Werner Heisenberg, Lise Meitner, Wernher von Braun, Hermann Oberth and Max Planck among others.


Enrico Fermi whose work in fission made the atom bomb and nuclear power possible.

What worried Szilárd and Fermi was if the Germans hit on the idea of using binding energy to release huge amounts of energy in an exponential chain reaction. The result would be a frighteningly powerful explosion releasing immense destruction—an atomic bomb.

Basically, atomic nuclei are composed of protons and neutrons (collectively known as nucleons). Protons are positively charged while neutrons are neutral and, even though like charges repel one another, the protons in the nucleus are bound together by the strong nuclear force which is very powerful but only over very tiny distances. The amount of energy required to separate the nucleus into its individual nucleons—to overcome the strong nuclear force—is called binding energy.

The energy of the strong nuclear force binding the nucleons together comes from the mass of the nucleons themselves. For example, four nucleons in a nucleus (which, in this case, would be a helium nucleus) actually weigh less than those same four nucleons weighed separately and summed together. How? Because the some of the mass of the nucleons being converted to the energy that makes up the strong nuclear force due to E=mc^2. We call this phenomenon mass defect. The atoms with heavier nuclei as uranium and plutonium require greater binding energy to separate them and hence each nucleon has a lower atomic weight than with a lighter nuclei. When a neutron collides with a larger, heavier nucleus hard enough to fission (split) that nucleus, the resulting fragments will have atomic weights that combined are somewhat less than the original nucleus. The difference in atomic mass before fission and after is what is converted to energy. When these collisions occur in a manner that goes on exponentially in a chain reaction (a process called supercriticality), the energy released is enormous. The reason the experiments working with splitting lighter atoms didn’t produce result was that the binding energy is much smaller, the mass of the nucleons was almost normal and so there was very little to convert into energy.

Szilárd was worried, if Hitler should get the atomic bomb… Szilárd felt that Fermi’s work with fission needed to be given priority and that experiments with uranium fission in particular needed to be pursued in hopes of beating Hitler to the bomb.

Szilárd dictated the letter for Wigner to take down. Upon completion, Einstein signed it. Einstein had nothing to do with the work of fission or the atomic bomb but he was an old friend of Szilárd’s and they felt Einstein’s prestigious name on the document would get it some attention. The letter would be sent to the Belgian ambassador. At Wigner’s suggestion, a copy was sent to State Department.

The prospects for getting any funding for uranium research and therefore building a bomb were virtually impossible unless the president ordered it. Szilárd, a virtual vagabond who lived out of suitcases and did not own a car or even have his own room, had no contacts in the White House but he was introduced to economist and banker Alexander Sachs through a mutual friend and Sachs did have Roosevelt’s ear. Sachs was also Jewish and immediately agreed with Szilárd that Hitler must not be allowed to beat the Allies to making an atomic bomb. Together, they drafted a letter which they sent to Einstein.


Einstein and Szilárd.

2AUG39 – Szilárd went to Long Island to visit with Einstein. This time the driver was another Hungarian physicist, Edward Teller. They went over the contents of the letter which Einstein dictated in German. Szilárd went back to Columbia University and dictated it to his secretary in English. Not realizing that Einstein was supposed to be the author of the letter, she thought Szilárd either crazy or deceitful when he had her type Einstein’s name at the bottom. Szilárd sent the English letter to Einstein who then signed it and sent it back to Szilárd. Szilárd then gave the letter to Sachs who delivered it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in October when FDR had the time to give it careful consideration (throughout September, Roosevelt was preoccupied with Hitler’s invasion of Poland).


The Einstein-Szilárd Letter.

The text:

Old Grove Rd.
Nassau Point
Peconic, Long Island

August 2nd, 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.

Sir:
Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable -- through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America -- that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable -- though much less certain -- that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor [illegible] of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and the former Czechoslovakia, while the most important source of Uranium is Belgian Congo.

In view of this situation you may think it desirable to have some permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust with this task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an unofficial capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) To approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and out forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of uranium ore for the United States;

b) To speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make a contribution for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of industrial laboratories which have the necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines, which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, Von Weishlicker [sic], is attached to the Kaiser Wilheim Institute in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.

Yours very truly,

(Albert Einstein)


Roosevelt responded to Einstein on 19 October:


The text:

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

October 19, 1939

My dear Professor:

I want to thank you for your recent letter and the most interesting and important enclosure.

I found this data of such import that I have convened a Board consisting of the head of the Bureau of Standards and a chosen representative of the Army and Navy to thoroughly investigate the possibilities of your suggestion regarding the element of uranium.

I am glad to say that Dr. Sachs will cooperate and work with this Committee and I feel this is the most practical and effective method of dealing with the subject.

Please accept my sincere thanks.

Dr. Albert Einstein,
Old Grove Road,
Nassau Point,
Poconic, Long Island,
New York.


Roosevelt authorized the Advisory Committee on Uranium chaired by Lyman James Briggs, director of the Bureau of Standards. The first meeting of the Committee was held on 21 October and attended by Szilárd, Wigner and Teller. Someone decided using “Uranium” in the Committee’s title might tip off adversaries and, in 1940, the National Defense Research Committee (NRDC) under Vannevar Bush took over atomic bomb research to aid in keeping military and civilian scientists working together by establishing a rigid chain of command. A year later, the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD created by FDR’s Executive Order 8807) took over also headed by Vannevar Bush because the NRDC did not have the latitude of gathering and developing research which was seen as particularly problematic with increased hostilities in Europe.

The problem was that the scientific and military communities continued to argue over how much uranium was needed to make a bomb. The basic assumption was that tons of enriched uranium was needed to make a bomb and therefore it was not particularly practical. Communication between both sides was still grudging.

By 1942, this situation changed when physicist Marcus Oliphant arrived from England with the “Frisch–Peierls memorandum.” Two years earlier, physicists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls working at the University of Birmingham in England calculated the critical mass of U-235 to be about 1kg (one kilogram of matter is equivalent to E=mc^2 or E = 1 kg x (3 x 10^8 meters/sec)^2 = 1 x 3 x 10^8 x 3 x 10^8 joules= 9 x 10^16 joules of energy equivalent to three million metric tons of coal). This sent shockwaves through the British government which formed the Maud Committee to look into making a bomb. Because of the lack of communication between military and civilian scientists in America, no physicists had been informed of this revolutionary finding until Oliphant finally showed them the memorandum. This made building a bomb not only very possible but a top priority.

In June 1942, all atomic bomb research and production would be carried out the by United States Army Corps of Engineers’ Manhattan District. “Manhattan” was chosen as a cover word for uranium and plutonium research. And so the Manhattan Project had begun. The man put in charge of it was Julius Robert Oppenheimer.


J. Robert Oppenheimer.

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Old 12-25-2014, 11:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The first atom bomb was known as an “implosion device.” It was big, unwieldy looking thing called “the Gadget.” Its fissionable core was plutonium, a recently discovered element at that time.


The Gadget. The cables are hooked to HE (high explosive) charges. The plutonium core is a spherical mass. The charges—very carefully timed—go off at once compressing the plutonium sphere at every point along its surface at the same instant, causing the core to go supercritical and explode. To ensure the charges go off at exactly the same instant, the cables of each charge had to be same exact length.

To work, the Gadget was designed to keep two subcritical masses of fissile material apart and then allowing them to combine into a supercritical mass. For example, a polonium pellet wrapped in foil inside the fissile core will prevent supercriticality until the radioactivity of the polonium eats through the foil causing the generation of fast neutrons for a chain reaction. Then instead of slowing down the fast neutrons as with ordinary nuclear power, they instead use a reflector of beryllium, for example, to reflect fast neutrons back into the fissile material which would enable the critical mass to be much smaller and therefore lighter and yet much more powerful. Or they might use a tamper. A tamper is a dense shell of material, usually depleted uranium, that spherically surrounds the fissile core which then gets heated and expands when the fission process starts. This expansion of the tamper puts pressure back on the core slowing its expansion enabling more of the core material to undergo fission. In addition, the tamper is also a neutron reflector which keeps fast neutrons from escaping from the core. In other words, the majority of the fissionable material gets used before detonation is allowed to occur thus increasing the yield. If the tamper is made of depleted uranium, this too will undergo fission contributing yet more power to the yield.


Homer Harris - Atomic Bomb Blues (1947) Muddy Waters On Guitar - YouTube

As the neutrons are ejected from an unstable atomic nucleus, they release energy in the form of a gamma ray—a high-energy electromagnetic wave/photons. Because the neutrons are not slowed down, the amount of neutrons liberated from nuclei increases exponentially in the chain reaction, i.e. the mass goes supercritical.

The site where the Gadget was to be detonated was part of an Air Force base at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Oppenheimer dubbed it “Trinity” after 14th Holy Sonnet of John Donne:

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


We’ll examine Oppenheimer’s strange choice of designations for this project in a mind-bending, pysch-warping tour of the atom bombs and those who built them. But, for now, let us continue on with our little history.

Detonation of the Gadget was scheduled for 0400 hours on 16JULY1945. The day before, however, thunder was heard rolling by the afternoon. Some 10 miles from Ground Zero, the wind grew so wild that it collapsed tents while dumping sheets of rain. By the early morning hours, the storm crossed Ground Zero knocking out the power including the main searchlight throwing the camp into darkness. The detonation event was postponed by one-and-a-half hours.

As the Gadget was detonated at 0529 hours and 45 seconds, the nearby mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for a couple of seconds with the color going from purple to green to intensely white. The base camp reported the temperature as “being as hot as an oven.” The shock wave reached the closest observers in 40 seconds and was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away.


The Gadget tower at the Trinity site.


The Gadget being hoisted into place on the tower.


As the Gadget detonates. cameras capture the event in fractions of a second. This a rapidly expanding ball of plasma released from the bomb.


The plasma ball at 0.025 seconds.


The fireball at a tenth of a second.


Trinity cloud at 12 seconds.


Military observers of the Trinity explosion.


Sixty seconds into the blast. The mushroom cloud rose to 7.5 miles (12.1 km).


The Gadget explosion fused the desert sand into radioactive glass forming a crater about 10 feet (3.0 m) deep and 1,100 feet (340 m) wide.


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Old 12-26-2014, 01:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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A concise history of one of the most disgusting things humans ever made.

TLDR. Don't care. Wasted money, wasted land, wasted brain power. The technology itself is fantastic the use of it is despicable.
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tl;dr wtf
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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tl;dr wtf
Lol, welcome to a Lord Lare post. If you're interested in the subject matter it's always worth reading. He's the Trollheart of random historical shit.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The Little Boy atom bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima was a "gun type" uranium bomb. Two different sized masses of fissile material were separated—one at each end. An HE charge blew a uranium “bullet” (which was actually the larger mass) down an ordnance barrel to impact against the smaller mass. Basically, two pieces of uranium were being slammed together to go supercritical. It weighed 9700 lbs. (4400 kg). It carried 140 lbs (64 kg) of fissile material. Its yield was 15 kilotons.


The Fat Man bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki was an implosive type bomb that used a combination of plutonium and uranium. It worked the same as the Gadget. The Fat Man weighed 10,300 lbs (4670 kg). It carried only 14 lbs (6.2 kg) of plutonium. Its yield was 20 kilotons.

The original physicists who worked on the Bomb did so because of the threat that Hitler might beat them to it. What they didn’t know and could not have known was something revealed in memos released back in the 1990s. According to these memos, Germany was never the intended target—Japan was. Why? Because Germany was land-locked for the most part. If a bomb was dropped on Berlin, for example, and it failed to go off then the United States had just handed the Nazis a nuclear bomb. Japan, being an island group, was different. The bombs weren’t dropped directly over the land but actually off the coast a ways. That way, if the first bomb fell into the water, it would take the Japanese some time to locate and retrieve it. This would give the US time to drop the second bomb.

That was the reason two bombs were built with a different arming system. If one bomb didn’t go off, they still had a chance to try it again. The simpler bomb, the Little Boy, was dropped first because it had the best chance of working. But it was too simple to be of much use in future wars. The much more complex system of the Fat Man was where the future of atomic weapons would be going but it might fail to detonate. The trouble is, even if the first bomb detonates, the second still had to be dropped. Because both were so hastily made, neither bomb could be stored indefinitely but would eventually become lethal with no secure place to store them. Both were made to be used immediately and a great deal of money was expended for the purpose and so both had to be used.

With the death of Roosevelt, the people in Truman’s circle impressed upon Truman that the bomb was a great new super-weapon that would give the US great leverage over the Soviets. But the bomb had to be dropped over real cities that were densely populated because that is what they were developed to do—destroy entire cities in a flash. Tests were all well and good but there was only one way to prove to the world that they really worked as advertised.

Germany was finished and was ready to surrender. They did not have the Bomb. There would be no need to drop it on them as they were an undesirable target. Japan was also beaten and would surrender in a matter of months—maybe two or three. But it was the perfect target and the bombs had to be dropped before Japan issued a formal surrender. There can be no doubt that this is true because the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred only some three weeks after the Trinity blast. Why such a reckless rush that could easily have proven much more catastrophic than it already was? Surely such powerful and lethal weapons should be tested more extensively. Because if the United States waited too long, Japan would surrender and then there would be no way to justify bombing them and the world (read as the Soviet Union) would not see this great demonstration of US military superiority.


Hiroshima, Japan—0815 hours (JST), August 6, 1945. Little Boy fell for 44.4 seconds before exploding at an elevation of about 2000 ft (600 m). When Einstein was informed of the dropping of this bomb, he exclaimed, “Woe is me!”


Leaflet of the Hiroshima mushroom cloud which were dropped over other areas of Japan prior to the Nagasaki destruction. The Japanese text reads:

“This photo shows the destructive power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. This photo was taken from a B-29 in the air after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6. The atomic bomb’s horrendous destructive power can be understood by viewing this photo. As you see, this atomic bomb blast extended to a radius of 8 km, and the height of the bomb cloud reached about 14,000 m into the sky. The Japanese government said that Hiroshima was completely destroyed by the atomic bomb.”


Nagasaki, Japan—1102 hours (JST), August 9, 1945. The Fat Man fell incinerating 40,000 people in a flash.


"The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country." --J. Robert Oppenheimer


Crew of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMNI25Tg4iY


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Please don't post graphic images of burn victims it's against the rules.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thread closed because the OP decided to carry on posting graphic material on two occasions after he was told not to.
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