By : Matt Hutchinson Honors History 9 1936-1940 80 years ago
“When you see something that is technically sweet, you goahead and do it, and you argue about what to do about itonly after you have had your technical success. That is theway it was with the atomic bomb.” -J. Robert Oppenheimer“The world is a very different one now. For man holds in hismortal hands the power to abolish all forms of humanpoverty, and all forms of human life.” -Kennedy
What are the physics behind the atomic bomb andhow has it changed the world politically?
In the fall of 1939 Edward Teller drove Leo Szilard to Einsteins Long Island house; in his hand he held a letter that urged president Roosevelt to stockpile uranium and further research in radioactivity. despite Einsteins pacifist nature he signed the letter after Szilard reasoned that many more lives would be lost if Germany had the technology upon receiving the letter Roosevelt formed the advisory committee on uranium to determine if a bomb could be constructed our of fissionable material
On October 21, the committee held a meeting and determined that it would be possible to construct a bomb out of uranium and perhaps a workable device could be built by the wars end US Army Corps of Engineers was given the job of construction. And lead by Major General Lesley R. Groves
In June 1942 the Manhattan District was created to test and confirm the feasibility of the theory of an atomic bomb. This theory earlier theorized in the 1930’s It spanned more than 30 sites
Oakridge- contained a Graphite reactor, built in 1943 and produced the first significant amounts of plutonium. It also contained a K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Process Building and Y-12 Beta-3 Racetracks that contained the necessary equipment to separate the uranium isotopes.
Hanford Washington- contained the B Reactor the world’s largest-scale plutonium production reactor and the T plant Los Alamos New Mexico- the main Building site of the Manhattan Project and location of Project-Y Oakridge Tennessee- worked on uranium separation
Oppenheimer was the director of the Manhattan district he was also a theoretical physics teacher at the University of California Aside from his work on the atomic bomb he is recognized for his work on molecular wave functions, the theory of electrons and positrons, the Oppenheimer Phillips process, nuclear fusion, his theorys on Neutron stars and black holes as well as quantum mechanics and more Given clearance July 20, 1943
He was the child of a German textile owner and a Boston painter He grew up vary secluded and alone as a sickly child He graduated valedictorian and went to Harvard, during with time he never had a date He became fascinated with minerals at the age of 5, specifically crystals He was a chronic depressant and jerk but found peace at “hot dog”
It employed more than 130,000 people at the cost of $2 billion US dollars (in todays terms roughly $24.4 billion) Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissionable materials With less than 10% for development and production of the weapons
Scientists had the problem of how to actually obtain the radioactive matter (uranium-235) They tried a multitude of methods for extracting the needed uranium-235 from its chemically identical twin, uranium-238 The ratio from uranium ore to uranium metal is 500:1 and 99% of the uranium is uranium-238 They tried multiple methods such as diffusing it through the means of gas a magnetic methods, but finally succeeded when they tried the use of the centrifuge
On July 16, 1945 at 5:29 am the first atomic weapon was detonated It was dropped from a 100 foot tower producing a yield 200 times grater than the 100 ton TNT test Produced a crater half mile across and fused the desert sand into a green glass that still holds trace amounts of radiation to this day 30,000 ft
“few people laughed few people cried most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the book of Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince to do his duty, and to impress him he takes on his multi armed form and says I have become death the destroyer of worlds I suppose we all thought that one way or another.” - Oppenheimer
Fat manLittle Boy
Was a uranium-235 bomb weighing in at 8,800 lb. It was carried by a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay from Tinian to the 7th largest Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6 1945 at 8:15 it was dropped and exploded 3 seconds later It was dropped at an altitude of 31,000ft and detonated at 1,850 ft. 5 square miles were destroyed and an estimated 120,000 died as a result of the blast (40% of the city’s population) Roughly 70,000 buildings were destroyed of the 76,000 buildings “The city was hidden by an awful cloud, boiling up, mushrooming, terrible and incredibly tall” -Colonel Tibbets
Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. (1915-2007) – Pilot and Aircraft commander Captain Robert A. Lewis (1917-1983) – Co-pilot; Enola Gays assigned aircraft commander* Major Thomas Ferebee (1918–2000) – Bombardier Captain Theodore Van Kirk (1921-) – Navigator U.S. Navy Captain William S. Parsons (1901–1953) – Weaponeer and bomb commander. Lieutenant Jacob Beser (1921–1992) – Radar countermeasures Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson (1922–2010) – Assistant weaponeer Technical Sergeant George R. Caron (1919-1995) – Tail gunner* Technical Sergeant Wyatt E. Duzenberry – Flight engineer* Sergeant Joe S. Stiborik (1914-1984) – Radar operator* Sergeant Robert H. Shumard (1920-1967) – Assistant flight engineer* Private First Class Richard H. Nelson (1925-2003) – VHF radio operator*
A=TriNitroToluene B=plutonium The energy source is a mass of radioactive material such as uranium or plutonium. This material is very unstable; every atoms nucleus is ready to fall apart or decay at the slightest metaphorical bump, releasing the energy that was used to hold the atom together and extra neutrons. (B) is given that bump by the outer casing (A), which explodes all around it.
In order to drop the bomb the “gun” method was utilized It involved a uranium plug being shot by an artillery gun into a stationary uranium sphere at 3,000ft per second to achieve critical mass The 2 halves of the critical mass are joined together to result in an explosionCritical mass=the minimum amount of energy needed for a nuclear reaction
Within an 1,000 yard radius human bodies literally melted in a temperature of about 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit Further away a compression wave destroyed their internal organs Survivors would have staggered around, stripped of their cloths and their skin flayed. Some fell dead as they walked 90% of the doctors were killed Each day 2,000 people died
The bomb exploded within 550 ft of its target The width of the fire ball = 18,000 ft 4 miles square, in the 40,000ft high citys center the ground was charred
President Truman was eating lunch when he was handed a decoded message “results clear cut, successful in all respects.” That afternoon Truman gave a warning to the Japanese "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a reign of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”
3 days after Hiroshima was bombed the Soviet Red army entered the Japanese healed territory of Manchuria. They did this not to cease hostilities but to gain territory. Defeat was imminent for Japan Emperor Hirohito even admitted “it is necessary to study and decide the termination of the war”
Was an plutonium-239 bomb weighing in at 10,200 lb It was carried by a B-29 named the Bocks Car from Tania and was intended to be dropped on the city of Kokura on August 9 1945 11:02 Due to the obscuring cloud cover the bomb had to be dropped on its secondary target, the southwestern port of Nagasaki The city was sheltered by hills but it still killed an estimated 74,000 from a population of only 270,000
Maj Charles W. Sweeney, aircraft commander Capt Charles Donald Albury, co-pilot (pilot of Crew C-15) 2nd Lt Fred Olivi, regular co-pilot Capt James van Pelt, navigator Capt Kermit Beahan, bombardier Master Sergeant John D. Kuharek, flight engineer SSgt Ray Gallagher, gunner, assistant flight engineer SSgt Edward Buckley, radar operator Sgt Abe Spitzer, radio operator Sgt Albert Dehart, tail gunner CDR Frederick L. Ashworth (USN), weaponeer LT Philip Barnes (USN), assistant weaponeer 2nd Lt Jacob Beser, radar countermeasures
B=the central core made up of trillions hydrogen isotopes called deuterium and tritium. A= Small atomic bombs cause the deuterium and tritium to be squeezed into a very dense mass, which causes nuclear fusion, releasing great quantities of energy. C= bomb casing, which is made from uranium, undergoes fission, creating even more energy. In other words, an atomic bomb sets off a fusion bomb, which also triggers another atomic bomb!
The block of deuterium and tritium atoms are squeezed into a super-dense mass. Nuclei of these two isotopes are squeezed together by the force of the explosion. The force is so great that it causes the nuclei to combine. But this new nucleus requires less energy to keep it together, and there is one less neutron needed. This excess energy, and the neutron, escapes as radiation. Example; not always as shown
The bomb exploded several miles from its target 45,000ft high
The same day of the Nagasaki attack the Japanese prime minister asked emperor Hirohito to decide on the issue of surrender On August 14 the emperor made a radio broadcast telling the Japanese to lay down their arms On August 28 Douglas McArthur, supreme Allied commander of the Pacific, arrived at Japan with his occupying army “Something huge had just cracked… the proud dream of greater Japan” -Robert Guillino (French reporter)
On September 2 the Japanese instrument of surrender was signed the battleship the USS Missouri Japan was no longer a sovereign nation its own administration was in the hands of the occupying government Representatives came from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the empire was to be broken up
The US was to have authority in several strategic Pacific islands and to supervise the South Korean Government they also provided the effective distribution of supplies The soviet union was allowed to keep its conquests in Manchuria, North Korea and Kuril The Republic of China was to take Taiwan A tribunal was established to put leading Japanese military leaders on trial for war crimes
11 months after the detonation of “Fat Man” operation crossroads was put into action. The test was carried out in order to determine if an American naval fleet could survive an atomic blast. They situated 200 German, Japanese and American ships and 140 planes in Bikini bay and waited to detonate atomic bombs number 4 and 5 Able- would be dropped from a B-29 Baker-would be detonated 90ft below the water
200 goats 200 pigs 4,000 rats
They positioned the ships and placed animals on oars in order to test the effect the blasts would have on organic mater. After the bombs were dropped and detonated they concluded that no organism could survive the blast and that a submerged bomb did much more damage. They also concluded that when a atomic bomb goes off the area becomes a bit radioactive
The objective was to test and perfect atomic bomb designs An island 200 miles west of Bikini was used as a research facility. They gathered samples for ground 0 in order to test the radiation content.
These samples played a curtail role in design improvisation, the fat man and little boy designs were soon obsolete. Projects: Green house Ivy- full scale H bomb Ob shot knot hole- a series of 11 atomic bomb tests in Nevada, including the first atomic canon Castle-bravo- the largest atmospheric bomb ever detonated in U.S. history Operation wigwam- the deep underwater portion of Operation Cross Roads (11 years later)
Today 9 countries have nuclear weapons amongst those countries are the Koreans, Russians, Americans and the French After the Cuban Missile crisis, the USSR and United States along with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency opened negotiations aimed at limiting the threat of nuclear war. They started negotiating a way to limit the scope and dangers posed by the global atomic arms race.
Partial Test Ban Treaty – 1963-prohibits nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and underwater. (not France or China) Non-Proliferation Treaty – 1968-Made it illegal for possessing countries to share info. Or technology on nuclear bombs SALT I- 1969-1972- aimed to limit and restrain land and submarine based nuclear weapons, a 5year agreement to limit construction of intercontinental missile sites ad other nuclear missile sights
Antiballistic Missile Treaty – 1972- between us & Russia, restricted the development of defensive missiles and allowed each country to have only 2 launch stations. SALT II - 1972-1979- intended to lengthen the 5 year treaty from SALT I, and also put a more long lasting agreement in place Threshold Test Ban Treaty – 1974- Prohibited underground nuclear weapons testing exceeding 150 kilotons
In the first millionth of a second the fire ball would be 500 meters across Within 10 seconds it would grow to one mile The temperature would rise to 20 million degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than the surface of the sun) The blast would generate winds traveling at 60 miles an hour, destroying everything in its path (dissipates) 10’s of city blocks would be melted, the trees, the people the cars even the upper level of the earth Everyone within a 5 mile radius will die
People who are lucky enough to be 8 or 9 miles away would experience it as a blast with window shards traveling at more than 100 miles an hour 100,000’s of fires would join together in one big fire storm for miles across and ignite everything flammable for 11 miles across, devouring massive amounts of oxygen Everyone looking in the direction of the blast would be blinded. Your lungs and eardrums would rupture from the pressure
If doctors could get there in time they would be treating injuries such as broken bones from people being thrown into buildings and crushed form debris, 3rd degree burns The body does have a repair rate for radiation but the doses would be so sudden and great that it would overwhelm the body Their would be public panic with people worrying if there next
Why is it that even though America is the only country that has used the bomb in a war and yet Americans seem to be the ones most concerned about preventing other countries from getting that technology? And Should other countries get nuclear weapons?
Do you think that the A bomb was a good thing and benefited the nation/world?
The bomb operates on the fissionable material ofuranium and plutonium to produce a chain reactionof radiation. It has also allowed countries such asChina, North Korea, Russia and America to utilize thefear of nuclear war as a political weapon. Fear after allis the most powerful weapon.