Sunday, 1 February 2015

Nuclear Weapons: Story told through Pictures

Just finished my talk about the development of the atom bomb at Glasgow University Physics Department.   The story started in 1938 with the discovery of fission of uranium by neutrons.  Against the background of WWII, the development, in the shortest possible time, of a deliverable device that packs 20 million times more explosive power than a conventional bomb (based on TNT) required not only unraveling of new physics but also the ingenuity of hundreds of top ranking scientists and technologists, and tremendous organisational skills.  Successful development of the atom bomb in just over 3 years demonstrates the intellectual brilliance of the highest order but the story has its dark side too.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in about 150 thousand casualties.  As if this wasn't enough, hydrogen bombs (H-bombs) were tested with 3000 times greater explosive power. Precious national resources were spent in amassing over 60,000 nuclear warheads enough to destroy all the major cities many times over.

The slides from my talk are based on information (some of it recently declassified) available on the Web.  There were too many sources from which this information is collected and I acknowledge the sources collectively rather than individually for the sake of clarity.

The subject is divided in seven parts as follows:
(Please click on the part number below that you would like to view; 
also click on the picture to see it in full screen mode)

Part 1:  The Fission Bomb based on U-235 and Pu-239.
Part 2:  The Development and Testing of the H-bomb.
Part 3:  Countries with proven Nuclear Capabilities
Part 4:  Atom Spies - Klaus Fuchs and Others
Part 5:  Contamination of the Environment as a Result of Nuclear Weapons Development
Part 6:  Slowing down Nuclear Arms Race
Part 7:  Nuclear Weapons Delivery Systems

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