The Hydrogen Bomb And Nuclear Warfare

1191 words - 5 pages

The Hydrogen Bomb and Nuclear Warfare


"At that moment.... there flashed into my mind a passage from the Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred book of the Hindus: 'I am become death the shatterer of worlds.'"

July 16, 1945: J. Robert Oppenheimer and a group of American scientists witnessed the startling fruits of their labor; in the desert of Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first explosion of a nuclear weapon. Prior to this moment all known explosives derived their potency from the rapid burning or decomposition of a chemical compound, receiving only the energy from each atom's valence electron (Encarta 97' Nuclear Weapons). No longer would the human race rely on such inadequate usage of atomic energy. Oppenheimer along with other great minds, like Enrico Fermi and Harold Urey, discovered a way to take advantage of the energy supplied not from the tearing away of one electron, but of the tearing apart of an atomic nucleus. Even so, the atomic bomb only opened the door to the more efficient us of energy in matter, as one scientist hypothesized that the first atom bombs only utilized 1/100 of one percent of the pure energy available in matter.
In Adam Stock's book, Einstein: A Life, the author addresses the subject of Einstein's genius. Popular ideology would have us to believe that ground breaking theorems existed in his mind in excess, available at all times to be released upon the world. Albert Einstein would have his followers to believe this, and even tried to portray an image of ease and lackedasicalness to his closest friends. However when caught of guard in a state of thoughtful frenzy, he admitted to a reporter that he stayed in a state of confused chaos when pondering the mysteries of the universe. This state of frenzied chaos produced the most beneficial theory known to science: E=MC2. From this theory, that all matter contains an enormous amount of pure energy measured by multiplying the amount of matter by the constant of light, quantity squared, scientists had a whole new realm into which they could enter. Now scientists were faced with the task of utilizing this energy, thus the processes of atomic fission and fusion came into play.
In an atomic bomb, the precursor to the hydrogen bomb, the nucleus of uranium splits in a process of fission. This splitting of the atom produces enormous amounts of heat energy. This aspect of the atom bomb, heat producing, lead scientists to believe they could actually manufacture the hydrogen bomb, a bomb already researched and thought to be possible but not achieved because of the lack of heat. The hydrogen bomb uses "heavy" hydrogen atoms, or isotopes, and fuses them together. This however requires intense heat. In comes the atomic bomb, which produces 27,000,000º F, in the afore mentioned process. So in essence the atom bomb acts as the trigger to the hydrogen bomb. After the atomic fission occurs supplying the heat for the fusion of the hydrogen isotopes, the hydrogen...

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