This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Hydrogen Bomb: Enrico Fermi And Edward Teller

1537 words - 6 pages

Melissa Jordine said that “1949 proved to be a pivotal year,” and she would be correct (Cold War). It was the middle of the Cold War and tensions were high between the Soviet Union and the United States. The US had consistently opposed Russia’s communist government, but had become even more vehement in their hostilities once Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the USSR, announced his intentions to overthrow capitalist systems worldwide, which included the system that the United States boasted (Cold War). The American people knew they must resist the rising power, and the only feasible option that they saw to deter Soviet aggression was to maintain military superiority, namely through the singular possession of nuclear weapons. So it came as a terrifying shock when the Soviet Union detonated their own atomic bomb on August 29, 1949, ending the United States’ “atomic monopoly” and starting a race to develop better nuclear arms (Jordine, Hydrogen Bomb). The hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb, was a product of this race, and while its creation negatively impacted the environment, it served its intended purpose in the respect that the threat of its use prevented a nuclear war and allowed for the United States to retain its capitalist government.
The hydrogen bomb is a thermonuclear weapon, meaning that it requires extreme temperatures (upwards of 400 million degrees Celsius) to begin the nuclear fusion reactions that characterize it (Jordine, Hydrogen Bomb). In order to reach this temperature, there is a second bomb at its core, the explosion of which detonates the first, bigger bomb (Hirsch, 1990). The idea of a bomb as a catalyst was actually proposed years before work on the H-bomb ever even started by the nuclear physicists Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller, who in the 1940s were having a discussion about the Manhattan project, the creation of the fission atomic bomb and whether or not a similar, more powerful fusion bomb could be created (Hirsch, 1990). After World War II in 1946, the US Atomic Energy Commission (USAEC) was formed to develop and control the US’s atomic energy program, and the idea to craft the fusion bomb was shot down by J. Robert Oppenheimer, chairman of the USAEC and former head of the Manhattan Project (Cold War). However, Edward Teller urged President Harry Truman to pursue the fusion bomb after the Soviet’s detonation of their atomic bomb and succeeded in convincing Truman to initiate a project aimed at building the “superweapon” – a feat that he would later be recognized for with the title “father of the hydrogen bomb” (Jordine, Hydrogen Bomb).
From the USAEC scientists’ very first meeting at Los Alamos (coincidentally the same place where the atomic bomb was built), it was evident that pressure was needed to reach the required temperature, but at the time the mechanisms allowing for this to be achieved were unknown (Teller, 1951). Therefore, for the first four years, work was done on was what called the “classical Super” design, which was...

Find Another Essay On The Hydrogen Bomb: Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller

The Role of Edward Teller in the Development of Physics

1531 words - 6 pages "What we should have learned is that the world is small, that peace is important and that cooperation in science ... could contribute to peace. Nuclear weapons, in a peaceful world, will have a limited importance." (Teller, 1968)One of the most significant scientists in our century is Dr. Edward Teller who holds the distinction of being distinguished as the “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb.” People will not be familiar with his name but

Monkey and the Fortune Teller Essay

1348 words - 6 pages benefited from these resources was Bob. Bob was the owner of Monos Tree Cutting Business. This business had become highly successful over the years and with his low prices the competition was minute. He was a very rich monkey and always did what the famous fortune teller, Rosalina, told him to do. Bob asked for financial advice and how he should go about running his business. Bob always said, “To make money you must be a producer Then you must

The Atomic Bomb And The Manhatten Project

1776 words - 7 pages University of Chicago. This project was supervised by Enrico Fermi, but he had quite an intelligent group of scientist working with him. The military part of this project was called the “Operation Silver Plate”. The leader of this mission was Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. The place picked for this operation was Wendover Field, Utah, and it was one of the most miserable places on earth. About late September 1944, the best of the best men in our

Arthur W. Frank’s The Wounded Story Teller and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

1828 words - 7 pages as to whether these conceptual lenses aid in the understanding of the social world and in turn the nature of the human condition. Arthur W. Frank’s The Wounded Story Teller and Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish illustrate the opposing situations of witness and observation, judgement and examination, through which the underlying social assumptions that allow for the application of these instruments are also exposed. Frank defines the

The Allies and the Atomic Bomb

914 words - 4 pages atomic bomb on Japan and showed no regrets for carrying out the plan. The United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and China are among the major powers of the Allied Forces that unanimously agreed to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. The strongest among the Allies, the United States was the initiator of the plan of the atomic bomb. During World War II, Japan bombed the navy base of the United States known as Pearl Harbor(Depression & WWII

The Allies and the Atomic Bomb

1119 words - 5 pages atomic bomb on Japan without showing any regrets for carrying out the plan. The United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom and China are among the major powers of the Allied Forces that unanimously agreed to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. The strongest among the Allies, the United States was the initiator of the plan of the atomic bomb. On the 7th of December 1941, Japan bombed the navy base of the United States which was known as Pearl

Klaus Fuchs and the Atomic Bomb

672 words - 3 pages super bomb. Shortly after he filed a patent with mathematician John von Neumann for an initiator for the hydrogen bomb. And then just before returning to Britain he reviewed every document in the Los Alamos archives on thermonuclear weapons design. In Britain, Fuchs began working at the Harwell Atomic Research facility. But it didn't take him long to reestablish his Soviet contacts. In September 1947, he met with his new intelligence agent

The Atomic Bomb Human Beings and Nature

1898 words - 8 pages Japan's mainland. Many casualties for both sides were predicted; therefore, the United States constructed an alternate plan to end the war. Enricho Fermi and Leo Szilard worked on creating an atomic bomb for the United States in the 1930s. This manipulation of nature changed the relationship between human beings and nature forever. Humans were now capable of ending the world if they so desired. Nature was quickly fading into the background

The Tragedy of Mickey and Edward

1268 words - 5 pages In the play Blood Brothers, Willy Russell hangs his story on the superstition that Mrs Lyons uses to trap Mrs Johnstone in silence: that superstition which the is, that should Mickey and Edward discover their brotherhood, they will both die. We see a huge contrast between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone. At the beginning of the play, the narrator describes the Mrs Johnstone, the mother, as “cruel”. As we continue with the text, we begin to

Edward Jenner and the Discovery of Vaccines

1132 words - 5 pages Edward Jenner and the Discovery of Vaccines Edward Jenner (1749-1823) trained in London, under John Hunter, and was an army surgeon for a period of time. After that, he spent his whole career as a country doctor in his home county, Gloucestershire (West of England). His research was based on careful case studies and clinical observation more than a hundred years before scientists could explain what viruses and diseases

The Advantages and Obstacles of Hydrogen as a Fuel

1383 words - 6 pages automobile fuel type is petroleum, it will be problematic to travel from one place to another if the oil depletion occurs and no other fuel types will be introduced by that moment. Therefore, it is essential to find alternative fuel type as a substitute to the petroleum. In the field of automobile industry, out of all the available options, hydrogen seems to prove to be a superior alternative to petroleum in terms of usage as fuel in automobiles

Similar Essays

Enrico Fermi And The Development Of The Atomic Bomb

1289 words - 5 pages Enrico Fermi and the Development of the Atomic Bomb The 20th century saw many important discoveries which impacted people worldwide. Great discoveries were made in the realm of science and technology which lead to the atomic age. One of the leading pioneers in the area of physics was Enrico Fermi. Without his contributions, the atomic bomb may not have been developed or would have possibly been postponed. Enrico Fermi was born into a

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

The Hydrogen Bomb Essay

902 words - 4 pages recommenndartion on to president Harry S. Truman. A National Security Council report recommended otherwise, however and at the end of January 1950, Truman ordered that the United States should investigate the possibility of producing hydrogen bombs. Edward Teller was placed in charge of the investigation. The decision to move ahead with the hydrogen bomb development was made in response to U.S. perceptions that the USSR was close to porducing

The Hydrogen Bomb Essay

991 words - 4 pages ). The hydrogen bomb is based off the concept of what happen in our sun on a daily basis. On the sun, nuclear reactions happen, converting hydrogen into helium, causing the immense energy that the sun produces. Scientist knew they were able to harness the ability to split an atom to produce energy, and one scientist, Edward Teller, made everyone believe that they could fuse two atom when the first US thermonuclear bomb was detonated. Edward