Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The American Experience :: essays research papers fc

The Bomb: â€Å"The hydrogen bomb can’t be done, or if it can be done, it will take too long, or if it can be done and doesn’t take too long, it will require too large a fraction of the nation’s scientific manpower, or if it doesn’t require too large a fraction of the nation’s labor force, it will be too massive to deliver, or if it is deliverable, we oughtn’t to make it.† The ideas had existed since the early 1900’s; the research started in the 1930’s, and by 1938 nuclear fission had been demonstrated experimentally. The possibility that nuclear fission could be used to create weapons of mass destruction was almost immediately evident to scientists. In August of 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt recommending that the United States begin research on the development of nuclear weapons. Thus, at the height of World War II, President Roosevelt launched a crash program to design and build the atomic bomb. The Soviet Union at the time was struggling economically because of the war and â€Å"physics was not yet a matter of great interest to the powers-that-be.† After witnessing the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July of 1945 the priorities of Soviet government changed significantly. Faced with this new atomic threat, Stalin instigated a drastic acceleration of nuclear research with the aim to b uild a bomb of his own. Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich was appointed to lead the Soviet atomic bomb project, and two years later, a second theoretical group was created to â€Å"verif[y] and improve calculations made by Zeldovich’s group.† The second group consisted of Andrei Sakharov, Semyon Belenki, Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg, and Yuri Romanov and was led by Igor Tamm. After two months of â€Å"lick[ing] Zeldovich’s anus† Tamm’s group took a turn in a new direction: Sakharov’s â€Å"first idea.† Sakharov’s design was completely different from the â€Å"dead end† that Zeldovich’s team was struggling with. Surprisingly, it is very similar to Edward Teller’s 1947 â€Å"Alarm Clock† design even though Sakharov had had no connections with the West and had come up with his design, which he called the â€Å"Layer Cake,† completely independently of Teller. Stalin maintained a limited amount of trust in the Soviet scientists, and as a form of insurance, when the Soviet Union had obtained documents describing the US design for the atomic bomb he gave orders to build it â€Å"as early as possible.† Scientists at the Installation soon received detailed descriptions of the US bomb, â€Å"Fat Man† and began building it immediately.

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