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Atomic Bombs

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Vincent Locklear

The Atomic Bomb, a bomb with unbelievable strength and force, was by far the most innovative weapon of its time. The bomb was devastating and put fear into the hearts of its opponents. The first bomb used in warfare was in World War II. Its affects are still lasting and still today people fear the bomb.

The Atomic Bomb, or fission bomb, was first thought of in 1938. This came after two German physicists observed that a neutron can cause the nucleus of a uranium atom to break in two (Carson). The fission occurred in a uranium isotope, and each fission event released two or three neutrons. This meant that there would be a chain reaction explosion, one that for every pound, it is one hundred times more powerful. In this chain reaction energy would be released increasingly at a tremendous rate. By using pure U-235, the reaction could escalate so quickly that a great amount of fission energy could be released before the reaction was stopped. The reaction is stopped by the expansion of vaporized uranium (Carson).

In mid 1940, papers reported all of the findings about the atom and released any new information as it was discovered. The United States and Great Britain both decided to stop publishing any information about the bomb. By this time period, World War II was fully underway and both the German and American scientists were rushing to create the atomic bomb. The United States continued the research in secret so German scientists wouldn't use any of the United States discoveries. About this time the material plutonium (Pu-239) was proposed for use in the atomic bomb. Scientists realized this material should work just like uranium. Then they figured plutonium would supply a much bigger and powerful blast.

In 1942 the United States decided to create an all out program to develop the bomb. The operation was called the Manhattan Project. They built two plants for the project. One plant was specifically for the uranium bomb, the other just for the plutonium bomb. The entire programs responsibility was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project was huge and had a work force of over one hundred and forty thousand people and took nearly three years to be successfully completed (Little Known).

Finally the Manhattan project was completed. The first atomic bomb was made and ready to be tested. "On July 16, 1945, at a site called Trinity in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, an atomic bomb using plutonium was tested." The impact and energy released was incredible. It was equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. This amount of energy is about the same as the amount of energy produced and consumed in the United States in thirty seconds (Carson). The explosion vaporized the tower that

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