The Atomic BombThe Atomic Bomb
Albert Einstein predicted that mass could be converted into energy. This was the basis for the atomic bomb. Throughout this research paper, I will trace the history of the atomic bomb. In addition, who was involved and why, what happened in this event, and explain the impact that it had on the world.
After Einstein predicted, that mass could be converted into energy. This was confirmed experimentally by John D. Cockcroft and Ernest Walton. “Physicists from 1939 onward conducted much research to find answers to questions as how many neutrons were emitted in each fission and which elements would not capture the neutrons but would moderate or reduce the velocity” (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia The Atomic Bomb Mar.99 CD-ROM NP) and other questions of that nature.
Frightened by the possibility that the Germans may produce an atomic bomb, physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller consulted Einstein to address a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. Motivated by the letter, in 1939 Roosevelt commanded an American effort to obtain atomic weaponry before the Germans. With an increasing threat from Germany, President Roosevelt needed to take an aggressive stance. He was in a position of nuclear threat. F.D.R needed to do something, and do something very fast. This is why the president called to order the “Manhattan Project.” Nothing happened until Vannevar Bush, coordinator of scientific activities for the war, took charge. The program was called the Manhattan Project. It came under United States Army control in 1942.
The Manhattan Project is a code name for the United States efforts to complete the separation of uranium-235 out of the uranium238. The development of these compounds resulted in the impact of nuclear energy in the 20th century. President Roosevelt would later spend 2 billion dollars on this project. His goal was to ensure the safety of his nation and be a leader in the use of nuclear energy. The men who coordinated the Manhattan Project were an important part of this endeavor.
The President gave the orders to United States Army Major General Leslie Groves to find different scholars to also make a nuclear bomb. In doing this, Major General Groves selected some of the best scholars in the field of physics and mathematics. They are as follows: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feyman, Enrico Fermi, Joseph C. Carter, And Neils Bohr.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was born on April 22, 1904. He thrived on studying and was not a very social type of person. He went to Harvard and completed a four-year chemistry degree in only three years. Robert also studied subatomic physics at Cambridge. At Cambridge, he suffered a mental breakdown. At Gotigen, a German University he got his Ph.D. He then established a goal to bring “new physics” back to the United States. On November 1,1940 Major General Leslie asked Oppenheimer to lead, the Manhattan Project. Robert willingly took the job. This was the beginning of a project that would change the future to come.
Richard Feyman was born on May 11, 1918 in Queens, New York. He mastered differential and integral calculus at age 15. He was accepted into MIT in 1936 when he was 18 years old. He graduated, and went to Princeton as a graduate. He asked Groves if he could join the theoretical division in Los Alamos and was accepted. He met a man by the name of Hans Bethe. He was somewhat like a mentor to Richard. They both worked on solving how much fissionable material it would take for the bomb to explode. Feyman won a Nobel Peace Prize for inventing the Feyman diagrams in 1965. He then died in 1988 after fighting cancer for many years.
Enrico Fermi, was born on September 29,1901 in Rome Italy. He was forced to a career in the sciences by the death of his brother, a scientist He got his Ph.D. at the University of Pisa, in Italy, in 1922. Enrico split a uranium atom at University of Michigan at a lecture. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Fermi was the first to create a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction. He did this at the University of Chicago on December 2, 1942. This was critical to the making of the atom bomb. He joined the Manhattan Project as an overseer to the scientists and a consultant to them as well. Enrico passed away in November of 1954. If it was not for this man, I believe that the atom bomb would not have been successful. He held an essential position in the “Manhattan Project”
Joseph C. Carter was born on September 28, 1910. He went to the United States Naval Academy and at age 18, he went to Columbia. At Columbia, he worked under General Leslie Groves. Carter and others constructed a pilot version of the atomic bomb. He and others were major assets to the Manhattan Project.
Neils Bohr was born in 1885 in Denmark. He went to the University of Copenhagen where he studied physics. In 1911 he got his Ph.D. Neils presented the fact that the fission chain reaction need u-235 to be possible. He fled and went to America to work on the Manhattan Project. Bohr wanted people to know that the effects of nuclear bombs were good and bad. He asked the UN to rid themselves of nuclear weapon Projects. He later died in November 1962.
General Groves bought land in Oakridge, Tennessee. This is where he had Oppenhemier start work on the Atomic bomb. The majority of the planning took place in Manhattan. That is where the research was done, and things were designed. Oakridge is where they made the main material, U-235 and PU-239 was manufactured. In Los Alamos, New Mexico was the place of fabrication of the bombs and the testing sites.
The results of the project were inconceivable. The Uranium bomb, “Little Boy”, needed no tests. The scientists were very sure of its capability. However, they did test the plutonium bomb. This was successful. It was exploded on July 16th, 1945. It is said that a blind girl could see the blast 120 miles away. The blast leveled and killed everything. Now the United States planned to use these bombs on the Japanese.
The effects of the atom bombs are terrible. In Hiroshima, the united states “Little Boy”, a uranium bomb, was dropped on August 6th, 1945. “At the moment of the explosion, a fireball was generated with a center, which reached a temperature of several million degrees Celsius. The heat rays released in all directions had a strong effect on the ground for about three seconds, starting approximately 1/100 second after the detonation. Due to the heat rays, the temperature in the hypocenter area is believed to have reached 3,000-4,000 Celsius Iron melts at 1,536 Celsius.” (History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96) It killed 66,000 and injured 69,000 people. The atomic bomb blast in 1945 obliterated three-fifths of the city within seconds. On Aug. 9, 1945, an U.S. bomber dropped a plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki. They aimed this at the Mitsubishi shipyards. The bomb missed its target but destroyed about half of the city and killed approximately 75,000 and injuring 25,000 people.
This aftermath has left an enduring mark on the world. The radiation from the blasts has since caused many deaths. People that subsided within approximately five months after the blast are considered to have acute effects. “Acute effects include digestive tract disorders (nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea); nervous disorders (headache, delirium, insomnia); fatigue (loss of hair, loss of energy, weakness); bleeding (blood in vomit, blood in urine, blood in stool, purpura); infection (fever, stomatitis, skin infections); blood disorders (loss of red or white blood cells); and reproductive disorders (zoospermia, menstrual disorders).” (History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96)Long after acute effects, there were many other complications. Such as Keloids, Leukimia, Cancer, In-utero exposure and Genetic Effects. The rates of these problems increased many years after the bombing.
After 1945, the United States built thousands of atomic bombs. In addition, the more powerful hydrogen bombs. “In 1945 the United States was the only country to have nuclear capabilities. The U.S.S.R obtained them in 1949, Britain in 52,France in 1960, the People’s Republic of China in 1964, and India in 1974.” (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia The Atomic Bomb Mar.99 CD-ROM NP) The United States Government and many other people regret having used the atom bomb. Many other countries have now made these terrible weapons of destruction. The making of this has only been a scar upon the world. Nuclear weapons led to many other problems in our world like the cold war. Many geniuses went to work to make great advancements in nuclear technology. It is a shame we could not have used these findings for a good cause.
An Eyewitness Account by a Middle School Student
The following is from an eyewitness account by a middle school student who was in a classroom during the bombing. The student managed to escape the collapsed school building but suffered injuries.
I’ll never forget that day. After we finished our morning greetings in the schoolyard, we were waiting in the classroom for our building demolition work to begin. Suddenly a friend by the window shouted ‘B- 29!’ At the same instant, a flash pierced my eyes. The entire building collapsed at once and we were trapped underneath. I don’t know how long I remained unconscious. When I came to, I couldn’t move my body. Cuts on my face and hands throbbed with pain. My front teeth were broken and my shirt soaked in blood. As I crawled along, encouraging myself, I somehow managed to poke my head out of the wreckage. The school that should have appeared before my eyes was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished and only smoldering ruins remained. Beyond the school toward the center of town, all I could see was a sea of flames. I was so terrified I couldn’t stop shaking. Moving my body a little at a time, I was finally able to work free of the collapsed structure. Making sure to head upwind to escape the fires, I made my way staggering haphazardly through the rubble of the city and escaped.
(History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96)
1 This is the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after the bombing.
2 This is the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the bombing.
3 This is the damage done to Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped.
4 This is a picture of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He was the leader for the making of the atomic bomb.
5 The picture displays the destruction done to Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped.
6 This picture depicts the damage done to Hiroshima.
7 This is a picture that shows the damage done to an iron tower in a test. The men in the picture are Oppenheimer and General Groves.
8 A permanent shadow that was cast the day of the blast. It was caused from the intense heat.
9 This shadow was made by a person sitting on the steps in front of the bank entrance waiting for it to open. The flash probably hit the victim from the front dying on the spot. The surface of the surrounding stone was significantly whitened by exposure to the bombs heat rays, but the place where the person sat remained dark.
10 This is a picture of Enrico Fermi. He was one of the main contributors in the making of the atomic bomb.
11. This is a picture of the size of a replica of the “Fatman” compared to a human.
12. This is a picture of the actual bombs. The “Fatman” or uranium bomb is at the left. The “Little Boy” or plutonium bomb is at the right.
1939- FDR commanded an American effort to obtain nuclear weaponry.
1942- Fermi produced a controlled chain reaction.
July 16, 1945- Test of plutonium bomb is a success.
August 6,1945- uranium bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
August 9,1945- A plutonium bomb is dropped on Nagasaki
1949- USSR acquires nuclear capabilities.
1952- Britain has nuclear capabilities
1960- France has nuclear capabilities
1964- China has nuclear capabilities
1974- India has nuclear capabilities