Tag Archive | Fritz Strassmann

The Man-Made Monster

images (35)In this world, humans constantly developed weapons throughout history, and weapons, such as rifle, machine gun, and cannon, have become more and more effective for killing people. Also, explosive weapons, such as grenade, C4, and missile, are used for effective destruction and killing. Among all the weapons, there is one kind of weapon that can knock an entire city down and take millions of lives away: nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons are the most deadly weapon in this world, and the power they have is adequate for cleaning up the surface of Earth.

Since nuclear weapons are powerful and fatal, it is necessary to know how they function. The atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb are two main nuclear weapons, and two types of nuclear reaction are used for these two kinds of bombs: nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.

On December 17, 1938, nuclear fission was founded by German scientist Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann. During nuclear fission, a nuclear chain reaction will occur because of interactions between neutrons and fissile isotopes that neutrons of atoms are ejected and will interact with more fissile fuel, and then more fissions are caused. Accordingly, the nuclear chain reaction will occur continuously and release energy. Nuclear fusion is another type of nuclear reaction that can produce more energy than nuclear fission. During nuclear fusion, two or more atomic nuclei will collide at very high speed and form a new nucleus, and then energy will be produced, which is known as “binding energy”.

The first atomic bomb in the world was produced in the Manhattan Project, and more than 130,000 people and scientists led by the US were involved in the project. J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the “father of the atomic bomb” in the project, and he used “Trinity” as the code name for the first atomic bomb in the world. “Trinity” was an implosion-type bomb, and it was successfully detonated in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The explosion of “Trinity” released the energy that is equal to 20 kilotons of TNT.

Followed the success of the detonation of the first nuclear bomb, on August 6 and August 9 of the same year, the Allies launched the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A gun-type atomic bomb named “Little Boy” was dropped in Hiroshima, and the energy of the explosion was equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT, but only 1.7% of its material participated in the nuclear chain reaction. The explosion also caused the destruction that has the radius of 1 mile, and 90,000 to 146,000 people (70% of them were innocent people) were killed and injured in Hiroshima. On August 9, 1945, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, he Allies dropped “Fat Man” in Nagasaki. “Fat Man” was an implosion-type atomic bomb, and the explosion yielded the energy that is equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. The radius of destruction was 1 mile, and From 39,000 to 80,000 people were killed after the bombing, and only 150 of them were soldiers. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki totally killed at least 129,000 people, and it was the first time that atomic bomb was used in warfare.

The hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than atomic bomb due to its way of nuclear reaction, and the most powerful hydrogen bomb that had been detonated in the history was “Tsar Bomba”. “Tsar bomba” was produced by the USSR and it was tested on October 30, 1961. It yielded the energy of 50 megatons of TNT and the radius of explosion was 22 miles and the explosion also had effect in the area that was 34 miles away from the center of explosion.

To sum up, nuclear weapons are the most powerful and deadly weapons in the world. Although this kind of weapon was used in warfare for only one time, people could see the terrible destruction and the loss of innocent lives carried by it. Therefore, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nation Assembly on September 10, 1996.