The Los Alamos Primer

The First Lectures on How to Build an Atomic Bomb, Updated with a New Introduction by Richard Rhodes

; Richard Rhodes (Introduksjon)

More than seventy years ago, American forces exploded the first atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing great physical and human destruction. The young scientists at Los Alamos who developed the bombs, which were nicknamed Little Boy and Fat Man, were introduced to the basic principles and goals of the project in March 1943, at a crash course in new weapons technology. Les mer
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Om boka

More than seventy years ago, American forces exploded the first atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing great physical and human destruction. The young scientists at Los Alamos who developed the bombs, which were nicknamed Little Boy and Fat Man, were introduced to the basic principles and goals of the project in March 1943, at a crash course in new weapons technology. The lecturer was physicist Robert Serber, J. Robert Oppenheimer's protege, and the scientists learned that their job was to design and build the world's first atomic bombs. Notes on Serber's lectures were gathered into a mimeographed document titled TheLos Alamos Primer, which was supplied to all incoming scientific staff. The Primer remained classified for decades after the war.

Published for the first time in 1992, the Primer offers contemporary readers a better understanding of the origins of nuclear weapons. Serber's preface vividly conveys the mingled excitement, uncertainty, and intensity felt by the Manhattan Project scientists. This edition includes an updated introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Rhodes.

A seminal publication on a turning point in human history, The Los Alamos Primer reveals just how much was known and how terrifyingly much was unknown midway through the Manhattan Project. No other seminar anywhere has had greater historical consequences.

Fakta

Innholdsfortegnelse

INTRODUCTION BY RICHARD RHODES
PREFACE BY ROBERT SERBER

The Los Alamos Primer
1 Object
2 Energy of Fission Process
3 Fast Neutron Chain Reaction
4 Fission Cross-sections
5 Neutron Spectrum
6 Neutron Number
7 Neutron Capture
8 Why Ordinary U Is Safe
9 Material 49
10 Simplest Estimate of Minimum Size of Bomb
11 Effect of Tamper
12 Damage
13 Efficiency
14 Effect of Tamper on Efficiency
15 Detonation
16 Probability of Predetonation
17 Fizzles
18 Detonating Source
19 Neutron Background
20 Shooting
21 Autocatalytic Methods
22 Conclusion

ENDNOTES
APPENDIX I: THE FRISCH-PEIERLS MEMORANDUM
APPENDIX II: BIOG
Index

Om forfatteren

Robert Serber (March 14, 1909 - June 1, 1997) was an American physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project. Serber's lectures explaining the basic principles and goals of the project were printed and supplied to all incoming scientific staff, and became known as The Los Alamos Primer. The New York Times called him "the intellectual midwife at the birth of the atomic bomb."

Richard Rhodes won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Making of the Atomic Bomb. He subsequently published three further volumes of nuclear history: Dark Sun, Arsenals of Folly, and The Twilight of the Bombs.