The world’s most destructive force:

NuClEaR WeApOnS

 

 

By: MaIaN

Intro

       It is August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima. A large, dark object drops out of the sky. Abruptly, a there is a deafening boom all around as a giant mushroom cloud bursts into the sky. After the explosion, everything is just a vast, lonely wasteland. Smoke rises from what used to be buildings and homes of the people. The people in the radius of the city who were not in range of the explosion, are dieing from radiation. This is what I imagine is what it was like when “Little Boy” was dropped. That is the destruction wreaked by nuclear weapons. In this report, I will tell you all you need to know about nuclear weapons. I will tell you about what they are, how they work, what I mean by “Little Boy”, and much much more.

What a nuclear weapon is

       You may be asking, “What is a nuclear weapon?” You are about to find out. According to Wikipedia, “A nuclear weapon is a type of explosive weapon that derives its destructive force from the nuclear reaction of fission or from a combination of fission and fusion.”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I think that is really amazing how scientists figured out how to work with fission to create something that helped us a lot.

        

History

       Now that you know WHAT it is, it is time for you to find out about some history such as where and when it was first tested. According to the Federation of American Scientists, “The first implosion device was tested on July 16, 1945, near Alamogordo, New Mexico” (http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/test.htm) I had no idea where is was tested and when. I didn’t know that is was that close to us. I thought it would be in one of the eastern states nearer the capital. Now that I think about it, It was kind of smart to keep it away from the capital because there would be spies all over and if it went wrong, that would not be very good if they blew up the capital…so, they thought smart. I also found out that the test was called Trinity.

       What did I mean by “Little Boy” in the intro? You are about to find out. According to Wikipedia, The one dropped on Hiroshima was called "Little Boy" and the one that was dropped on Nagasaki was called "Fat Man". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I thought that was really cool. I didn’t think that they would name them like that. I thought it would be some complex name with a bunch of numbers and exponents.

       Surely they must have tested a model of “Little Boy” before they actually used it. Are you sure? According to the Federation of American Scientists, The design of “Little Boy” was not proof tested before the warhead was shot. (http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/test.htm)

Wow, I didn’t think that they would drop the first nuclear weapon without testing it first to see if it would even work. In my opinion, that was REALLY risky.  

When was Hiroshima bombed? According to Wikipedia, On August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima was the target of the first atomic bomb used against civil population in history. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) Before, I only knew that we bombed Japan twice. I didn’t know the names of the places or when it was. Here is a picture of what Hiroshima looked like after it was bombed.

       If Hiroshima was bombed then, when was Nagasaki bombed? According to Wikipedia, Nagasaki was bombed three days after Hiroshima. That means it was on August 9, 1945. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I thought that they were both dropped on the same day. I guess I was wrong.

       If the bombs are so destructive, how many people died from the bombings? According to Wikipedia, In total, about one fourth of a million people were killed by the two bombs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) That is a lot of people. That goes to show how destructive nuclear weapons can be.  

If they are so amazingly powerful, wouldn’t there have been a lot used in war? The answer is no. According to Wikipedia, they have only been used twice aggressively in wars twice. Both times they were fired by the US. Those two were the ones dropped in the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I was extremely surprised that they have not been used in wars more often.

       Do you know which country was the first one to use nuclear weapons? According to Wikipedia, The first nuclear weapons were created in the United States. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I thought that was really cool that our country was the first one to develop nuclear technology. We must have some real geniuses in our country!

         

      

How it works

       Now, this might get a little confusing and you might have a headache after this but, here we go. According to Wise Geek, Nuclear reactions occur when neutrons are fired at closely packed atoms with heavy nuclei (uranium or plutonium isotopes). These heavy nuclei break apart into lighter nuclei when hit by a neutron, in turn generating more neutrons which bombard other nuclei, creating a chain reaction. This process is known as fission. (Another process known as fusion releases energy by fusing together nuclei rather than breaking them apart.) By breaking down the nuclei themselves rather than releasing energy through a conventional chemical reaction, atom bombs can release more than 80 terajoules of energy per kilogram (TJ/kg) (http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-an-atomic-bomb-work.htm)

That is really confusing but not at the same time. That is probably the least complex explanation that I have seen. That is really crazy. Now I really appreciate the scientists who are that smart.

         This is another explanation about how nuclear weapons work. This is from another source, (obviously) so now here is what I found from Craig Freudenrich and John Fuller at HowStuffWorks, “We have seen that these devices have incredible destructive power, but how do they work? In this article, you will learn about the physics that makes a nuclear bomb so powerful, how nuclear bombs are designed and what happens after a nuclear explosion.

Nuclear bombs involve the forces, strong and weak, that hold the nucleus of an atom together, especially atoms with unstable nuclei. There are two basic ways that nuclear energy can be released from an atom:

0.      Nuclear fission - You can split the nucleus of an atom into two smaller fragments with a neutron. This method usually involves isotopes of uranium (uranium-235, uranium-233) or plutonium-239.

0.      Nuclear fusion -You can bring two smaller atoms, usually hydrogen or hydrogen isotopes (deuterium, tritium), together to form a larger one (helium or helium isotopes); this is how the sun produces energy

In either process, fission or fusion, large amounts of heat energy and radiation are given off.

To build an atomic bomb, you need:

0.      A source of fissionable or fusionable fuel

0.      A triggering device

A way to allow the majority of fuel to fission or fuse before the explosion occurs (otherwise the bomb will fizzle out”

(http://science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-bomb.htm) That is some pretty crazy stuff.

Here are some pictures that show you how they work.

       

Other Facts

       We can’t be the only ones who have this technology, right? Correct. According to Wikipedia, There were 8 countries that have tested nuclear weapons. They are the US, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, The People's Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. There might be more that we don't know of though. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I didn’t think that that many countries have nuclear technology. At first, I just thought it would be the US and Russia.

       Japan is probably really mad about all of those things and people destroyed, huh? According to Wikipedia, Today, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the country of Japan are strongly engaged in banning nuclear weapons and their testing worldwide. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon) I’ll bet anyone could guess that is how they are reacting to the destruction of their country.

       Did you know there is an entire agency to make the peaceful development of nuclear technology? According to Wikipedia, The International Atomic Energy Agency was created in 1957 in order to encourage the peaceful development of nuclear technology while providing international safeguards against nuclear proliferation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon)  I think that is awesome that there is a whole agency trying to enforce the peaceful creation of nuclear technology.

       We better not have the same type of bomb we did all those years ago, we can do so much better than that. According to the Federation of American Scientists, “American nuclear technology evolved rapidly between 1944 and 1950, moving from the primitive Fat Man and Little Boy to more sophisticated, lighter, more powerful, and more efficient designs.”

(http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/test.htm)

 I kind of figured that they would have improved a lot over time.   

      

Conclusion

As you have learned, nuclear weapons are really really destructive and have a lot of science behind them. They really aren’t your average grenade or time bomb are they? They are things not to be trifled with, because there is enough nuclear technology in the world today, that it could destroy all civilization.

 

BiBlIoGrApHy

 

 

Bibliography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Weapon

Wikipedia

Nuclear weapon

May 5, 2008

It tells a lot about what a nuclear weapon is and how it works and a lot of history.

 

Bibliography

http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/test.htm

Federation of American Scientists

Nuclear Weapon Testing

May 14, 2008

It tells all about why they test it and when they were and other things like that.

 

Bibliography

http://science.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-bomb.htm

Craig Freudenrich and John Fuller

How Nuclear Bombs Work

May 22, 2008

It tells how it works!!!!:0