3c2009_Manhattan_Project

3c2009_Manhattan_Project - 10/21/2009 Science and...

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10/21/2009 1 Science and Technology in the 20 th Century History 3c, Fall 2009 Week 4: Science and Technology in World War II Lecture 8: The Manhattan Project Soraya de Chadarevian "Fat Man" mushroom cloud over Nagasaki – Signed by Charles Sweeney, Pilot of Bockscar The mushroom cloud as celebrated icon Miss Atomic Bomb1957 Admiral and Mrs. Blandy celebrate operation crossroads with an atomic cake (1946). "The bomb will not start a chain-reaction in the water converting it all to gas and letting the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity I am not an It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy , as one of my critics labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim." Admiral Blandy 1946
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10/21/2009 2 Focus not just on the bomb and physics behind it But on the wartime project that produced the first atomic bombs and on the events that shaped their meaning Atomic bomb originally seen as super-bomb rather than atomic bomb Outline 1. Introduction 2. The Manhattan Project 3. Dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 4. Postwar legacies Clips from Hearst Newsreel and Atomic Café 2. The Manhattan Project Context of other scientific mobilization projects (e.g. radar, penicillin) Cost $2.2 billion; federal support; huge staff numbers (130.000 overall) Broad geographical distribution Other features: secrecy (compartmentalization, security procedures); strict hierarchical organization; military involvement; close links with industry Geographical extension of the Manhattan Project
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10/21/2009 3 2. The Manhattan Project Context of other scientific mobilization projects (e.g. radar, penicillin) Cost $2.2 billion; federal support; huge staff numbers (130.000 overall) Broad geographical distribution Other features: secrecy (compartmentalization, security procedures); strict hierarchical organization; military involvement; close links with industry Small beginnings 1938 experiment in Berlin: bombardment of uranium with slow neutrons Interpretation: neutron had split uranium producing energy and more neutrons. Physicists quickly realized that if reaction was self-sustained (i.e. if chain reaction could be induced), this would produce an explosive of unprecedented power. If enough of the unstable uranium isotope U-235 could be isolated, a bomb could be built (1939). later found that also plutonium (trans-uranic element) could be used to build a bomb. Only around 0.72% of natural uranium is uranium-235, the rest is the non fissionable element uranium-238 Impact of émigré scientists Einstein letter to President Roosevelt (Aug 2,1939 and March 7, 1940) “…it is conceivable - though much less certain - that extremely power- full bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However,
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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3c2009_Manhattan_Project - 10/21/2009 Science and...

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