Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Hydrogen Bomb (1952)

The United States detonated its first Hydrogen Bomb on the first of November 1952. The bomb was detonated on an island named Elugelab in the South Pacific. The immense warhead released so much energy that the entire island sank and a mile long crater was dug into the ocean floor. This bomb was more powerful than any other nuclear device previously tested in the U.S. It derived its power from the process of nuclear fusion rather than nuclear fission, which all other atomic bombs had previously used. Although the process of fusing two atoms was significantly more difficult than splitting one, the former allowed for far more power. Thus, despite protest from many scientists, work began on creating a working fusion bomb. The quest to build a working fusion bomb began in 1950 and was an attempt to stay one step ahead of the Russians, who had recently detonated ther first atomic bomb in 1949. However; the Soviet Union detonated a Hydrogen bomb almost a year before the U.S.'s first Hydrogen bomb was ready to be tested. The fact that the Russians had beaten the U.S. in producing a Hydrogen bomb caused outrage at home where Robert Oppenheimer, a scientist who had advised against creating a Hydrogen bomb, was ousted from his position as Director of the Los Alamos Laboratories for "interfering" with the production of the Hydrogen bomb.

1 comment:

  1. Reminder: Tie all of this information back to your theme!