Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan Project’

It’s at times like this when I’m almost certain that some nuclear explosion has gone off in my mind due to stress overload. At the very least, it must be possible to determine the half-life of my rapidly decaying brain. Hopefully, the rest of this post will still be coherent.

Anyways, Alois Kral died this week on Thursday, April 3rd. Exactly what were his contributions to physics? Kral was an electrical engineer whose work was used by The Manhattan Project, the team of World War II scientists who developed the nuclear bomb. Of course, Kral was not aware of this until after the atomic bomb was dropped.

The development of the nuclear bomb is of course a result of discovering nuclear fission, also known as “splitting the atom.” Fission occurs when a heavy nucleus breaks up into smaller ones, releasing energy.

The Hiroshima bomb, Little Boy, was made from uranium-235. By bombarding it with neutrons, induced fission is made possible. As the heavy nuclei is split up into intermediate-sized nuclei, the binding energy per nucleon increases and energy is released.

The process of fission is self-sustaining. After a single reaction, a few neutrons are released, free to then induce more reactions in nearby atoms. This will produce more free neutrons which go on to continue the process. Tada! A chain reaction is produced!

Indeed the destructive atomic bomb was not the best investment of our knowledge of fission. This just goes to show that knowledge can be dangerous. And so can secret governmental plans.


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