Thursday, December 6, 2007

How a nuclear weapon works

Back in July 1945 the U.S. detonated the first nuclear explosion in New Mexico.

Here's how it works: when a slow moving neutron hits a Uranium 235 nucleus a funny thing happens: the nucleus accepts the neutron and then becomes unstable, breaking into two or more different nuclei and emitting on average two and a half more neutrons, that can then enter more Uranium 235 nuclei. This behavior was first observed in 1938; it took just seven years to make the bomb.

Hmmm, 1945. Sixty-two years ago. No computers. No Internet. No cell phones. With all this new technology I would have thought everyone, including the Iranians, would have figured it out by now.

Maybe for once it's a good thing the world is more stupid today.

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