Oct 2009
3,356
San Diego
#12
Its a popular belief that Einsteins theory of special relativity was the scientific step that enabled the atom bomb. In fact, this isn't true. The scientific step that most directly enabled the atom bomb was the discovery of fission in December 1938 by Otto Hahn. An understanding of special relativity wasn't required to develop a nuclear weapon.

This article explains it best: ''In terms of the science, E=mc² gets a lion’s share of attention, most perfectly expressed by Einstein’s portrait on the cover of Time magazine in 1946 (above) with his equation emblazoned on a mushroom cloud. A lot of people seem to think that E=mc² played a key role in the development of the bomb, that the weapon just falls out of the physics. This is wrong. The equation can help one understand why atomic bombs work, but it doesn’t really tell you how they work, or whether you would expect them to even be possible.''
Einsteins only real role was that he wrote a letter to the president- mentioning the warnings of OTHER scientists and Agreeing with them that an Atom bomb WAS possible, and that German scientists WERE working on one. This letter is credited as being the thing that got FDR to take the threat seriously and ordered the military to look into it- ultimately green lighting the Manhatten project. And Allied attempts to convince Germans that "heavy water" was the secret to developing the bomb. ( it wasn't- heavy water was a dead end- but the allies mounted several suicidal missions to try and sabotage or destroy German heavy water production, which convinced them to invest More effort into a heavy water reactor that allied scientists had already determined was unstable and non-productive. This resulted in the explosion of Germany's heavy water reactor which essentially shut down their research into nuclear bombs.
 
Jan 2018
137
Canada
#13
Einsteins only real role was that he wrote a letter to the president- mentioning the warnings of OTHER scientists and Agreeing with them that an Atom bomb WAS possible, and that German scientists WERE working on one. This letter is credited as being the thing that got FDR to take the threat seriously and ordered the military to look into it- ultimately green lighting the Manhatten project.
Exactly.

And Allied attempts to convince Germans that "heavy water" was the secret to developing the bomb. ( it wasn't- heavy water was a dead end- but the allies mounted several suicidal missions to try and sabotage or destroy German heavy water production, which convinced them to invest More effort into a heavy water reactor that allied scientists had already determined was unstable and non-productive.
Thats not accurate. As far as neutron moderators go, heavy water is actually more efficient (on a mass basis) than ultra-pure graphite. German scientists didn't believe graphite was a viable option for their requirements, partly because of economic reasons, and partly because of misleading results from a test.

Its simply not true that a heavy water moderated reactor couldn't work. The Americans themselves disproved this in May of 1944, when the Chicago Pile 3 went critical.

This resulted in the explosion of Germany's heavy water reactor which essentially shut down their research into nuclear bombs.
The only German 'reactor' that ever suffered an accident was the Leipzig-IV pile. This happened in July of 1942, and did not in any way lead to the end of the Uranverein. They built two more reactors at Berlin and Gottow, which generated an even larger increase in neutrons. Though not quite enough for a self sustaining reaction.
 
Jun 2017
2,504
Connecticut
#14
View attachment 14316
“It wouldn’t take very many bombs to really change life on Earth, … The idea that there are thousands of them sitting around is pretty scary. I don’t think people today realize that. They don’t think about it. I don’t think they are scared. But in a way, they should be. “The invention of 'The Bomb' was a millennial change in human history: for the first time, we were now capable of our own destruction, as a species.” Countries other than the United States and Russia have them. If India and Pakistan ever go at it the whole world will suffer from collateral damage, It’s as if The Bomb doesn’t want to remind us that 70 years ago on August 6, 1945 Albert Einstein's theory changed the World. The Robert Stogner Show "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
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As of now the bomb has saved considerably more lives than it has ended both because it prevented the US invasion of Japan and because it's prevented general war from occurring between great powers since WWII that usually happened on a generational basis for centuries before that. The nuclear bomb might be the least destructive weapon ever created in terms of human lives lost versus saved.

However, that is very very subject to change, 75 years is nothing and nuclear weapons will always have the potential to destroy the human race and it might be in humanity's best long term interest to occasionally bite the major conventional war bullet in the name of removing this risk.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,153
Sydney
#15
There is some misunderstanding on the use of nuclear bombs in a war

1- they are not to be used against civilian targets , that's a waste of a good bomb
2- the disruptions in communication , transport ,power and food supply would kill way more people
3- there is no way an all out nuclear war would wipe out the human race ,
a few developed countries would have some ( ? ) millions casualties
4- so far the bomb has been the most efficient promoter of peace ,
for the first time in History the leaders were not safe , far from the shooting ,
they had targets painted on them , it made them cautious