Download A Short History of Nuclear Folly by Rudolph Herzog PDF

By Rudolph Herzog

Within the spirit of Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café, a blackly sardonic people’s background of atomic mistakes and near-misses revealing the hushed-up and forgotten episodes within which the nice powers gambled with catastropheRudolph Herzog, the acclaimed writer of useless humorous, provides a devastating account of history’s such a lot irresponsible makes use of of nuclear expertise. From the rarely-discussed nightmare of “Broken Arrows” (40 nuclear guns misplaced through the chilly struggle) to “Operation Plowshare” (a idea to exploit nuclear bombs for giant engineering tasks, similar to a the development of a moment Panama Canal utilizing three hundred H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear initiatives that just about ended in disaster.In an unheard of people’s background, Herzog digs deep into files, interviews nuclear scientists, and collects dozens of infrequent images. He explores the “accidental” drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a teach conductor’s domestic, the implanting of plutonium into sufferers’ hearts, and the discovery of untamed tactical nukes, together with guns designed to kill enemy astronauts.Told in a riveting narrative voice, Herzog—the son of filmmaker Werner Herzog—also attracts on formative years stories of the ultimate period of the chilly battle in Germany, the rustic as soon as noticeable because the nuclear battleground for NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations, and discusses proof that Nazi scientists knew find out how to make atomic weaponry . . . and selected to not.

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Extra info for A Short History of Nuclear Folly

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T Force soldiers abducted any research scientists they discovered and tried to get them to reveal what they knew with a combination of threats and incentives. But the T Force was unable to distinguish between valuable and worthless sorts of knowledge—on one occasion they interrogated a harmless German widow, extracting from her the formula for “4711,” the original eau de cologne. Meanwhile, starting in 1943, the American intelligence services ran a program, code-named the “Alsos,” that explicitly targeted German nuclear research.

The forces working upon the radioactive material had to be absolutely regular in order to achieve an explosive chain reaction. The solution was to surround a plutonium ball with highly volatile conventional explosives, which were then detonated with an extremely complicated mechanism. That caused the plutonium to implode, triggering a critical mass like the one that resulted in the two halves of uranium 235 in the cannon-detonation procedure. The result, which Kurchatov witnessed with his own eyes, was a gigantic, multicolored fireball that rose into the sky over Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

The key to success, Ardenne immediately realized, would not be technology, but a team of scientific minds capable of achieving the impossible. Frantically, Ardenne started searching POW camps for gifted chemists, physicists, and engineers, and Soviet authorities provided him with lists of specialists whom they had captured. Anyone who seemed interesting was whisked away to the sunny climes of the Georgian resort. Ardenne could not have suspected how lucky he would be. One of the two men who would prove crucial to the project just happened to be alive and well in a Soviet POW camp—and that by accident.

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