1950-1952: The Largest Nuclear Weapon

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Throughout the years of 1950-1952 the H-bomb was in development and tested due to the effort of many people and organizations throughout the country. The H-bomb was the most deadliest nuclear weapon ever made and the most specifically designed nuclear weapon of its time. In 1950 ,President Harry Truman made the decision to further research and produce thermonuclear weaponry. On July 25,1950 Truman wrote to Crawford H. Greenewalt, President of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (atomicheritage). He did this in regards to concerns of the design of the H-bomb and how to construct it.. On February 24,1950 the joint chiefs of staff requested that President Truman approve the exclusive advancements of thermonuclear weaponry. After the NSC…show more content…
Stanislaus Ulam was one of the designers who helped improve the H-bomb and made it more powerful. In January 1951, Ulam came up with the idea of placing a hollow tube of uranium or plutonium inside the bomb casing and also used the fission explosive lens assembly (dailykos) . The intense radiation pressures produced by the implosion trigger might, he thought, flood the bomb casing and momentarily produce enough pressure to squeeze the hollow tube into a solid rod, in effect imploding it into a critical mass which would then add to the yield (dailykos). Edward Teller was the other designer who combined his ideas with Ulams’ to make the H-bomb so effective. When Ulam told Teller about the idea, Teller combined them together in order to make the H-bomb more powerful.. If Teller were to replace Ulam’s plutonium tube with a separate container of fusion fuel, the same radiation pressure from the trigger explosion would compress and heat it, setting off a thermonuclear reaction (dailykos). Later on after this Teller added the idea of placing Ulam’s hollow plutonium tube (now known as the “spark plug”) inside the fusion fuel (dailykos). This would cause it to be imploded by the radiation pressure and explode which would cause the thermonuclear fuel to be more efficient. This later became known as the Ulam-Teller…show more content…
decided to test it. The name of the H-bomb was “The Mike”. It was approximately 1,000 times stronger than conventional nuclear weapons. The test took place on Eniwetok Atoll, 3,000 miles away from Hawaii (armymil). The phase began in March and by October more than 11,000 civilians and military personnel were in the vicinity of Eniwetok working on the project (pbs). The “Mike” was detonated with a remote from a ship 30 miles from ground 0. When the bomb exploded it sent a fireball 57,000 feet in the air. When the cloud of fire was at its peak it was about 100 miles wide. The “Mike Bomb” exploded with a yield of 10.4 megatons (nytimes). Elugelab was the place that housed the H-Bomb. After the explosion,Elugelab was completely wiped off the map and surrounding islands were also affected. All the animals of surrounding islands were dead and only the stumps of vegetation was found. Herbert York afterwards summed up the implications of the testing and said “ the world suddenly shifted from the path it had been on to a more dangerous one. Fission bombs, destructive as they might have been, were thought of [as] being limited in power. Now, it seemed we had learned how to brush even these limits aside and to build bombs whose power was boundless”
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