The Atomic Bomb: a Brief History

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The Atomic Bomb
Abigail Dockstader
Senior Division
Research Paper The Atomic Bomb
The Atomic Bomb is one of the deadliest weapons ever to be created. It has changed the history of the world. The atomic bomb would be the first weapon to bring together the world and shatter it altogether. In 1945, the only weapon that could destroy the world was built. This is the story of the history, creation, and innovation of the Atomic Bomb.

In 1905, Albert Einstein published his Theory of Relativity, or E=MC2. It states that energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared (Watson, para.1). This means that any mass is equal to a certain amount of energy. In 1921, two German scientists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, with the help of Otto Frisch and Lise Meitner test with uranium (Roleff, pg.15). With their knowledge of the Theory of Relativity, they discovered a breakthrough. The theory of Fission. When a uranium atom is mixed with many neutrons, the atom actually splits. It’s more like taking a heavier element and splitting it into lighter elements. This means that it can release nuclear energy on an immense scale. These two theories will help with the creation of the atom bomb. The Race for the bomb

During the discovery of these theories, many scientists were skeptical of the findings. A handful of nations went to work developing the theory and soon it became a race to see who could build the bomb first. England, Germany and the United States all began projects to develop weapons of mass destruction. In 1939, Albert Einstein was afraid that Nazi Germany would create the Atom Bomb. Albert sent a letter to President Franklin D Roosevelt, stating that Germany was at work with Atom Bombs. He also stated in the letter that is was okay with the Americans to use his Theory of Relativity to be used in the making of the atom bomb. Part of the letter states "In the course of the last four months it has been made probable through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America-that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears this could be achieved in the immediate future". (Fromm. Par. 36). “The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and the former Czechoslovakia, while the most important source of uranium is the Belgian Congo (Einstein Para 5). This is implying Einstein is allowing America to use his theory of relativity. Later in Einstein’s life, he was being interviewed and said at this time, "I made one great mistake in my life... when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification - the danger that the Germans would make them." (Long, par. 11). Germany was about a year ahead with the atom bomb than America was. Great Britain was also ongoing with atom bomb research. With the fear that Germany was creating atom bombs, President Roosevelt created the Manhattan Project. This was a project in which America started to build atom bombs. The scientists included Robert Oppenheimer, David Bohm, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, Rudolf Peierls, Otto Frisch, Niels Bohr, Felix Bloch , James Franck , James Chadwick, Emilio Segre, Enrico Fermi, Klaus Fuchs ,and Edward Teller(Simkin Para. 6).The main person was Robert Oppenheimer, a Jewish born American, was elected in 1942 for the head, along with general Leslie R. Groves, for the Manhattan Project (Roleff pg. 17). In 1942, the theory of the atom bomb went from theory to fact. They would have an atom bomb by 1945. On July 6th, 1945, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, near Alamogordo, the first test of the atom bomb would take place. I.I Rabi, a physicist with the Manhattan Project stated, “We were lying there, very tense, in the early dawn,...
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