The Tsar Bomba

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Nicolas Krause
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The Tsar Bomba

Post by Nicolas Krause » Fri Oct 29, 2021 7:38 pm

This is a fascinating article on the development of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated. It includes information about American attempts to develop similar sized weapons. I knew Edward Teller had pushed for the development of the Hydrogen Bomb, but I did not realize he also advocated for the development of two weapons codenamed Gnomon and Sundial, which were 1,000 and 10,000 Megatons of yield respectively. A 10,000 Megaton bomb would destroy an area the size of France. It is not a comforting thought to discover that Teller was insane.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: The Tsar Bomba

Post by Mark Rowley » Sat Oct 30, 2021 6:23 am

Teller was not insane Nicolas

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Rich Feldman
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Re: The Tsar Bomba

Post by Rich Feldman » Sat Oct 30, 2021 3:34 pm

I met Edward Teller at a reception at his home in 1973, for a group of youngsters in a college scholarship program associated with Lawrence Livermore lab. Don't recall any obvious signs of insanity. :)
I never went into the trade for which they hoped to groom a new generation.

Have occasionally mentioned Tsar Bomba in these forums, in connection with the
inertial confinement fusion technology known since before I was born.
Worked out the mass of free neutrons (triple digit kilograms) released in less than a microsecond.
As with any reaction, it can be figured in moles with same ratio as if figured in atoms & molecules.
Last edited by Rich Feldman on Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All models are wrong; some models are useful. -- George Box

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Nicolas Krause
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Re: The Tsar Bomba

Post by Nicolas Krause » Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:23 pm

He was clearly incredibly brilliant, and I think I was being a bit over the top with my last sentence, but I struggle to understand how a weapon of that destructive capacity can be thought of as anything else? MAD has its own logic behind it, but I don't really get how weapons of that size fit into a scheme like that when you already have the capacity to end the world multiple times over.

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Richard Hull
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Re: The Tsar Bomba

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Oct 30, 2021 5:36 pm

It was a mere race to get ever more destructive which, in the 50's and during the "cold War", made perfect sense to the defense units of the US and Russia. More and bigger is better and an ever more suitable deterrent. Teller pushed for the "super" because he knew it was possible and the other side would persue it. He was hated by many of his peers, mostly due to his testimony against Oppenheimer. Oppie and his ilk were in great remorse at what they had done, unleashing the atomic monster. Teller was a much more clear thinking scientist without the namby-pamby, panty-waist thoughts of many of his peers. Teller realized that the "game was now afoot" and that only those who were fleet of foot would survive against what was perceived as a horrid new threat and enemy. Thus, the arms race began. It was enevitable. Thank goodness they thought this way!! Teller was a tough old "Magyar", outliving many of his contemporaries.

At some point, somebody in the defense works, surrounded by a sea of his own nukes, stopped to think....The brilliance behind thousands of nukes ready to fly, made it apparent that they could never be used. A classic zero sum game. Both sides would be in ruins, each left to claim a pyrrhic victory.

The logical and thinking mind could easily see that even with 10,000 nukes flying, life would not be extinguished from the planet. What few survived would be in a classic survival of the most fit and en habile. Those who could "do" and in posession of much cunning would strive to form tribal areas of security. Not pretty, but it would be man at his most resorceful, and if needed, his most savage. Sort of back to basics. Keeping warm, keeping fed, keeping safe and those most valuable among the group protected.

I am positive some low yield nuke will be used now by some crazy sect or country in an insane moment in future. I am also certain this will not result in any response in kind from any of the super powers. MAD is our savior. The sect and offenders will be dealt with swiftly via conventional means by a conglomeration of super powers focused on not using their nukes. MAD works. It might even work for a crazed nation state and cool the jets of mindless zealot natures. We will see.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Nicolas Krause
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Re: The Tsar Bomba

Post by Nicolas Krause » Sat Oct 30, 2021 7:23 pm

That must have been a fascinating experience Rich, I'm always stunned at how close to these people everyone is. The Kevin Bacon rule really holds!

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