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The Discovery of Fission The Manhattan Project An Overview Prepared by Dr. Chris McGowan Dean, College of Science, Technology and Agriculture Southeast.

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Presentation on theme: "The Discovery of Fission The Manhattan Project An Overview Prepared by Dr. Chris McGowan Dean, College of Science, Technology and Agriculture Southeast."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Discovery of Fission The Manhattan Project An Overview Prepared by Dr. Chris McGowan Dean, College of Science, Technology and Agriculture Southeast Missouri State University

2 Henri Becquerel Discovered Radioactivity in Discovered Radioactivity in Observed that Uranium salts would expose photographic film even when covered with opaque paper. Observed that Uranium salts would expose photographic film even when covered with opaque paper.

3 Pierre and Marie Curie Began work on the new radioactivity. Began work on the new radioactivity. Discovered Radium and Polonium. Discovered Radium and Polonium. Marie is the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields. Marie is the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields.

4 Types of Radiation Alpha, 4 2 α, a helium nucleus, massive, easily stopped by skin. Alpha, 4 2 α, a helium nucleus, massive, easily stopped by skin. Beta, 0 -1 β, an electron, low mass, can penetrate skin. Beta, 0 -1 β, an electron, low mass, can penetrate skin. Gamma, 0 0 γ, light with energies overlapping with x-rays, no mass, can penetrate through body. Gamma, 0 0 γ, light with energies overlapping with x-rays, no mass, can penetrate through body.

5 James Chadwick Discovered the neutron in Discovered the neutron in The neutron is a particle that has the same mass as a proton with zero charge. The neutron is a particle that has the same mass as a proton with zero charge.

6 Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie Al α → P n Discovered Artificial Radioactivity. Discovered Artificial Radioactivity. Missed fission. Missed fission.

7 Enrico Fermi Bombarded almost every element in the Periodic Table with neutrons. Bombarded almost every element in the Periodic Table with neutrons. Also missed fission. Also missed fission. Defected to the US when he accepted the Nobel Prize. Defected to the US when he accepted the Nobel Prize.

8 Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassman

9 Meitner and Hahn and had worked together for several years on various aspects of radioactivity. They also were bombarding uranium with neutrons trying to make transuranic elements. Meitner and Hahn and had worked together for several years on various aspects of radioactivity. They also were bombarding uranium with neutrons trying to make transuranic elements. Meitner was Jewish and fled Germany in She first went to Holland, then to Copenhagen where Niels Bohr worked, and ultimately to Sweden. Meitner was Jewish and fled Germany in She first went to Holland, then to Copenhagen where Niels Bohr worked, and ultimately to Sweden. Meitner and Hahn were in daily contact through the mail and continued to collaborate. Meitner and Hahn were in daily contact through the mail and continued to collaborate.

10 In one experiment, Hahn and Strassman were trying to isolate a new element they thought would be similar to barium by trying to co-precipitate the new element with barium carbonate. In one experiment, Hahn and Strassman were trying to isolate a new element they thought would be similar to barium by trying to co-precipitate the new element with barium carbonate. At the end of a paper they stated that the element appeared to be barium. At the end of a paper they stated that the element appeared to be barium. The paper was picked up on Dec. 22, 1938 by Paul Rosbaud and published Jan. 6, The paper was picked up on Dec. 22, 1938 by Paul Rosbaud and published Jan. 6, 1939.

11 Paul Rosbaud Director of Springer Verlagen, the publisher of Naturewissenshaften. Director of Springer Verlagen, the publisher of Naturewissenshaften. Was a British Secret Service operative code named “The Griffin”. Was a British Secret Service operative code named “The Griffin”. Another paper was supposed to be published but he had it switched for the Hahn and Strassman paper. Another paper was supposed to be published but he had it switched for the Hahn and Strassman paper.

12 Otto Frisch Lise Meitner’s nephew who worked with Bohr. Lise Meitner’s nephew who worked with Bohr. On Xmas Eve, 1938, he and Meitner figured out that Hahn and Strassman had split the uranium atom. On Xmas Eve, 1938, he and Meitner figured out that Hahn and Strassman had split the uranium atom. They recognized the huge amount of energy that was released. They recognized the huge amount of energy that was released.

13 E=mc 2 As a result of the Theory of Relativity, 1905, Albert Einstein had proposed that matter could be converted to energy and energy to matter. As a result of the Theory of Relativity, 1905, Albert Einstein had proposed that matter could be converted to energy and energy to matter. If this proved accurate, then the energy produced by the fission of one uranium atom would be over 1000 times that produce by burning one carbon atom. If this proved accurate, then the energy produced by the fission of one uranium atom would be over 1000 times that produce by burning one carbon atom.

14 Chain Reaction (?) The following is an example of one of the many possible fission reactions. The following is an example of one of the many possible fission reactions. Fission products are very radioactive as they have far too many neutrons in their nuclei. Fission products are very radioactive as they have far too many neutrons in their nuclei. 1 0 n U → Ba Kr n

15 Niels Bohr Brought news of fission to the US at the Fifth Washington Conference on Theoretical Physics. Brought news of fission to the US at the Fifth Washington Conference on Theoretical Physics. Several researchers went back to their labs and confirmed the work and reported back before the conference was over. Several researchers went back to their labs and confirmed the work and reported back before the conference was over.

16 Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein Szilard Composed a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. Szilard Composed a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. Einstein signed the letter dated Aug. 2, Einstein signed the letter dated Aug. 2, This letter leads ultimately to the Manhattan Project which began in This letter leads ultimately to the Manhattan Project which began in 1942.

17 Glenn Seaborg Discovered plutonium at U.C. Berkeley, Feb. 23, Discovered plutonium at U.C. Berkeley, Feb. 23, Pu also undergoes fission and is made from 238 U. 239 Pu also undergoes fission and is made from 238 U.

18 Plutonium Production U n → U U → Np β t 1/2 = 23.5 min Np → Pu β t 1/2 = 2.35 days

19 General Leslie Groves Military Director of the Manhattan Project. Military Director of the Manhattan Project. Famous for building the Pentagon Famous for building the Pentagon Wanted to be a field general Wanted to be a field general

20 J. Robert Oppenheimer Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project. Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project. A physicist at UC Berkeley A physicist at UC Berkeley Dated a woman who was a member of the communist party Dated a woman who was a member of the communist party

21 Iowa State College Frank Spedding Purified uranium metal. Frank Spedding Purified uranium metal. Over two million tons of uranium were produced in a clapboard building known as “Little Ankeny”. Over two million tons of uranium were produced in a clapboard building known as “Little Ankeny”.

22 University of Chicago Enrico Fermi built the first nuclear reactor, CP-1, in a squash court under the football stadium. The first sustained chain reaction occurred on Dec. 2, Enrico Fermi built the first nuclear reactor, CP-1, in a squash court under the football stadium. The first sustained chain reaction occurred on Dec. 2, 1942.

23 Nuclear Reactors Fuel – fissionable material usually enriched 235 U. CP-1 used uranium metal from Iowa State. Fuel – fissionable material usually enriched 235 U. CP-1 used uranium metal from Iowa State. Moderator – slows down the neutrons usually graphite, heavy water, or water. CP-1 used graphite. Moderator – slows down the neutrons usually graphite, heavy water, or water. CP-1 used graphite. Control Rods – absorb neutrons usually boron or cadmium. CP-1 used cadmium. Control Rods – absorb neutrons usually boron or cadmium. CP-1 used cadmium.

24 Oak Ridge Secret City on the Clinch River near Knoxville, Tennessee. Secret City on the Clinch River near Knoxville, Tennessee. Primary purpose was to enrich 235 U. Primary purpose was to enrich 235 U. Also built a graphite reactor at X-10 to study the production of plutonium. Also built a graphite reactor at X-10 to study the production of plutonium. X-10

25 Y-12 Magnetic separation of 235 U from 238 U at Oak Ridge. Magnetic separation of 235 U from 238 U at Oak Ridge. The work was overseen by E. O. Lawrence from U. C. Berkeley. The work was overseen by E. O. Lawrence from U. C. Berkeley.

26 K-25 Gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge for enrichment of 235 U. Gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge for enrichment of 235 U. Based on Graham’s Law of Effusion and the oddity that UF 6 is a gas. Based on Graham’s Law of Effusion and the oddity that UF 6 is a gas.

27 Hanford Secret City on the Columbia River in Washington State. Secret City on the Columbia River in Washington State. A series of nuclear reactors designed to produce plutonium. A series of nuclear reactors designed to produce plutonium. A chemical plant to purify plutonium. A chemical plant to purify plutonium.

28 Los Alamos Secret City in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico. Secret City in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in New Mexico. The purpose was to design and build the bombs. The purpose was to design and build the bombs.

29 Tickling the Tail of the Dragon The exact size of the critical mass was determined by Otto Frisch at Los Alamos. The exact size of the critical mass was determined by Otto Frisch at Los Alamos.

30 Klaus Fuchs Born in Germany and came to Los Alamos as part of the British Mission Born in Germany and came to Los Alamos as part of the British Mission Worked on the explosive lens Worked on the explosive lens An ardent communist who leaked information to the Russians An ardent communist who leaked information to the Russians

31 Gun Design This design worked with uranium. This design worked with uranium. A 2000 lb TNT Blockbuster bomb was used as the “trigger”. A 2000 lb TNT Blockbuster bomb was used as the “trigger”.

32 Implosion Design This design was required for plutonium. This design was required for plutonium. Impurities of 240 Pu would release too many neutrons and cause premature detonation in the gun design. This would lower the yield. Impurities of 240 Pu would release too many neutrons and cause premature detonation in the gun design. This would lower the yield.

33 Trinity Site The gun design was simple and the scientists did not feel that testing was necessary. The gun design was simple and the scientists did not feel that testing was necessary. The implosion device was much more complicated and needed to be tested. The implosion device was much more complicated and needed to be tested. The chosen site was in the Jornado del Muerto Valley near Alamogordo New Mexico and code named Trinity. The chosen site was in the Jornado del Muerto Valley near Alamogordo New Mexico and code named Trinity.

34 Gadget

35 The Dawn of the Nuclear Age The first nuclear explosion occurred at 5:29:45 am on July 16, 1945 at Trinity. The first nuclear explosion occurred at 5:29:45 am on July 16, 1945 at Trinity.

36 Edward Teller described wearing double welders glasses and was not impressed until he removed his hands from around the glasses. Edward Teller described wearing double welders glasses and was not impressed until he removed his hands from around the glasses. Fermi was holding pieces of paper in his hand and waited for the shock wave to estimate the output. He later commented on missing both fission and the first nuclear explosion. Fermi was holding pieces of paper in his hand and waited for the shock wave to estimate the output. He later commented on missing both fission and the first nuclear explosion.

37 To Use or Not to Use With the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, discussion began on whether or not to use the bombs. With the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, discussion began on whether or not to use the bombs. Japan had never been a threat to develop a bomb. Japan had never been a threat to develop a bomb. Groves definitely wanted to use the bombs. Groves definitely wanted to use the bombs. Szilard started a petition, signed by many of the scientists involved in the project, to not drop the bombs. The petition was never delivered to Truman. Szilard started a petition, signed by many of the scientists involved in the project, to not drop the bombs. The petition was never delivered to Truman.

38 509 th Composite Group B-29 Bomber Group was constituted and refitted to carry the atomic bombs. B-29 Bomber Group was constituted and refitted to carry the atomic bombs. Special training took place stateside before transferring to Tinian Island. Special training took place stateside before transferring to Tinian Island. The commander was Colonel Paul Tibbets The commander was Colonel Paul Tibbets

39 Little Boy and Fat Man

40 Hiroshima Aug. 6, 1945, Little Boy was dropped by the Enola Gay piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets. Aug. 6, 1945, Little Boy was dropped by the Enola Gay piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets. Equivalent to kilotons of TNT. Equivalent to kilotons of TNT. 70,000 immediate deaths, 140,000 by the end of the year. 70,000 immediate deaths, 140,000 by the end of the year.

41 Nagasaki August 9, 1945, Fat Man was droped by Bocks Car piloted by Maj. Charles Sweeney. August 9, 1945, Fat Man was droped by Bocks Car piloted by Maj. Charles Sweeney. Equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. Equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. 40,000 immediate deaths, 70,000 by the end of the year. 40,000 immediate deaths, 70,000 by the end of the year.

42 VJ-Day Japan surrenders unconditionally on Aug. 14, Japan surrenders unconditionally on Aug. 14, Surrender signed in Tokyo Harbor aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2. Surrender signed in Tokyo Harbor aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2.

43 After the War The US conducts tests on Bikini Atoll. The US conducts tests on Bikini Atoll. Able test recreated a Pearl Harbor style attack using a single plutonium bomb. Able test recreated a Pearl Harbor style attack using a single plutonium bomb. Today, you can dive on some of the sunken ships in the lagoon. Today, you can dive on some of the sunken ships in the lagoon. The Bikinians cannot yet return. The Bikinians cannot yet return. Art work by Grant Powell

44 Edward Teller Edward Teller pushed for further work on a fusion based bomb. Edward Teller pushed for further work on a fusion based bomb. Known as the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb. Known as the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb.

45 Stanislaw Ulam Recognized that radiation could create the pressure that would cause fusion. Recognized that radiation could create the pressure that would cause fusion. Led to the design of a staged thermonuclear device. Led to the design of a staged thermonuclear device.

46 The Fusion Reaction Requires a plutonium bomb as a trigger. Requires a plutonium bomb as a trigger.

47 Mike First staged fusion explosion occurred on Eniwetok Atoll on Nov. 1, First staged fusion explosion occurred on Eniwetok Atoll on Nov. 1, Mike used liquid deuterium as a fuel. Mike used liquid deuterium as a fuel. The output of 10.4 megatons of TNT exceeded all of the explosives used in WW II including both atomic bombs. The output of 10.4 megatons of TNT exceeded all of the explosives used in WW II including both atomic bombs.

48 Modern Thermonuclear Warhead Modern weapons use LiD as a fuel. Modern weapons use LiD as a fuel. As many as 20 warheads may sit on a single ICBM. As many as 20 warheads may sit on a single ICBM.

49 The United States is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in anger.

50 Fat Man and Mike superimposed over New York City


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