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It is the cause of the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It determined the outcome of World War II, it is the nuclear bomb. The nuclear bomb, a mind blowing killing creation, rests its power on one tiny thing, the atom. One of the world’s smallest pieces of matter is the basis of this havoc wreaking weapon.
The atom is made of three subatomic particles: protons, neutrons and electrons. The center of an atom is called the nucleus which is made of protons and neutrons, the protons are positively charged particles, the neutrons are neutral particles and the electrons are negatively charged particles. The protons and electrons are equally balanced, giving the atom a neutral charge. However, atoms properties can change based on the number of protons and neutrons it has. If the number of protons is changed you get a different element, but if the number of neutrons is changed, you get an isotope.
Some isotopes are unstable and emit particles that scientists refer to as radiation, making it possible that when atoms splits, the structure of certain isotopes make it able to release incredible amounts of energy. Einstein’s famous E=MC2 explains by showing how the process works. In E=MC2 , E=energy, M=mass and C=the speed of light, (which is 300,000 kilometers per sec).The concept of this equation is that matter and energy are interchangeable, causing them to be able to convert into each other. When you multiply a large amount of mass by the speed of light you get an extreme amount of energy.
There are two different ways that nuclear energy is released: 1.) Nuclear fission, which is when you split the nucleus of an atom into 2 smaller fragments with a neutron 2.) Nuclear fusion, which is when you bring two smaller atoms together, usually hydrogen or its isotopes, to form a larger atom. Substances like uranium, which are commonly used in nuclear bombs, have very high atomic numbers, because the atoms are larger and contain more particles than the atoms of other naturally occurring substances. This additional nuclear material, allows uranium to release incredibly large amounts of energy when it fissions. For example, 7 kilograms of uranium multiplied by the speed of light (300,000 kilometers per sec.) you get about 2.1 billion Joules of energy.
After Enrico Fermi’s first discovery of nuclear fission in the 1930s, German scientist, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman added more neutrons to uranium which produced a radioactive barium isotope. They then came to the conclusion that low-speed neutrons caused the uranium nucleus to fission or break apart into 2 smaller pieces. After German scientist discovery, Niels Bohr and John Wheeler, at Princeton University developed a hypothetical model of the fission process. They noticed that it was the uranium isotope uranium-235 undertaking nuclear fission, not uranium-238. At around the same time, other scientists discovered that the fission process resulted in even more neutrons being produced. This caused a momentous question to be asked: could the free neutrons created in fission start a chain reaction that would release an incredulous amount of energy? If it could, it might be possible to make a weapon of mass destruction and enormous power.
Yes the deed was possible, birthing the war-changing nuclear bomb. In March 1940 a team of scientist, working at Columbia University in New York City, confirmed the hypothesis made by Bohr and Wheeler, that the isotope uranium-235 was responsible for nuclear fission. In fall of 1941, the Columbia team tried to initiate a chain reaction, but failed. However,