The Atomic Age’s Arrival and|
the Advent of International Concern over the
Rumors of War
Albert Einstein developed a theory about the relationship of mass and energy. The formula, E=mc, is clearly the most famous outcome from Einstein's special theory of relativity.
Enrico Fermi became the first physicist to split the atom. His research pioneered the nuclear age.
Physicist Albert Einstein sends a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, warning him that German researchers are working on an atomic bomb. US President Roosevelt forms a special committee to consider the military implications of atomic research.
The Manhattan Project was formed to secretly build the atomic bomb before the Germans. The Army appointed General Leslie Groves, the engineer responsible for building the Pentagon, to head the effort. At first, the research took place at several university laboratories.
Enrico Fermi demonstrated the first nuclear chain reaction in a lab under the squash court at the University of Chicago. In a nuclear chain reaction, a neutron splits one uranium atom into two smaller atoms, which in turn release energy and neutrons; these neutrons split other uranium atoms, releasing more energy and neutrons.
The United States exploded the first atomic device at a site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. At 5:30 am, July 16, 1945, scientists from Los Alamos, watching from observation bunkers 10,000 yards away, exploded an atomic device with a plutonium core, releasing a blast equivalent to 18,600 tons of TNT. ( The Atomic Age arrives )
The United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber--the Enola Gay--released a 9,700-pound uranium bomb, nicknamed Little Boy, over the city of Hiroshima in southern Japan. On August 9, another B-29 bomber--Bock's Car--headed to bomb Kokura Arsenal; however, the pilot switched to his secondary target, Nagasaki, because of the weather over Kokura. Nagasaki was the home of a Mitsubishi torpedo manufacturing plant. Bock's Car dropped a 10,000-pound plutonium bomb, nicknamed Fat Man, over the slopes of Nagasaki. Fat Man killed 40,000, injured 60,000, and destroyed three square miles of the city.
The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic device on August 29, 1949. The event surprised American nuclear scientists--who hadn't expected it so soon--and shook the American public's sense of security.
The United States now has 200 A-bombs in its arsenal.
England becomes the third nuclear power when it tests an Atomic bomb code named Hurricane at Monte Bello Islands, West Australia.
The United States tests its first hydrogen bomb on Elugelap island. The bast was equal to 10.4 megatons, 700 times the power of Little Boy.
The first nuclear submarine, U.S.S. Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Connecticut on.
Atlas rocket developed using stainless steel tank for liquid oxygen + kerosene. The Atlas rocket would become the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile armed with nuclear weapons.
France joins the atomic club by testing a device in the Sahara desert, a plutonium implosion bomb.
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear device, estimated at 58 megatons, the equivalent of more than 50 million tons of TNT, or more than all the explosives used during World War II. It remains the largest nuclear weapon the world had ever seen.
The Soviet Union ships nuclear missiles to Cuba. Upon discovery of the missiles, the United States demands they be removed. For two weeks, the world is thrust to the brink of nuclear war, until Moscow agrees to remove the missiles.
The People's Republic of China explodes its first nuclear bomb.
India detonates its first nuclear device, a 10-to-15 kiloton bomb, under the Rajasthan desert.
A meltdown and fire occur at the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Soviet Ukraine. Massive quantities of radioactive materials are released, affecting much of Europe.
South Africa confirms in the late 1980's it manufactured a total of 6 nuclear bombs.
The "Jason report" proposes that nuclear tests can be conducted on computers without the need of nuclear explosions.
The U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile totals 9000: 7000 in the continental U.S.; 480 in Europe; 1500 with submarines.
India conducts five underground nuclear tests. Pakistan responds with its own series of nuclear tests, several days later.
The Arab nations of the Middle East acknowledges the fact that tiny little Israel also has acquired the capability of Nuclear-Atomic weaponry. Termed as the “Samson Option”, it has served as Israel’s main source of security, and as the imposing object of deterrence for potential adversaries.
Darrell G. Young