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Download Critical Assembly (Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years) ePub

by Hoddeson et al

Download Critical Assembly (Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years) ePub
  • ISBN 0521541174
  • ISBN13 978-0521541176
  • Language English
  • Author Hoddeson et al
  • Publisher Cambridge University Press; F First Paperback Edition edition (February 12, 2004)
  • Pages 528
  • Formats docx mbr rtf lit
  • Category History
  • Subcategory Military
  • Size ePub 1469 kb
  • Size Fb2 1566 kb
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Votes: 852

This volume is a lucid and accurate history of the technical research that led to the first atomic bombs. The authors explore how the "critical assembly" of scientists, engineers, and military personnel at Los Alamos, responding to wartime deadlines, collaborated to create a new approach to large-scale research. The book opens with an introduction laying out major themes. After a synopsis of the prehistory of the bomb project, from the discovery of nuclear fission to the start of the Manhattan Engineer District, and an overview of the early materials program, the book examines the establishment of the Los Alamos Laboratory, the implosion and gun assembly programs, nuclear physics research, chemistry and metallurgy, explosives, uranium and plutonium development, confirmation of spontaneous fission in pile-produced plutonium, the thermonuclear bomb, critical assemblies, the Trinity test, and delivery of the combat weapons.

Critical Assembly has a lot to say about proliferation, much of it relevant to the present.

Critical Assembly has a lot to say about proliferation, much of it relevant to the present. Among other things, it provides a better foundation than ever for evaluating the problems facing countries (or terrorists) with nuclear ambitions. William Sweet, The Sciences. Readers will find this book a crucial resource for understanding the underpinnings of contemporary science and technology.

Critical Assembly book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read

Critical Assembly book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Although fascinating in its own right, this story has particular interest because of its impact on subsequent developments. The principal reason that the technical history of Los Alamos has not yet been written is that even today, after half a century, much of the original documentation remains classified.

Critical Assembly : A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945. Lillian Hoddeson, Paul W. Henriksen, Roger A. Meade, Catherine L. Westfall. Download (pdf, 3. 9 Mb) Donate Read.

This 1993 book explores how the 'critical assembly' of scientists at Los Alamos created the first atomic . The book opens with an introduction laying out major themes.

This 1993 book explores how the 'critical assembly' of scientists at Los Alamos created the first atomic bombs.

Items related to Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos. Lillian Hoddeson; Paul W. Henriksen; Roger A. Meade; Catherine L. Westfall Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945. ISBN 13: 9780521441322.

Similar books and articles. Modernists with a Vengeance’: Changing Cultures of Theory in Nuclear Science, 1920–1930. The Christian Philosophy of History. J. C. & J. Hughes - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 29 (3):339-367. By Shirley Jackson Case. Chicago: University Press; London: Cambridge University Press.

Manhattan District history, Project Y, the Los Alamos story. Los Angeles: Tomash Publishers. Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, 1943–1945. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The authors explore how the 'critical assembly' of scientists, engineers, and military personnel at Los Alamos, collaborated during .

Readers will find this book a crucial resource for understanding the underpinnings of contemporary science and technology.

Talk about Critical Assembly (Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years)


Uris
The author has written a very detailed account of the making of the atomic bomb. It has some gems of insight into the chemistry, physics, and engineering that was done to achieve this war time goal of a workable weapon. Unfortunately it doesn't flow well. The book is written in chronological order, but jumps around from one problem to another so you can't be sure where you are in time. Manufacturing of Putonium is interspersed with separation of Uranium and and the design of the explosive lenses. A great deal of effort is spent on naming all the scientists on each project, but unless you are an historian, most of the names are meaningless. Claus Fuchs and Ted Hall are named, but their significance to the spying for the Russians is hardly mentioned. There are some fascinating details in the book, but if a good editor worked on it, the length could be cut in half, and the story would read much better. I found myself skimming paragraphs to speed up the book and locating the really interesting parts.
Yozshujinn
Textbook printing is the only thing that lets this excellent book down. Dry, but if you are after the science, then this hits the mark.

If you are looking for a story with less math and physics then try what is in many peoples opinion the best book ever written on the subject, the pulitzer prize winning 'Making of the Atomic Bomb' by Richard Rhodes. I read it first. One of my top ten all time on any subject.
Sermak Light
Without doubt, this is the finest account of the technical aspects of the race to produce an atomic weapon at Los Alamos before the end of WWII. As other reviewers have noted, you don't need a degree in physics to read this book; however, you do need endurance.
"Critical Assembly" is a plodding, straightforward, chronological narrative of how talent and materials came together to make a bomb; a techno-nerd's dream. There is no attempt to delve into politics and ethics, make the characters "come alive" with interesting personal glimpses, or place it all in historical perspective. For that you need Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb."
Still, the authors did not write "Critical Assembly" to be a riveting historical novel soon to be a blockbuster movie. For technical information, it is the best single book available. To understand why anyone would care how the atomic bomb was made, let alone plod through the technical details, read "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" first.
Venemarr
Hoddeson, Henriksen, Meade & Westfal
Critical Assembly, ISBN 0-521-54117-4
Cambridge University Press, 2004

The title of the book has double meaning. It denotes the critical assembly of uranium 235, or plutonium 239 to start the chain reaction in an atomic bomb. But it also points to the »critical« assembly of numerous scientists, engineers, technicians and US Army personnel. The authors described how in a race with time all these experts were pursuing a single objective: to make an atomic bomb before the Nazi scientists could (supposedly) do it. Each of them was working in his or her special field, but only a handful of the privileged ones knew they were making an atomic bomb. The resolute, competent and mercilessly hard driving conductor of this huge orchestra was General Leslie R. Groves; its concertmaster was the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. To carry on this parable, the musicians - with rare exceptions - were obliged to play their scores with plugged ears. The conductor allowed them to know only their own score, because the whole composition named MED (Manhattan Engineering District) must not become known before the end of the war.

Though the fission was discovered in Germany (in the winter 1938/39) many Jewish scientists, being suppressed under Nazi-fascist reign, had left Europe as soon as they could. Among them A. Einstein, H. Bethe, R. Peierls, C. Fuchs (unfortunately also a soviet spy), N. Bohr, E. Teller, E. Wiegner, L. Szilard, E. Fermi and J. von Neumann, to name just the most important ones, arrived in the USA, where they contributed essentially to MED. When Groves began leading the project, it started advancing like an avalanche. What in 1939 was deemed to be a science fiction has become a real bomb within just six years.

To quench the thirst for information after the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 6, 1945, Henry de Wolf Smyth of MED had prepared the book "Atomic Energy for Military Purposes". In it the most basic knowledge of how an atomic bomb works, as well as the enormous effort of MED to make it, was made public. But in its preface Groves attached a latch, telling us this is all, which can be released at the time; take it, do not ask any further questions - or else! Though many books published after this date had disclosed this or that, the book "Critical Assembly" has definitely broken that latch by disclosing many minute details, which were classified almost up to present time. In the book we learned how the scientists and other personnel, forced to work under the circumstances as outlined above, starting with micrograms of highly enriched uranium 235 and (up to then non existent) plutonium, have gradually extended the production up to kilogram quantities, determined the critical masses, avoided the nuclear explosion, and had managed to build two combat-ready weapons, which ended the war. The details will certainly be interesting for physicists as well as for engineers of chemistry, electronics, metallurgy, mechanics, ordnance and some others. For the layman the minute descriptions would be mostly too difficult to understand and the same might be valid even for professionals, if the matter lies too far outside of their specialty. But as a whole, the book is a great work of reference, with an enormous collection of interesting data, not known so far. On top of all this the book has 74 pages of references.

Unfortunately, the Department of Energy was too thorough when removing many "sensitive data" from the original text. Initially numerous details became gradually scarce when the discussion advanced toward August 1945. However, some common sense and simple calculations, based on the data published in many other books, magazines and films, converge to the following conclusions: Approximately 10 lbs (4.53 kg) of plutonium was used in the Fat Man and 70 lbs (31.75 kg) of 88 % enriched uranium 235 in the Little Boy bomb. In the uranium bomb the active material of about 3 critical masses was divided into 4 projectiles and one equilateral cylindrical target, with holes to fit the projectiles, placed inside the massive tungsten steel tamper. When three critical masses are assembled, the chain reaction starts spontaneously within about 0.1 s; so an initiator (with dangerously radioactive polonium 210) is basically not needed. Why was such data not mentioned in the book, which is full of less important details? Today nobody would waste so much precious, highly enriched uranium by not resorting to implosion, which needs less than one critical mass. On the other hand, the metallurgy of plutonium is a science in itself and so is the implosion. So why be so scared?

Peter Staric, PhD, BSEE
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Nuadora
This is a remarkable book, truly a labor of love, which details the work at Los Alamos during the A bomb development.
It is a great gift for the A bomb aficionado, the kind of reader that is likely to have a copy of 'Atom Bombs' by John Coster-Mullen in his/her library.
It reconstructs the flow of discoveries and decisions that resulted in the two very different bomb designs realized at the lab.

There has not been a more detailed, more comprehensively referenced study produced outside of possibly classified internal histories.

The true value of this book however will be to the management student.
The lab was able to juggle its limited resources spectacularly effectively, ruthlessly cutting off lines of development that had been bypassed or that could not meet required deadlines, while feeding less obvious but promising approaches such as implosion that eventually became critical to the success of the mission. This example of a combination of effective goal setting and informed scientific leadership remains a model for managing large scale efforts with many unknowns.
Critical Assembly fills in the gaps and lays out the story, without neglecting the impact of the different personalities that were all drawn together to make it happen.
There is plenty of material here for construction of a really useful management training tool, which would be another worthwhile contribution from the Los Alamos effort.
Jake
Good book and good price