I realized recently that many young people have only heard “Ground Zero” in connection with the attacks of 9/11/2001. They don’t know that this term did not originate with 9/11. Before that if you said, “Ground Zero” it meant the location where an atomic bomb was detonated.
Although the phrase “Ground Zero” may have been used before, the first time it was seen in print was 1946. In an article about the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan, the New York Times read: “The intense heat of the blast started fires as far as 3,500 feet from ‘ground zero’ (the point on the ground directly under the bomb’s explosion in the air).” – link
Some conspiracy theorists believe that a new form of nuclear weapon was in fact used to bring down the WTC towers due to the molten metal that reportedly remained under the fallen towers for over a month.
The president of Tully Construction of Flushing, NY, said he saw pools of “literally molten steel” at Ground Zero. Bollyn also cites Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, MD, as having seen molten steel in the bottoms of elevator shafts “three, four, and five weeks” after the attack. ” – link
Obviously whatever melted the steel were not your father’s atomic bombs in the basements of the towers because the radiation and the initial explosion would have been detected.
According to Dr. John H. Lienhard the idea of the bomb originated in Germany in 1939″when Lisa Meitner published a paper with her nephew Otto Frisch explaining the release of energy by the fission of uranium.”
… in 1940, Frisch wrote the English military to tell them it’d take only one kilogram of uranium 235 to make a bomb. U-235 is a hard-to-separate isotope that makes up less than one percent of natural uranium. Frisch underestimated how much of it we’d need, but only by a factor of ten. Heisenberg also made the calculation and got 13,000 kilograms. The huge difference in estimates has to do with the way chain reactions work: A neutron is so tiny and fast moving that it travels a long distance in uranium before it chances to hit an atom and knock more neutrons loose. If it has to travel, say, a full meter, you need a huge chunk of U-235 to get a chain reaction. If it only has to travel, say, one centimeter, then a small block of U-235 will do the trick. Heisenberg, brilliant theoretician, overestimated the path of travel. Experimentalists Meitner and Frisch did far better; and Frisch’s note sent America on the way to building a bomb. Heisenberg’s estimate so discouraged the German High Command that they never did undertake serious bomb-building. Back in that English country house, Heisenberg heard about the second bomb over Nagasaki. So he quickly figured out how his calculation should’ve gone in the first place. Then he told the English he could’ve built a bomb all along, but he and his colleagues had been anti-Nazi. – uh.edu
We know this story now ( only declassified in 1992 ) because Werner Heisenberg, of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle fame, was secretly recorded by British microphones when the BBC announced that an atomic bomb had fallen on Hiroshima with a blast equal to 2000 ten-ton bombs. At first Heisenberg blurted out that such a bomb would be impossible. No one had enough uranium to do the job. So, we American’s probably owe our lives to Heisenberg’s miscalculation and the German High Command’s belief in him.
When America created the atomic bomb, we knew very little about radiation. The A-bomb itself could have turned out to be MUCH more dangerous than it was. Scientists at the time were not certain the chain reaction would ever stop. In other words, the very first atomic bomb might have destroyed the earth… but they tested it anyway. That point is important to understand: A Military experiment which could have destroyed all life on Earth has at least once taken place under the cloak of National Security.
Twelve years after the first 20 kiloton atomic bomb test, July 16, 1945, there was this 2 kiloton air blast test (among others):
On July 19, 1957, five men stood at Ground Zero of an atomic test that was being conducted at the Nevada Test Site. This was the test of a 2KT (kiloton) MB-1 nuclear air-to-air rocket launched from an F-89 Scorpion interceptor. The nuclear missile detonated 10,000 ft above their heads.
A reel-to-reel tape recorder was present to record their experience. You can see and hear the men react to the shock wave moments after the detonation.
Image: The Trinity explosion, 16 milliseconds after detonation. The fireball is about 600 feet (200 m) wide. The black specks silhouetted along the horizon are trees.
That weird atomic fireball is the stuff of nightmares, isn’t it? Let’s not forget and may we never see one again.
Trinity was the code name of the first detonation of a nuclear device. This test was conducted by the United States Army on July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, at the new White Sands Proving Ground, which incorporated the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range. (The site is now the White Sands Missile Range.) The date of the test is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age.
… At 05:29:45 local time (Mountain War Time), the device exploded with an energy equivalent to around 20 kilotons of TNT (90 TJ). It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet (3 m) deep and 1,100 feet (330 m) wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated “brighter than daytime” for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as “being as hot as an oven” at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. The shock wave was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12 km) in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.” Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture:
In the official report on the test, General Farrell wrote, “The lighting effects beggared description. The whole country was lighted by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lighted every peak, crevasse and ridge of the nearby mountain range with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined…”
News reports quoted a forest ranger 150 miles (240 km) west of the site as saying he saw “a flash of fire followed by an explosion and black smoke.” A New Mexican 150 miles (240 km) north said, “The explosion lighted up the sky like the sun.” Other reports remarked that windows were rattled and the sound of the explosion could be heard up to 200 miles (320 km) away. …
… According to the US Department of Energy the immediate effects of the blast killed approximately 70,000 people in Hiroshima. Estimates of total deaths by the end of 1945 from burns, radiation and related disease, the effects of which were aggravated by lack of medical resources, range from 90,000 to 166,000. Some estimates state up to 200,000 had died by 1950, due to cancer and other long-term effects. – wiki
I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb… It is an awful responsibility which has come to us… We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.
—President Harry S Truman, August 9, 1945
… There are only two atomic nuclei whose properties allow for chain reaction fission to occur, and the Manhattan Project eventually used both. One fissionable nucleus is the uranium-235 isotope. This is found in natural uranium at a 1 percent concentration; the rest is uranium-238 which will not fission. To make an atomic bomb the U235 has to be highly “enriched”—the U238 has to be almost completely removed. The Manhattan Project used the differential diffusion of uranium fluoride to accomplish this separation. Current technology uses high-speed centrifuges.
The other fissionable nucleus is plutonium-239. This is not to be found in nature at all and is created in a “breeder” nuclear reactor. In this, partially enriched U235 is allowed to fission in a controlled manner and the neutron flux is absorbed by a U238 blanket. The U239 generated undergoes a few relatively-fast rearrangements and ends up as the long-lasting plutonium-239 nucleus. The plutonium can be separated by simple chemical means from the uranium.
Both the natural-uranium and manufactured-plutonium methods of making a bomb were developed during the Manhattan Project. The Hiroshima bomb was uranium-235; the Nagasaki bomb was plutonium-239. In both bombs, the chain-reaction fission process converted about a gram of matter into the energy of the explosion, a graphic proof of Einstein’s E=mc² equation.