Atomic Bomb Research Article from History Firsthand

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As the Los Alamos scientists approached the design of the uranium-based bomb, one of their main problems was how to prevent it from exploding prematurely. It takes only a small amount of uranium, about the size of a baseball, to produce a critical mass resulting in a tremendous nuclear explosion. The problem was how to bring together the critical mass at the right moment. The scientists solved this problem by using a gun barrel inside the bomb to fire a bullet of sub critical uranium at a target of subcritical uranium. The rapid impact of the two masses would make a critical mass large enough to produce a chain reaction and a nuclear explosion. The resulting bomb that used this bullet method was called "Little Boy" because its internal gun barrel made it long and thin. The gun barrel design was simple and reliable. Oppenheimer...

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This section contains 354 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Atomic Bomb Encyclopedia Article
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Atomic Bomb from History Firsthand. ©2001-2006 by Greenhaven Press, Inc., an imprint of The Gale Group. All rights reserved.