The Hydrogen Bomb
The history and workings of this massive bomb
Back in 1905 Albert Einstein published his special theory of relativity. According to this theory the relation between mass and energy is expressed by the equation E=mc squared, which states that a given mass (m) is associated with an amount of energy (E) equal to this mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light (Encarta). So years later in 1939 two German chemists took this idea and applied it to a uranium atom, which would theoretically split into roughly two equal parts. To split this atom they would have to bombard it with neutrons. Later this process known as fission was perfected and explained by the by Otto Robert Frisch and Lise Meitner (Encarta). In addition to the process of splitting atoms, fission, a process of combining atoms known as fusion was being explored and would end up being capable of making the largest bombs known to man today, the Hydrogen bomb.
The process that was explained by Frisch and Meitner goes as follows. A chain reaction is started when the uranium is bombarded by neutrons this emits three things one an atom of cesium, two an atom of rubidium, and three a couple of neutrons. Since the neutrons are what are needed to start the chain reaction the ones that are emitted are what keep it going (Encarta). When a reaction starts it is very hard to stop because of the speed and the exponential growth of the reaction.
The process of fusion was also becoming widely explored. In this process instead of splitting the atom like in fission the atom would be combined with another. In doing so it was hypothesized that any extra neutrons would be expelled and create massive amounts of energy (Encarta). This theory was proven when the fist Hydrogen bomb was detonated on the island of Bikini atoll, in the Marshall Islands. The explosion that took place had the power of several million tons of TNT (Encarta). After the first of the tests on Bikini atoll the islands are still being used to do tests on.
Now that some of the testing by the U.S. have taken place and Soviet Union have done tests of there own should people worry about the effects of fallout or what might happen if the testing continues. We can only rely on what the government and chemists have to tell us.