Post archives

2014
July 2014
14
News and Notes
There's never a right time to lose a secret H-bomb document. But for John Archibald, there might not have been a worse time than early January 1953.
11
Redactions
Richard Feynman's FBI file contains one very pointed, personal, anonymous attack. But can we figure out who wrote it from the context?
June 2014
27
Meditations
How important was Albert Einstein's work or personal intervention to the making of the atomic bomb? Not as important as most people think.
 6
Meditations
Most of Feynman's stories about the bomb are about his hijinks. But what did he really do on the Manhattan Project, and what did he think about the bomb?
May 2014
23
Visions
What did Oppenheimer mean when he famously said, "Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds"? A foray into the Bhagavad-Gita.
16
News and Notes
I'm going to be changing jobs this summer, starting as a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in the NYC area.
16
Meditations
Leo Szilard conceived of the nuclear chain reaction 5 years before fission was discovered. What was he really thinking, and why didn't anyone listen?
April 2014
18
Redactions
A review of Eric Schlosser's new book, Command and Control, and thoughts on why the history of nuclear weapons accidents is hard to write.
March 2014
28
Visions
What color was the box they kept the plutonium core in? A small digression on the fact that we can't see past events like those who lived through them did.
12
Visions
A remarkable Army map from 1945 superimposes the effects of the ruinous firebombing campaign against Japan on the continental United States.
 7
Visions
A rare find: science fiction giant John Campbell wrote about dirty bombs and U-235 in the summer of 1941.
February 2014
28
Meditations
What is the legacy of the Castle Bravo nuclear test? How do we assess the human costs of the arms race?
14
Redactions
In a short story published in 1949, Leo Szilard contemplated how well he and President Truman would fare at a war crimes tribunal. His conclusion: not well.
 7
Visions
The original, unedited, raw, silent footage of the Nagasaki bombing.
January 2014
31
Visions
How the wonderful, terrible display of the first Soviet hydrogen bomb changed Andrei Sakharov's views on the responsibility of scientists.
17
Redactions
Los Alamos wasn't the first time that scientists retreated to secret labs.
 6
Redactions
The year in nuclear history scholarship.
2013
December 2013
27
Redactions
Why did three major DOE historical databases go offline in late 2013?
23
Meditations
By looking at the trends of yield-to-weight ratios, we can peel back the veil just a tiny bit on nuclear weapons design trends.
13
Visions
Should films of nuclear detonations be put in art galleries?
 6
Meditations
What airburst physics tells us about nuclear targeting decisions, and why it took so long for the NUKEMAP to support arbitrary burst heights.
November 2013
 8
Meditations
A portrait of a year in flux, when the possibilities of a new order moved from the limitless to the concrete.
 1
Redactions
How many people did it take to make the atomic bomb? Probably many more than you realize.
October 2013
25
Redactions
The 37th President had a strange relationship with nuclear weapons — he didn't think they mattered very much.
23
Visions
"At the first sign of any unusual behavior inside the box he was to abandon the automobile and run as far away from it as his legs would carry him..."
11
Redactions
Who told Werner Heisenberg that an atomic bomb might be dropped on Dresden? Plus: another curious wartime leak.
 4
Redactions
If the first atomic bomb had been ready in 1944, would it have been used against the Nazis? Surprisingly, Roosevelt may have been interested in doing it.
September 2013
27
Redactions
New details about a nuclear weapons accident makes it clear how close we came to an accidental, full-yield, megaton-range detonation.
20
Redactions
How did an article about the work at the Los Alamos laboratory come to be published in March 1944?
13
Redactions
Are there any indications that the Germans penetrated into the secrecy surrounding the American atomic bomb project during World War II? Not many.
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