Hello friends, 16 July year 1945, around 5:30 in the morning. A bomb blast takes place in the desert of America’s new Mexico state, but it is not a common bomb blast. This is the first time that a nuclear bomb is being tested. This nuclear test is given the code name Trinity and scientist J Robert Oppenheimer was leading this entire project.
Oppenheimer is shocked to see this bomb blast. He had expected the size of this explosion to be around 0.3 kilotons of TNT. But actually this blast was fifty times more dangerous than this. 15 to 20 kilotons of TNT. Such a fierce heat came out of this explosion that the tower of steel present there evaporated.
Oppenheimer is so shocked to see that the shock wave will be felt up to 160 kilometers away and the mushroom cloud that came out of the explosion went up to 12 kilometers in the sky, that a line from the Bhagavad Gita comes out of his mouth.
Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds. How did he develop the nuclear bomb? Was Oppenheimer a hero or a villain and how did he feel when millions of lives were lost with the help of his creation.
Let’s know in today’s Blog. Julius Robert Oppenheimer is called the father of the atomic bomb. He was the director of the Manhattan project which made the world’s first nuclear weapons.
Oppenheimer’s Early Life:
The story begins with his childhood, he was born in the year 1904 in New York City in a German Jewish family and since childhood he was considered a child genius. At the age of only ten, he was studying high level physics and chemistry and had a lot of knowledge of mineralogy, the property of minerals.
He was knowledgeable to such an extent that at the age of twelve, he was called to lecture at the Mineralogical Club of New York. Later, in the year 1922, when he went to study at Harvard, he completed the four-year degree in three years. Did it He was on top in his class. Majored in Chemistry and had knowledge of many subjects, physics, philosophy, literature and even eastern religion. But out of all these subjects, he realized in Harvard that his real passion was physics.
Later, in the year 1927, at the age of only 23, he did this Ph.D. But there was also a dark side hidden behind this genius. His friends said that Oppenheimer had self-destructive tendencies. He was a chain smoker and was a victim of depression. At one time he told his brother I need physics more than friends. His attention was only and only in studies and he did not keep much news about what is going on in the rest of the world.
Why did Oppenheimer create the atomic bomb?
Until the early 1930’s, when the rise of Adolf Hitler is seen in Germany, they gradually become more politically aware. Due to Hitler’s dictatorship, many German scientists were leaving Germany and running away to America. There were many big names in this list such as Albert Einstein, John Von Neumann, who pioneered the modern computer.
Leo Szilard who will play an important role in our story. Hans Bethe, who discovered fusion in the stars, Edward Teller, who is called the father of the hydrogen bomb, and Enrico Fermy, who will play another important role in our further story. All these scientists were mostly German Jewish and because Oppenheimer himself came from a German Jewish family.
When he started seeing the atrocities on Jews, then his interest in politics started increasing. This is his quote from the year 1936. I began to understand how deeply political and economic events affect people’s lives. I felt a need that I too should participate in this community. Impressed by the left wing ideology, he went to many political meetings and donated money to many labor unions and striking farm workers.
September 1939 Hitler invades the country of Poland, due to which world war 2 begins. America was not interested in getting involved in this war. But still America was preparing for the worst. Actually what happened was that in August 1939, a month before the start of the war, Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard wrote a letter to American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In this letter, he warned the American President that Hitler is working on nuclear weapons, he may be successful in making this extremely powerful bomb, so America should be prepared.
On reading this letter, the American President set up an advisory committee on uranium, immediate action was taken, a team of scientist and military officials was formed whose job was to research on the potential of uranium whether uranium can be made into a weapon. After the findings of this committee, the American government started funding Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard to research how nuclear chain reaction works?
Oppenheimer when the bomb he designed :
How can different isotopes of uranium be separated out? Actually the thing is friends that the uranium which is found naturally on the earth is uranium 2 3 8 isotope. Less than one percent of uranium actually has u 2 3 5 isotopes and only this 2 3 5 isotopes could be used to make bombs. The first challenge before the science scientist is to find a way to convert uranium 2 3 5 into uranium 2 3 8.
But the scientist who was working on this project was told not to tell anything to Albert Einstein because the American government was afraid that Albert Einstein’s thinking, ideology, is very left wing, maybe he is a potential threat. The risk came out. By the way, do you know friends, Albert Einstein was one of those people who used to sleep ten hours a night.
He knew the importance of sleep and used to take strategic naps in his day. Compare this with today’s social media motivational gurus who tell you that time should not be wasted in sleeping. Fraud stories are told that how successful people sleep only for five to six hours at night.
it’s all lies. The real thing is friends that regular and sufficient sleep is very important for every human being. With few exceptions, everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep to stay in top health, especially if you want to maximize your productivity and happiness.
At this time Oppenheimer was doing his own research on nuclear fission, along with Edward teller and other scientists. December 1940, apart from uranium 2 3 5 Isotope, another radioactive element is found which scientists believe can also be used in making nuclear weapons.
The name of this element is Plutonium. 11 October 1941, American President sends a message to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that both countries should collaborate in all for these atomic developments. It was not even two months that 7th December 1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and America officially enters World War 2.
A state a war has existed between the United states and the Japanese empire, American president Roosevelt declares that America will become part of the Allied powers which are fighting against Germany and Japan.
But one thing becomes clear at this point of time that the scientific mission was to develop nuclear weapons. Now it had turned into a military mission. America spends 2.2 billion dollars in this one project. Take Inflation into account or it is equal to 24 billion dollars of today’s time. Almost two lakh crore rupees. American military had an engineering wing called army cops of engineers.
It used to make things like ports and airfields for the army. Their involvement is approved by President Roosevelt in June 1942. Now the office of their north Atlantic division was in Manhattan in New York City and when they got the responsibility to make nuclear weapons, they made their headquarters on the eighteenth floor in the same building.
How did he develop the nuclear bomb?
These headquarters were named Manhattan Engineer District and from this point of time the Manhattan project officially begins, the date was August 13, 1942, and the next month, September 17, Colonel Leslie Richard Groves is appointed head of this project and takes this decision.
That Oppenheimer be appointed as the leader of the design of the atomic bomb. A secret location is decided to keep this project undercover. Oak Ridge in the state of Tennessee. This city is also called the secret city. Because the whole city is built here only for this project. Thousands of scientists, researchers and workers are moved to this city and their only job is to convert uranium 2 3 8 to uranium 2 3 5.
It is to be understood here that uranium 2 3 8 is not very fissionable. Chain reaction cannot happen so that a bomb can be made. It was very important to extract Uranium 2 3 5 here. Only uranium 2 3 5 can undergo a chain reaction due to which there was a need to make it. Plan was to try out four different ways to make uranium 2 3 8 to 2 3 5.
Gas diffusion, centrifuge, electromagnetic separation and liquid thermal diffusion. After testing out these four different technologies, two technologies prove successful to some extent. Electromagnetic separation and gases diffusion. In electro magnetic separation, we use a large magnet to separate uranium 2 3 5 from uranium 2 3 8 and in this gas diffusion, uranium hexafluoride gas is passed through a porous membrane in which light u 2 3 There are 5 molecules, they pass through.
But the molecules of u 2 3 8 are more heavy then they get filtered out. Apart from this, work was also going on on the production of plutonium in Washington at a different location.
Now plutonium is actually produced only from uranium 2 3 8. When an isotope of hydrogen is bombarded with uranium 2 3 8, plutonium is produced. Later it is known that plutonium is actually more radioactive and more fissionable as compared to uranium 2 3 5. Now apart from these two locations, efforts were being made to find a third location as well.
Project Y is such a location where work will be done to make and design these bombs. General Groves wanted a very remote remote location for this so that the project could remain secret and Oppenheimer knew exactly such a location. There is a place where Oppenheimer happily spent his summers, in the midst of hilly and beautiful lands, Pecos valley of New Mexico state. After setting all these locations, only one obvious thing was left to do.
Practically do a chain reaction test out. Till now everything was going on theoretically. At least someone should prove that this is the whole concept of atomic bomb, it may or may not be possible. 2nd December year 1942, scientist Enrico Fermi does the first successful practical experiment here.
A chain reaction is run in a Squash Court of the University of Chicago, with the help of which a bulb lights up. A quickly cracked their instruments. They had a chain. The first human being a nuclear chain reaction. Now coming to this point of time, General Groves has been very impressed with Oppenheimer’s ability. They wanted to make him the director of project Y.
But some senior members of the military suspected Oppenheimer. The same doubt that was on Albert Einstein. Many of Oppenheimer’s friends, his wife, in fact his brother, were all staunch communists.
He himself was greatly influenced by the left wing ideology. America was afraid that this is communist ideology, it may be against their country, but despite these concerns, General Groves personally supports Oppenheimer and says that this project cannot be done without Oppenheimer.
He is essential for this project and due to this, Oppenheimer is made the lead of this project on July 20, 1943. Oppenheimer’s expertise was needed in the calculations of critical mass to make an atom bomb. Critical mass is basically a minimum amount of mass of uranium 2 3 5 or plutonium, which is required to cause a chain reaction, to sustain a chain reaction.
Minimum how much quantity we have to use these radioactive elements so that a chain reaction can happen and a bomb blast can happen. Today it sounds easy but at that time there were many unknown factors. We hardly knew anything about the properties of uranium 2 3 5.
Plutonium 2 3 9 was actually discovered only in the year 1940 and by the end of the year 1943 only 2 milligrams of plutonium could be produced. That’s why America was developing 2 atom bombs here.
The first bomb which was based on uranium 2 3 5 was named Little Boy. The mechanism of this bomb is basically a gun type design in which masses of 2 uranium 2 3 5 are taken which are all critical. is less than the critical value and they are rapidly combined with each other. With this combination, critical mass is reached and a fission chain reaction is seen, which causes an explosion.
The second bomb was the plutonium bomb. Which was using plutonium 2 3 9 and its name was Fat Man. There were more difficulties in its designing. Here that gun type design cannot be done because if the masses of 2 plutonium were combined with each other, then it would have reacted very fast and before reaching the critical mass, this vision reaction would happen. would have ended A plutonium gun bulb, not exploit.
Now here scientist create a different design for plutonium bomb. The mass of Plutonium should be kept under high pressure and density in a spherical structure. A sub-critical mass of Plutonium was kept inside a hollow sphere and explosives were used outside this sphere so that an implosion could be seen in that mass of Plutonium, when the explosive exploding outside would put high pressure on Plutonium and this critical mass would reach. Would have done This concept was named implosion method.
Did Oppenheimer regret making the atomic bomb?
Now the scientist already knew about the gun method, but this implosion method was explained theoretically for the first time. Oppenheimer believed that it is necessary to test out before actually putting it in the bomb. General groves said earlier that we cannot get such things tested because we have produced so much plutonium.
But Oppenheimer said test is very important here, so general groves finally agreed and then friends the Trinity test is done. I had talked about this in the beginning of the video. A test nuclear bomb is detonated in the desert of New Mexico. This test bomb is named Gadget. It contained about 13 pounds of plutonium.
With the help of a steel tower, the scientist hangs this gadget 100 feet in the air and on July 16, 1945, at half past five in the morning, this bomb is detonated. As I said, this bomb turned out to be more powerful than what Oppenheimer had expected.
That steel tower completely evaporated. After the bomb blast, a mildly radioactive green colored glass was formed, which was named Trinitite. It was only after seeing this explosion that some lines of Bhagavad Gita came out from Oppenheimer’s mouth.
Actually Oppenheimer was also a Sanskrit scholar and he had completed the study of Bhagavad Gita in its original form. He describes the Bhagavad Gita as one of the most influential books of his life. Not even a month had passed since the Trinity test that on August 6th, 1945, the Little Boy bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
If this was not enough then after 3 days this plutonium Fatman bomb is also dropped on Nagasaki city. Albert Einstein’s first reaction on hearing this news was “Woe is me”. It was a sad statement. Albert Einstein is believed to have also said that man kind invented the atomic bomb but no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.
Oppenheimer had expressed great happiness after the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He believed that I wish it could be used against Nazi Germany and also against Hitler. But when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Oppenheimer was left in shock. On August 17, he himself went to Washington to meet the secretary of war.
Give the letter written by you with your own hand. He directly said that he wants to ban nuclear weapons. He felt so much regret that what he did, did he bring technology into the hands of humans and gave it here? Oppenheimer considered the first bomb dropped on Hiroshima as a necessary evil.
But now they started getting scared that what would happen in the future? What will different countries do with this technology in the coming time? Meanwhile, in April 1945, American President Roosevelt had passed away.
Harry Truman becomes the next American president. About two months after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Oppenheimer gets a chance to meet President Truman. After meeting the President, he directly says this on his face. I have blood on my hands and President Truman gets so angry hearing that he starts abusing him.
Tell your secretary to get this Oppenheimer out of this office and I don’t want to see his face ever. Oppenheimer later worked with the US atomic energy commission. To prevent more such nuclear attacks, he wanted that a control should be made on nuclear weapons.
In Son 1949, when President Trumann approaches the Commission with the idea that we should also make a hydrogen bomb, Oppenheimer strictly opposes it. But this opposition does not have much benefit because America later develops a hydrogen bomb and also tests it in the year 1952.
Oppenheimer’s nuclear bomb speech:
Edward Teller was the scientist who helped in making this hydrogen bomb and he is called the father of the hydrogen bomb. Today, due to this resistance of Oppenheimer and because of his left wing ideology, his job would have been taken away from him.
For the rest of his life, he came into the academic profession and used to give lectures all over the world. Even though he was nominated for Nobel prize 3 times but he did not win even one, but in 1965 Oppenheimer died due to throat cancer at the age of only 62 years.
Because there was no surprise because he was a fierce chain smoker throughout his life. Today there are 9 such countries which have nuclear weapons. India, Pakistan, China, USA, France, UK, Israel, Russia and North Korea. But the good thing is that no other nuclear weapon has been used again in the last 80 years. See you in the next Blog, thanks a lot.
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