The City University of New York Instructor: Prof. L.Godenko
Physics 1040 Office 2157(B) Ingersoll
The Making of the Atomic Bomb E-mail: LGodenko@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Syllabus Office hours: Th. 11:30-2:30 p.m.
and by appointment
Lectures: Sec.MW12 Mo, Wed. 12:50 -2:05, Room 3143 Ingersoll
Sec. TR3 Tu, Th. 3:40 - 4:55, Room 3143 Ingersoll
Textbook: The Making of the Atomic Bomb, E-book Project
Additional Reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Simon&Shuster,2012 or other editions. ISBN 978-1-4516-7761-4.( in references R.R)
Materials on the Blackboard
Welcome to the course. In short this course covers the history of the development of the atomic bomb. It turned out that the scientific breakthroughs in atomic and nuclear physics during 19-th and the first part of 20-th centuries led to development of atomic bomb. We will focus mostly on the role that scientists, science and technology had in developing and resisting nuclear weapons. The course will be taught primarily from the point of view of the history of the science involved. Also the students will see the need for the integrated perspective in order to understand how science, political history, ethical values and personal motivations are interconnected in this story.
This course is a lecture-driven course. That means that, although there is a book, it is indented as supportive. The agenda of the course is determined by what is covered in lecture. There will be times when the lecture material goes beyond what is covered in the book. This means that you cannot afford to be absent from lectures. In case you were absent, try such resources as internet, rewrite notes from fellow peers, read supplemental sources, make appointment with me.
Grading: Attendance – 5%
First and Second lecture exams -15% (each)
Final exam - 20%
Presentations - 15%
Assignments - 20%.
Have a pleasant and productive semester.
Lecture Outlines (Subject to adjustment)
|Week||Material for references|
|1||Atomic theory in the 1800’s. Dalton’s law of multiple proportions. Development of the molecular theory of gases. Loschmidt, and the first estimation of molecular sizes and masses. Gas discharge tubes||Topic 1, Ch.2 from R.R.|
|2.||Years 1895-1900: Experiment with gas discharge tubes and photographic emulsions. Cathode rays. J.J.Thompson and discovery of electron. Thompson’s model of atom The discovery of X- rays and radioactivity. The nature and the effects of ionizing radiation.||Topic 2, Ch.2 from R.R|
|3.||Years 1900-1910: Marie and Pierre Curie and the search for radioactive elements. Ernest Rutherford and classification of types of ionizing radiation. The discoveries of radioactive transmutation, half-lives and isotopes. Frederic Soddy and the first estimates of energy from radioactive decay vs. energy from chemical reactions.||Topic 3, Ch.2 from R.R|
|4.||The nuclear atom 1911-1920. Alpha scattering and the discovery of the nucleus. Nuclear sizes vs atomic sizes. Niels Bohr and the structure of the nuclear atom. Moseley’s work with x-rays and the significance of the atomic number. World War I and its effect on scientific progress.||Topic 4, Ch.3, Ch.4 from R.R|
|6.||Years1920-1930: The invention of the mass-spectrometer. Atomic masses, the reinterpretation of isotopes, mass defects. E=Mc2 and nuclear binding energies.|
Ch.6 from R.R
|7.||Years 1920-1931continued: The discovery of nuclear reactions. The study of gamma rays. The Coulomb barrier and limitations on nuclear studies and alpha particles. Accelerators.|
Ch.6 from R.R
|8.||Years 1932-1934: The discovery of the neutron. Reinterpretation of nuclear structure. The rise of Hitler in Germany and the exodus of German-Jewish scientists. Leo Szilard and the concept of a nuclear chain reaction. Discoveries of the positron and artificial radioactivity.|
|9.||Years 1935-1938: Enrico Fermi’s discoveries in neutron activation and neutron moderation. Bohr’s development of the liquid drop model of the nucleus. Mussolini and Hitler, and Fermi’s decision to leave Italy. The puzzle of the neutron bombardment of uranium. The annexation of Austria and Lise Meitner’s exodus from Germany.|
|10||Years 1938-1939: Otto Hahn’s discovery of nuclear fission. Interpretation of fission by Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch; spread of the news to U.S. and initial reactions and experimental verifications. Bohr’s interpretation of the significance of U-235.|
|12||Years 1939-1942: The discovery of neutrons from fission. The awakening of the Germans to the potential consequences of fission. Einstein’s letter to FDR. The discoveries of neptunium and plutonium. Pearl Harbor. The entrance of the US into the war and its effect on fission research. The Chicago pile.|
Topic 10, Ch.10,11,12
|13.||Years 1942-1945: General Leslie Groves, Robert Oppenheimer, and the Manhattan Project. Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Los Alamos. The separation of U-235 and the production of plutonium. The development of the implosion lens.||Topic 11, Ch.15 from R.R|
|14.||Year 1945: The “Dragon” experiments on critical mass. The death of President Roosevelt. The Trinity test. Harry Truman and Potsdam. The decision to use the bomb. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Final perspectives on war in the 20-th century, nuclear proliferation, and the challenge of nuclear terrorism.||Topic12, Ch.16,17,18,19|