Friday, July 12, 2013

BOMB Part 3: How to Build an Atomic Bomb

So much to cover in part 3...

Scientists continued arriving... the office was a madhouse. Famous physicists were given code names: Enrico Fermi was 'Henry Farmer'. 
Like Fermi, much of Oppenheimer's scientific dream team was European, many of them Jews who had escaped from Hitler. This gave America a huge advantage in its race with Germany, but it also presented a security problem. The people of Santa Fe, a city of just twenty thousand, began to wonder why so many men with European accents were suddenly walking the streets.
Would you notice if your town had a sudden influx of European men arrive?

If you were given a code name, what would it be?

With so many construction workers working on Los Alamos, Robert Serber had to come up with a code name for the bomb. He called it 'the gadget' and the name stuck. The physics of how to get the gadget to work was to spark a fast chain reaction in uranium that would release so much energy that it would cause a massive explosion. The trick was, it had to be light and travel by plane.

Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) agents didn't trust Robert Oppenheimer. They hid microphones in his office, listened in on his phone calls, and read his mail. How would you feel if you knew you were being watched? 

Spying was ever present. Harry Gold was wearing a pair of gloves and holding a second pair in his hand; this was a signal. Klaus Fuchs was walking the streets of New York with a tennis ball... recognition that he was the spy to meet.

If you were a spy, what signals and passwords would you use? What basic rules would you follow?

The railway ferry Hydro was sunk, the Germans lost their supply of heavy water, and now Colonel Carl Eifler was tasked with the dirty work of kidnapping German physicist, Werner Heisenberg. Things were definitely taking on a strictly need-to-know basis.

Back in the U.S., Theodore Hall began making plans of his own. Do you think, like Hall did, that an American monopoly on atomic weapons would have been dangerous?

Let's get some vocabulary words out of the way, just in case they have been confusing:

physicist (pg.12), radioactive (13), particles (13), electrons (13), nucleus (13), neutrons (13), protons (13), theoretical physics (13), uranium (pg.15), atom (15), fission (pg.20), blitzkrieg (20), tradecraft (pg.22), Communist (pg.23), AlliedPowers (pg.33), Axis Powers (33), agent cultivation (pg.39), Manhattan Project (pg.48), KGB (pg.60), intelligence (pg.61), mesa (pg.67), chain reaction (pg.71), comrades (pg.78), demolition (pg.79), saboteurs (pg.87), heavy water (pg.89) ‘the gadget’ (pg.98), tamper (pg.99), Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (pg.101), censors (pg.121), U-238 and U-235 (pg.123) plutonium (pg.133), monopoly (pg.135)

The History Channel has a great short video on World War II Spy Strategy... watch double cross and double agent strategy.

Want to learn to be a spy? Check out this WikiHow: 5 Ways to be a Spy Kid.

Next... Read Part 4: Final Assembly by July 26th. It's the final push, 13 short chapters that include Trinity, Little Boy, and the Enola Gay. 

No comments:

Post a Comment