Nuclear weapons

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Basic Physics

Fission Weapons

Criticality - subcritical - supercritical - prompt criticality - critcial insertion time - insertion (gun-type) method - spontaneous fission - implosion method Liquid drop model - superdeformation - hyperdeformation (put these in physics?) Th233 - U233 - U235 - U238 - Pu249 - Pu240 - transuranics Enrichment levels - enrichment methods - degradation - downblending Neutron sources - prompt neutrons - delayed neutrons

Fusion Weapons and Boosting

Delivery Systems

Missile Defense

See Also


The following textbooks range from introductory to advanced material, and all require some basic physics and associated mathematical sophistication. For obvious reasons, textbooks on actual weapon design, testing, engineering and maintenance are difficult to come across. There's a wide variety of excellent books on political theory of nuclear weapons, which I'm neither qualified to rate nor interested in becoming expert with; see blogs like Arms Control Wonk and Total WonKerr for more information, or your local university's political science department.

There's pretty much an endless line of popular-audience books about nuclear weapons, especially their early design and the characters behind them (I've got about a dozen biographies of J. Robert Oppenheimer alone). These require no particular scientific or mathematic background. Of them, the best include: