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Nuclear weapons: Difference between revisions

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<tt>(12:08:06 PM) elizabeth warren: that'll get you on a list or three</tt>
<tt>(12:08:06 PM) elizabeth warren: that'll get you on a list or three</tt>


''WarGames'' taught us that computers and nuclear weapons are more interesting than dogs, parents, or Ally Sheedy (and more trustworthy than feelings). A computer program is simple interactions, tightly arranged, performed billions of times in the blink of an eye. A nuclear bomb is basically the same thing, but you can only run it once. Getting started in nuclear hobbyism is easier (and more fun!) than you likely think.
Getting started in nuclear hobbyism is easier (and more fun!) than you likely think. ''WarGames'' taught us that computers and nuclear weapons are more interesting than dogs, parents, or Ally Sheedy (and more trustworthy than feelings). A computer program is simple interactions, tightly arranged, performed billions of times in the blink of an eye. A nuclear bomb is basically the same thing, but you can only run it once.


Your modern criticality fetishist has a rough time of things. Since 2001-09-11, great stocks of (unclassified) information have been purged from government sites. Various fellow travelers (see the [[Nuclear weapons#See Also|See Also]] section) maintain partial archives. Relevant conference proceedings (compressed matter physics, etc) get snapped up on used book sites quickly. My recommendation is a thorough grounding in nuclear engineering and the relevant mathematical methods (which you'll come across in the NucE books), at which point you'll be well-equipped to daydream about your own neutron initiator ideas and radical implosion symmetries.
It's true that your modern criticality fetishist has a rough time of things. Since 2001-09-11, great stocks of (unclassified) information have been purged from US government sites. Various fellow travelers (see the [[Nuclear weapons#See Also|See Also]] section) maintain partial archives. Relevant conference proceedings (compressed matter physics, etc) get snapped up on used book sites quickly. My recommendations are to follow ''The Making of the Atomic Bomb'' and ''The Los Alamos Primer'' (see [[Nuclear weapons#See Also|below]]) with a few nuclear engineering and physics texts, at which point you'll be well-equipped to daydream about your own neutron initiator ideas and radical implosion symmetries. Don't be afraid to search through Russian papers; once you need to (you'll know when), it's all mathematically-dense enough that you'll follow along (the words are mainly just transitions anyway).


All is not lost. The boys at LANL and similar places haven't been able to do criticality experiments since the CTBT's passage, so everyone's on a level (simulation-only) playing field. Today's supercomputer is tomorrow's slide rule; an HP48GX will certainly get you through spherically symmetric detonations, and a few GPUs form a fine platform for running your own hydrocodes. Relevant shockwave theory, metallurgy and nuclear constants have long existed in the public domain. Neutron sources sufficient to grill <sup>233</sup>U from sheets of <sup>232</sup>Th in one's backyard are advertised in every issue of <i>Nuclear News</i> or <i>Physics Today</i>, while high-quality timing elements can practically be extracted from microwaves. The 2009 recession has left plenty of teenagers unemployed, and you can surely put them to work doing something.
All is not lost. The boys at LANL and similar places haven't been able to do criticality experiments since the CTBT's passage, so everyone's on a level (simulation-only) playing field. Today's supercomputer is tomorrow's slide rule; an HP48GX will certainly get you through spherically symmetric detonations, and a few GPUs form a fine platform for running your own hydrocodes. Relevant shockwave theory, metallurgy and nuclear constants have long existed in the public domain. Neutron sources sufficient to grill <sup>233</sup>U from sheets of <sup>232</sup>Th in one's backyard are advertised in every issue of <i>Nuclear News</i> or <i>Physics Today</i>, while high-quality timing elements can practically be extracted from microwaves. The 2009 recession has left plenty of teenagers unemployed, and you can surely put them to work doing something.