The Bomb, a Life
RUSI Journal, Jun 2004, Vol. 149, No. 3
By Gerard DeGroot
Gerard DeGroot, Professor of Modern History at St Andrew’s University, Scotland and author of The Bomb, a Life (Jonathan Cape Publishers), winner of the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature 2004, writes that human conception takes place when a sperm from the male penetrates an egg from the female. The fertilized egg, a single cell, splits, forming into two cells, then four, then sixteen. Nine months of exponential growth result in the birth of a baby. In physics, nuclear fission takes place when a piece of Uranium 235 (the sperm) enters, at bullet speed, another piece (the egg). Atoms are split, releasing neutrons which then split other atoms – first one, then two, then four, then sixteen. The chain reaction goes through about eighty generations until it can no longer be contained. A few milliseconds after conception, an explosion is born and 100,000 people are killed. What follows are scenes from the life of The Bomb. Nothing that man has created is bigger than The Bomb. It’s not just a weapon, but a tool for re-shaping the earth – in a physical, political and philosophical sense.
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Further Analysis: Technology, Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Strategy, Global Security Issues