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on 28 August 1999
If you want to understand the bomb, there's no substitue for this book. I have a degree in physics with a decade of dust on it and found this presentation to be just within my understanding. If you don't know calculus and freshman physics, you're probably not going to understand it very well. If you do, it's fascinating.
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on 30 October 2010
Bob Serber gave the induction lecture to physicists arriving at that now legendary place 'Los Alamos'. This book is a summary of how he went about explaining to an audience of newly arrived physicists, the task which confronted them all - how to build an atomic bomb.Most of this book is highly technical but if you can afford to buy it do so, if only for two pages and a few lines which explains in everyday terms exactly what destruction an atomic bomb can bring about.From the last paragraph of page 36, to the last but one paragaph of page 38, Serber gives a graphic and totally authorative account of what the several effects of exploding an atomic bomb means in practical terms. It is all there in full and logical sequence.The blast,the overpressure,the heat of the fireball,the radius of "severe blast damage",the spead of the shock wave and the temperature generated in a mere three tenths of a second. Of all the astounding and horrifying features it is his 'clinical' description of the temperature of the fireball and the energy it delivers- ("1,200 times the intensity of sunlight")- through which anything combustible bursts into flames within a radius of 1.13 miles, which stays in the imagination.If you understand what these two pages, written in concise and everday language means, you will understand the meaning of nuclear warfare.Many thousands of pages have been devoted to the atomic bomb, in hundreds of books, but this graphic account in a mere two pages outdoes them all.Apart from this information it is revealed by Hirschfelder who worked on the 'project from the begiining that Kaus Fuchs was made editor of the 25 volume secret Los Alamos Encyclopedia and thereby broke compartmentalisation and was able to give the Russians the most vital information of all-Gratis.
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on 23 March 1999
An amazing look inside the most secret US Government project of this century. From an outside point of view, it might be easy to assume the the scientists who developed the "bomb" had all the answers. As it turns out, they made plenty of mistakes, but most of them cancelled each other out or were just not important.
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on 8 October 2013
I was about to give three stars then had a thumb through it again. It's not bad at all. Interesting coverage of what is, after all, a "historical document".

I guess for good reasons there is a lack of detail in places, but the accompanying text explaining some of the work is not bad.

Worth a read for the scientifically curious...
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on 13 December 2016
A very good read. Contains a lot of information not in other texts. Some reviews complain that it contains some maths, but the maths is really basic that a child could understand. Full of historical nuggets.
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on 24 January 2015
One for the geeks. A copy of Serber's actual notes so it's a piece of history and a basic physics lesson into nuclear weapons. Not the most entertaining of reads but if this is your thing then it's worth getting
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on 15 April 1999
The lecture notes are well annotated. The appendices are very helpful in understanding the urgency of the time. All in all, a good book.
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on 12 January 1998
Physics, science, and derivative technologies often develop so rapidly that the context of creation is lost.
It is 1943 and we have been summoned to a remote mesa in New Mexico - a site isolated by distance and by time. We have been given a book and a mandate.
How much was known and how much was challenge? Only this book tells.
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