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Posts Tagged "nuclear weapons"

Cross-Check

Obama’s nuclear policy takes one step forward and two steps back

In 1983, a Columbia University undergraduate named Barack Obama wrote an article, “Breaking the War Mentality,” for the school publication Sundial. Obama expressed the hope that someday humanity would abolish nuclear weapons and create a “nuclear free world.” Obama never abandoned that dream. The Nobel Foundation awarded him its Peace Prize last December in large [...]

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Observations

New Mexico Wildfire Remains a Threat to Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos fire

The uncontrolled 60,000-acre Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico, which began June 26, is raging near Los Alamos National Laboratory, but the lab says that its nuclear materials are protected. Los Alamos was the birthplace of the atomic bombs that the U.S. developed during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project and dropped [...]

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Observations

No new nukes: Obama’s nuclear posture points to caution

ivy-mike-nuclear-bomb-mushroom-cloud

The U.S. will cut its nuclear weapons stockpile, use such weapons only as a deterrent, and pump more money into the infrastructure to create and sustain such weapons, according to the new nuclear weapons policy released today by the Obama administration. "Preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is now at the top of America’s nuclear [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Why the world needs more Leo Szilards

Leo Szilard (1898-1962) Image: Wikipedia Commons

The body of men and women who built the atomic bomb was vast, diverse, talented and multitudinous. Every conceivable kind of professional – from theoretical physics to plumber – worked on the Manhattan Project for three years over an enterprise that spread across the country and equaled the US automobile industry in its marshaling of [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

The many tragedies of Edward Teller

Edward Teller (January 15, 1908 - September 9, 2003)

Edward Teller was born on this day 106 years ago. Teller is best known to the general public for two things: his reputation as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” and as a key villain in the story of the downfall of Robert Oppenheimer. To me Teller will always be a prime example of the [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Why we need to stop comparing every Big Science project to the Manhattan Project

K-25 gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge, one of the biggest engineering projects in history (Image: MPHPA)

Alex Wellerstein who is a historian of nuclear science has some cogent thoughts that feed into what has long since been a pet peeve of mine: the tendency for politicians, the media and scientists themselves to compare every large-scale government science or technology enterprise to the famed Manhattan Project. As Wellerstein demonstrates in his article, [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Richard Rhodes on the need for nuclear power

Richard Rhodes – who has spent his entire career looking at the lives and work of men and women who wrested energy from the atom – has a cogent rumination on the need for nuclear power, stimulated in part by Robert Stone’s noteworthy new documentary Pandora’s Promise which I previously reviewed here. His thoughts have [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

JFK, nuclear weapons and the 1963 Peace Speech: How far have we come?

Exactly 60 years ago on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy made an impassioned plea for peace to the world on the campus of American University in Washington D.C. The speech was carefully crafted, copies were shown to only a few trusted advisors for comment, and Kennedy’s ace speechwriter Ted Sorensen worked on it [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Leo Szilárd, a traffic light and a slice of nuclear history

Yesterday marked Leo Szilárd’s one hundred and fifteenth birthday. Leo Szilárd: peripatetic Hungarian genius, imperious habitue of hotel lobbies, soothsayer without peer among scientists. Among twentieth century scientists Szilárd stands out as the great prophet who anticipated both the advent of Nazism and the coming of the nuclear arms race. Part of the group of brilliant [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

On the uselessness of nuclear weapons

Two foundational beliefs have colored our views of nuclear weapons since the end of World War 2; one, that they were essential or at least very significant for ending the war, and two, that they have been and will continue to be linchpins of deterrence. These beliefs have, in one way or another, guided all [...]

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