When a special type of uranium is pushed together quickly with neutrons,its nucleus splits into two pieces, releasing energy. When this happens, it also frees otherneutrons, which then collide with the nearby uranium atoms, making the atoms split. If there isenough uranium, this process of splitting atoms keeps happening until all the uranium atomshave been split. This only takes a fraction of a second to occur. The results of this process are anuclear chain reaction that releases amounts of energy never thought possible to be created inone explosion. The special type of uranium needed for the a-bomb was U-235.
This uranium only existsin tiny amounts in uranium that is dug up from the earth. Getting the U-235 from the uraniumdug from the ground was a very hard and expensive procedure, so there wasnt a lot of U-235. In fact, no one was sure on how to get U-235 in large amounts. Some scientists believed that theamount of U-235 need to make an a-bomb was about two tons, so it would be useless to try andbuild an atomic bomb because it would cost too much money and by the time the first atomicbomb was built, World War II would be over.
But later on, a scientists realized that the a-bombcould be made with a lot less than two tons of U-235, so now Germany and the U. S. were in arace to make the first atomic bomb. Atomic bomb research started in the U.
S. when fears of German physicists creating anatomic bomb from uranium. Since World War II was going on and the U. S. was againstGermany, the U.
S. feared that the German would create this bomb and deploy it on the U. S. ,killing thousands of innocent Americans. Another thing that brought the U.
S. to try to make itsown atomic bomb was a letter to President F. D. Roosevelt from Albert Einstein stating that itwould be probable to create an atomic bomb if the U. S.
picked the right person to head theproject ( you will see who this person is later on in my research paper). So the U. S. thendecided to try and create an atomic bomb before the Germans had a chance to make one and useit against the U. S.
The first people who started to research the atomic bomb were not funded by thegovernment, so their findings were limited. When the U. S. finally started doing researchthemselves, they also started to fund others in the U. S.
who wanted to help. The U. S. createdmany places for research which remained secret to U.
S. citizens that were not involved with theresearch. But when one of the physicists researching the atomic bomb realized that the mostefficient way to work more closely and in secret was to setup one single lab, with living placesaround it, where all the scientists, physicists, and all the other people in the project could liveand do research. The physicist who came up with this idea was J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was chosen for the project not because he was interested in the atomic bomb, hewas chosen because he was widely recognized as an intelligent, pioneering physicists.
He wasalso chosen to run the Los Alamos lab by Colonel Leslie Groves, despite his lack of leadershipskills. Groves reason for choosing Oppenheimer to run the Los Alamos lab was we (are) notgoing to find a better man. When the Los Alamos lab was built, all the people involved with the atomic bomb,physicists, mathematicians, chemists, engineers, skilled metalworkers, and every type of personneeded to create such a complex weapon, were moved there, along with their families. Prettysoon, 120,000 people were .