What is the Atomic Bomb?

The first thing to do before entering fully into the meaning of the term atomic bomb is to know the etymological origin of the two words that shape it:

-Bomb is a term that comes from Latin. In particular, it derives from “bombus”, which can be translated as “loud noise”.What is the Atomic Bomb

-Atomic is a word that derives from the Greek. It means “relative to a very small matter that can not be divided” and is the result of the addition of the prefix “a-“, which means “without”; the word “I took”, which is synonymous with “court”; and the suffix “-ico”, which can be translated as “relative to”.

Einstein said that if a hypothetical Third World War was fought with nuclear weapons, the Fourth would be made with stone axes.

This was a clear reference to the destructive power of this ingenuity, which was born at the end of the Second World War, and which still today stands as a threat over our heads, being able to destroy the known world.

A nuclear bomb is an explosive device that uses the power of the reactions of atomic and subatomic particles to unleash a power equivalent to many more kilos of conventional explosive material.

This is what an atomic bomb sounds like (Original sound)

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The term

The term bomb has several meanings: in this case, we are interested in its meaning as the explosive element that has a mechanism that allows defining when the explosion will take place.

Atomic, on the other hand, is an adjective that qualifies that related to atoms: the particles composed of a nucleus that is surrounded by electrons and that can not be divided through chemical processes.

These definitions allow us to understand what the concept of an atomic bomb refers to. It is a particular pump that suddenly releases a huge amount of energy from the fission of plutonium or uranium atoms or the fusion of hydrogen isotopes.


The energy of these pumps comes from nuclear reactions. In these processes, in which atomic nuclei and sub-atomic particles are transformed and combined, a lot of energy can be released.

An atomic bomb is a weapon of mass destruction. The only nation that used these bombs in a war and against the civilian population was the United States in 1945 when it attacked two cities in Japan: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is estimated that, with the attack perpetrated with these two atomic bombs, the US military caused about 246,000 deaths at the time and in the following weeks.

The uranium

The operation of an atomic bomb consists of the bombardment of neutrons against a heavy fissile or fissile core, which may be plutonium-239 or uranium-235. The impact of the neutrons against the nucleus generates a nuclear chain reaction.

In the same way, it should not be overlooked that historically what was known as the Manhattan Project existed. In particular, it was a scientific project carried out by the United States along with Canada and the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

The objective of this initiative was none other than to develop an atomic bomb before it was achieved by Nazi Germany.

In many research centers, such as the Manhattan Engineering District, the same one was held that had important figures like General Leslie Richard Groves or the physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer.

That without forgetting other figures who participated in one way or another as Ernest Lawrence and Niels Böhr.

The first atomic test that was carried out was named Trinity and was carried out in the desert of Alamogordo (New Mexico).

The characteristics of the explosion of an atomic bomb are an area of enormous devastation compared to the size of the artifact, an intense heat capable of melting materials, and a radiation that causes the duration of the pernicious effects of the explosion.

There are several types of nuclear bombs:

The uranium

In which a uranium ball is added to another amount of uranium to cause critical mass.

The plutonium

in which the ball of material is surrounded by the conventional explosive that compresses it until it reaches the critical mass.

The thermonuclear or hydrogen

Which is based on the fusion of hydrogen atoms, and not in the fission of atoms of heavy elements as in the two previous cases, although in reality, these devices end up using mixed techniques?

Neutron bomb

It also uses a mixed fusion/fission technique, but with a higher percentage of the fusion even than the previous one. With these, you get a more destructive impact and a much shorter duration of radiation.

It is more destructive for living beings and less for infrastructures such as buildings, since it generates radiations that affect living tissues, and less polluting in the long term.

The race to get the atomic bomb started during World War II, and all the opponents were involved in it.

The race to get the atomic bomb started during World War II, and all the opponents were involved in it.

Thanks to the advances in theoretical physics that occurred between the beginning of the 20th century and the interwar period (and, mainly, in the decade of the 20s), the theoretical basis of this device were well established.

While we all know that the first – and so far only – country to use an atomic bomb on the ground against an enemy has been the United States, with the launches of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both this country, the USSR, Japan, and Nazi Germany were among the first to seek its attainment.

As far as the USSR is concerned, they were always a step back from the US until the post-war period, and much of their early research was based on espionage to the tasks of Americans thanks to philo-communist scientists.

On August 6, 1945, the bomb called Little Boy, the first nuclear device in history, exploded in Hiroshima.

Subsequently, other nations have developed their own nuclear weapons, in a race in which, despite attempts to stop it, continues today

The last and most recent member of the atomic club is North Korea, which conducted the first test in 2006.

There have also been speculations about Ukraine, a country that was part of the former USSR, but more than being able to produce its atomic weapons, it is said that they could have or have had one inherited from the communist giant.

A great book I recommend is this.

Film operation Testómica

It may interest you :

What is science?

Curiosities of the Dollar

Albert Einstein, 7 Things You Didn’t Know

What is the UN? – Definition, Concept, History for Schools.

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