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Igniting the light elements : the Los Alamos thermonuclear weapon project, 1942-1952

Author: Anne Fitzpatrick; Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Publisher: [Los Alamos, N.M. : Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1999.]
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1998.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Anne Fitzpatrick; Los Alamos National Laboratory.
OCLC Number: 76786558
Notes: Vita.
Abstract.
Author's abstract: Adapting Thomas P. Hughes's "large technological systems" thesis, I focus on the technical, social, political, and human problems that nuclear weapons scientists faced while pursuing the thermonuclear project, demonstrating why the early American thermonuclear bomb project was an immensely complicated scientific and technological undertaking. I concentrate mainly on Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory's Theoretical, or T, Division, and its members' attempts to complete an accurate mathematical treatment of the "Super"--The most difficult problem in physics in the postwar period -- and other fusion weapon theories. Although tackling a theoretical problem, theoreticians had to address technical and engineering issues as well. I demonstrate the relative value and importance of H-bomb research over time in the postwar era to scientific, politician, and military participants in this project. I analyze how and when participants in the H-bomb project recognized both blatant and subtle problems facing the project, how scientists solved them, and the relationship this process had to official nuclear weapons policies. Consequently, I show how the practice of nuclear weapons science in the postwar period became an extremely complex, technologically-based endeavor.
"LA-13577-T thesis, issued July 1999."
Description: xi, 328 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Other Titles: Los Alamos thermonuclear weapon project, 1942-1952
Responsibility: Anne Fitzpatrick.

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