Essay Example on What were the obstacles Mr J Robert Oppenheimer encountered during his research work








Jhonny Zhao Thesis What were the obstacles Mr J Robert Oppenheimer encountered during his research work on the Manhattan project Although the atomic bomb dropped in Japan was an amazing feat but the development of such a powerful bomb was not easy Mr Oppenheimer was a physicist in charge of the study Obstacles he encountered in the development process were enormous but perseverance he finally overcame one after another Some of the major obstacles the limited existing research data time constraints lack of resources a highly confidential project thousands of colleagues nationwide coordination communication government bureaucracy between the remote study sites required significant financial support from the government security and the applicability of new technologies and their consequences The science of nuclear fission and fusion in early 1940 was still very young Scientists knew little about quantum mechanics these details at scientific meetings had not been fully discussed Mr Oppenheimer American theoretical physicist also known as the father of the atomic bomb He knew that in theory fission and fusion force were enormous His rough estimate which was roughly equivalent to 3000 20000 tons of TNT But he did not know how to use it properly in practice

This meant that he did not know the scope of the impact of such destructive power he seriously worried the explosion could lead to a global destruction of mankind He did not want to use it as a murder weapon to kill civilians In his view there were still many studies were needed in this area before the application of this technology However he was under tremendous pressure to compete with other countries such as Germany and Japan Japan had built a research institute in Manchuria and planned to use small nuclear bomb at the time of the invasion to equip kamikaze aircraft US President Roosevelt also wanted to speed up the end of the war in order to avoid further damage Therefore the President gave the green light to launch this innovative idea to create a bomb called the Manhattan Project as the most lethal weapon accelerate our enemies demise The expected delivery date only a few years Mr Oppenheimer was appointed in charge of the atomic bomb research and design Before he could even begin producing bomb making materials he must address several initial challenges He needed a large amount of radioactive material such as uranium plutonium bismuth graphite and bismuth is rare in this country Soviet Union could supply these resources but the US certainly did not want to divulge the secret plans to the Soviet Union Also Mr Oppenheimer s wife and brother were members of the Communist Party of the United States

Therefore he had to deal with any information in a strictly confidential manner Even with all the necessary materials he also had to build several large scale production reactors like the 250 megawatt reactor without raising public attention In order to keep the plan as a top secret he had also to determine several research sites to secure implementation of the project Finally he identified 30 different locations to collaborate on this project For a quick start to speed up the whole process he needed to direct abundant financial support from the government but government bureaucracy sometimes slowed or even stopped the entire process Due to time constraints the government finally was willing to invest millions of dollars on unproven and unknown processes which were completely confidential In mid 1944 the monthly expenditure of the project went up to 100 million money tracking these responsibilities on accountability was very difficult and the current war production of bombs goal was still no guarantee Security was another important consideration due to the use of dangerous highly radioactive plutonium Uranium was much lower than the plutonium active elements so it was less dangerous Apart from the radioactive materials staff also handled a variety of other toxic chemicals the use of high pressure gas and hazardous liquids high voltage operation and experiments involving explosives

To address all these challenges the Manhattan Project implemented strict security measures at manufacturing facilities and the establishment of the entire medical and health departments to study the effects of radiation on workers including radiation counters and reactor safety technology When the newly developed bomb was finally tested in New Mexico they were hard to pick a location for bombing our enemy If the mission failed the bomb would be salvaged by our enemy we would lose the secret to our enemy Even if the task was successful what would happen after the bombing No one knew the impact of this incredible bomb In fact they underestimated the consequences because they claimed that the radiological impact of 3 500 feet would be fatal and within an hour after the bombing in the area would be safe In fact Nagasaki plutonium bomb fell on the city of 6 7 square kilometers and by the end of 1945 more than 74 000 people were killed During the bombing ground temperature reached 40 degrees Celsius radioactive rain poured down Moreover they could not imagine long term effects of the bombing A few years after the explosion the incidence of leukemia survivors increased significantly About ten years later the survivors began at a higher speed with thyroid cancer breast cancer lung cancer and other cancers Women suffered an explosion during pregnancy had higher rate of miscarriage infant mortality Children exposed to radiation in the mother s womb were most likely to suffer from mental retardation and impaired growth Mr Oppenheimer had no fear of the above challenges eventually he overcame most of the obstacles the project was completed on time leading to an end of the horrible World War II

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