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The Los Alamos Primer
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION BY RICHARD RHODES
PREFACE BY ROBERT SERBER
The Los Alamos Primer
1
Object
2
Energy of Fission Process
3
Fast Neutron Chain Reaction
4
Fission Cross-sections
5
Neutron Spectrum
6
Neutron Number
7
Neutron Capture
8
Why Ordinary U Is Safe
9
Material49
10
Simplest Estimate of Minimum Size of Bomb
ll
Effect of Tam per
12
Damage
13
Efficiency
14
Effect of Tamper on Efficiency
15
Detonation
16
Probability of Predetonation
17
Fizzles
18
Detonating Source
19
Neutron Background
20
Shooting
21
Autocatalytic Methods
22
Conclusion
ENDNOTES
APPENDIX I: THE FRISCH-PEIERLS MEMORANDUM
APPENDIX II: BIOG
Index

About the Author

Robert Serber is Emeritus Professor of Physics at Columbia University. Richard Rhodes, author most recently of Farm (1989) and A Hole in the World (1990), won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1987), all published by Simon and Schuster.

Reviews

"The Primer is an extraordinary document. Perusing it gives one a sense of being there at the start of the Los Alamos project. In its 24 pages, Serber both adroitly summarized the state of existing knowledge and laid out a prescient road map for the work ahead and the challenges that might arise. . . .mandatory reading for anyone interested in the origins of nuclear weapons." * Physics Today *
"...educational and designed to help the naive reader. . . .[the] definitive, extensively annotated reprint of the five bomb-physics lectures given in April 1943 by Robert Serber for new arrivals at Los Alamos." * American Physical Society Journal *

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