Ciro Santilli
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Figure 50. A weapons-grade ring of electrorefined plutonium, typical of the rings refined at Los Alamos and sent to Rocky Flats for fabrication. Source. The ring has a purity of 99.96%, weighs 5.3 kg, and is approx 11 cm in diameter. It is enough plutonium for one bomb core. Which city shall we blow up today?
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Video 86. "Los Alamos From Below" by Richard Feynman (1975) Source. Feynman describing his experience at Los Alamos. This timestamp describes the computing aspects, but the entire talk is amazing. Transcript: http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/34/3/FeynmanLosAlamos.htm. Particularly interesting is the quote about how they used the typist secretary pool to emulate the IBM machines and debug their programs before the machines had arrived. This is exactly analogous to what is done in 2020 in the semiconductor industry, where slower models are used to estimate how future algorithms will run in future hardware.
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Ciro Santilli is mildly obsessed by nuclear reactions, because they are so quirky. How can a little ball destroy a city? How can putting too much of it together produce criticality and kill people like in the Slotin accident or the Tokaimura criticality accident. It is mind blowing really.
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More fun nuclear stuff to watch:
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