How a truck driver figured out specs for the atomic bomb


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man who labored as a trucker made a 1,300-mile drive is probably unremarkable. However John Coster-Mullen’s vacation spot, and motivation for heading there, had been uncommon. As NPR studies, Coster-Mullen in 1993 determined he may capitalize on the looming 50th anniversary of the atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by making small replicas to promote.

However after realizing the at the moment accessible variations had what he recognized as deviations from the true design, he determined to go to Los Alamos, NM, to view the replicas held in a museum there.

He by no means ended up promoting his fashions, however he did pen a 431-page e book that NPR describes as “principally full specs for America’s first nuclear weapons”; as David Samuels defined in a 2008 New Yorker profile, the US authorities has saved these specs beneath wraps.

To reach at his personal, Coster-Mullen pored over declassified images (he insists not one of the information he has come by was leaked); interviewed machinists, scientists, and engineers; attended reunions of the servicemen who dropped the bombs; analyzed bolts and screws; and far more.

Among the many extra: Upon arriving in Los Alamos, he discovered the world of the museum he needed to entry closed for renovations; he in the end gained entry and spent hours together with his son measuring bomb casings.

The result’s the e book Atom Bombs: The Prime Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fats Man, which Samuels wrote has a “mind-numbing” however “unusually seductive … accumulation of element. … I felt that I may virtually assemble an atomic weapon myself.” And that is the purpose.

“It’s so straightforward,” Coster-Mullen, now 71, tells NPR. “The arduous half is creating the nuclear gas.” (The unique US nuclear assessments really tousled Kodak movie.)

This text initially appeared on Newser: How a Truck Driver Figured Out Full Atomic Bomb Specs

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