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nuclear bombs

How Nuclear Bombs Work
Image: iStockphoto.com/Bratovanov

How Nuclear Bombs Work

It could fit in your living room, and blow up a city. And that was the world’s first nuclear bomb, used in 1945. Some of today’s “thermonuclear” weapons are 1000s of times more powerful.

How do these terrifying devices release the energy in atoms? How do they go on killing after they’ve exploded? And how were scientists going to use them to explore space? Get the details on "nukes."

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Sun vs. Atomic Bomb

Sun vs. Atomic Bomb

At its core, the Sun behaves much like an exploding thermonuclear bomb, only a very, very, very large one. More...

Video
SciShow
The World’s Biggest Bomb

The World’s Biggest Bomb

A terrifying nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union after World War II led to the biggest manmade explosion of all time. More...

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PBS
Declassified Report: Two Nuclear Bombs Nearly Detonated in North Carolina

Declassified Report: Two Nuclear Bombs Nearly Detonated in North Carolina

When a plane carrying nuclear weapons broke into pieces over North Carolina in 1961, only one thing stood in the way of disaster: a small mechanical malfunction. More...

Article
CNN
Fission and Fusion

Fission and Fusion

Fission is the splitting of atoms, while fusion is the combining of atoms. Both produce vast amounts of energy. How? This video makes fission and fusion about as clear as they can be. More...

Video
Cassiopeia Project
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Photos from the Ruins

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Photos from the Ruins

These pictures show the destruction caused by the two small nuclear bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. More...

Images
Life magazine
J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967)

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967)

Oppenheimer was called the father of the atomic bomb. Yet he strongly opposed the hydrogen bomb and had mixed feelings about his work. More...

Profile
American Experience/PBS
Nuclear Blast Damage

Nuclear Blast Damage

What if a 1-megaton nuclear bomb exploded 5 miles from you? What if a 25-megaton bomb exploded 20 miles from you? Learn about "zones of destruction" here. More...

Interactive
American Experience/PBS
Operation Downfall: Victory in the Pacific

Operation Downfall: Victory in the Pacific

Follow the events and thinking that led the US to use atomic bombs against Japan in 1945.
More...

Article
American Experience/PBS
The Grandest Rocket Ever

The Grandest Rocket Ever

In the 1950s and '60s, respected scientists were planning to build a huge spaceship that would take 100 astronauts to Saturn. Its source of propulsion: nuclear bombs. More...

Article
Discover Magazine
The Peace Doves

The Peace Doves

Your challenge in this game? Use the clues to find countries that currently possess nuclear weapons, then use "Peace Doves" to disarm them. More...

Game
The Nobel Foundation
Types of Nuclear Bombs

Types of Nuclear Bombs

Atomic bombs can kill people by the hundreds of thousands, or even the millions. But hydrogen bombs can be thousands of times more powerful. More...

Article
NewsHour/PBS
Which Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Which Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Despite the end of the Cold War, the US and Russia still have thousands of nuclear bombs between them. A few other countries have the weapons, too. More...

Interactive
BBC

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