Jun 01, 2013 11:26 PM GMT
Unfortunately and sadly, I suspect there will be a nuclear event in a major city in my lifetime...
In 1964, the US picked three young physics students who had gotten their PhDs in physics but hadn't had any specific education on weapons. They were given a salary, a basic support staff, and all publicly available information on nuclear weapons. They were then asked to design a nuclear bomb. The United States wanted to know if a small number of bright people, with sufficient motivation and the knowledge that such bombs were possible, could come up with the right design. No one had to wait too long. In 1967, the PhDs presented the officials of the Nth Country Experiment with a design for, what all the established bomb designers agreed, was a working atomic bomb. The design was a little over-fussy, but it was functional and, with a larger staff, or a little experimentation, it wouldn't take long to refine.
The results of the Nth Country Experiment were not comforting, but they did shed light on what delays countries in building nuclear weapons. Clearly, it's not technical expertise in the design of the bomb.