14 votes

Why did it take an army of physicists, working on a huge complex, so long to produce a working nuclear device, while it seems so easy in theory?

One of the big issues was isotope separation. Extracting uranium 235 from uranite was a huge problem that took quite an effort to overcome. In fact, just before the war started Niels Bohr believed ...
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11 votes

Why did it take an army of physicists, working on a huge complex, so long to produce a working nuclear device, while it seems so easy in theory?

(1) Weapon-grade uranium is hard to make - it took almost a year to separate 64 kg of weapon-grade uranium for the bomb in the Y-12 Oak Ridge facility, so "Little boy" bomb was not even tested (they ...
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8 votes

Why did it take an army of physicists, working on a huge complex, so long to produce a working nuclear device, while it seems so easy in theory?

You should do some preliminary research before asking such a question. It was not so easy, even in theory. They did not know anything about Plutonium when they started, it simply did not exist. They ...
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8 votes

Why was the V-2 not a solid rocket, and/or what is the scientific history of solid rockets?

Unlike the short-range rockets which are all solid fueled, making a solid-fuel long range rocket is very challenging. The main technical problem is that the fuel block which is very large can develop ...
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8 votes

To what extent were the scientists involved in the Manhattan project aware of the goals?

The sources are abundant and easy to find, for example Leslie Groves, Now it can be told. A history of Manhattan project (written by a project leader from the military side), Robert Jungk, Brighter ...
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7 votes

Nobel Prize work derived from Manhattan Project research?

Seaborg received a Chemistry Nobel in 1951 for exploring the chemistry of transuranic elements. That presumably would include his work with Plutonium during the Manhattan project. I'm pretty sure ...
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  • 544
7 votes
Accepted

Which German scientists had their Nobel Prizes seized during World War II?

This is not a definitive answer, bu I did not find any proof that the Nazis had prohibited any German scientists from keeping a Nobel Prize. The story of how their medals were kept safe breaks into ...
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7 votes

Why didn't Germany succeed in building a nuclear bomb in second world war?

On my opinion, there are two important reasons: a) German government did not press the matter. Nobody convinced it that the thing is plausible and important. (In the US there was a lobby who could ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Was the United Kingdom the only faction in the Second World War that used Operations Research?

Operations Research is a somewhat eclectic term. The British coined and promoted it, so in the early stages they were the only ones using it even if others were doing similar things under different ...
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  • 67.3k
7 votes

What new physics was discovered or needed as a result of the Manhattan Project?

A side note first - when dealing with non-physicists, they will generally regard quantum mechanics as the end-all-be-all of physics, the coolest weirdest stuff. So, it is not surprising that your ...
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6 votes

Was the United Kingdom the only faction in the Second World War that used Operations Research?

In World War II, Andrey Kolmogorov did what you might call operations research, in Russia, for air defense problems. His wikipedia bio article says During World War II Kolmogorov contributed to ...
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  • 1,932
6 votes
Accepted

Why were British WWII computing machines and their projects destroyed after the war ended?

To keep secret the level of expertise in cryptanalysis so future opponents wouldn't put effort into improving their own codes. Probably pointless because it was inevitable that some details of ...
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5 votes

Why did it take an army of physicists, working on a huge complex, so long to produce a working nuclear device, while it seems so easy in theory?

I can only recommend R. Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb once more and very strongly. It is also instructive to note that although Leo Szilard [sp] was inspired to understand and fight for the ...
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4 votes

To what extent were the scientists involved in the Manhattan project aware of the goals?

The website http://manhattanprojectvoices.org is full of interviews with participants in the Manhattan project. Some interviews address exactly the question asked here. For example, here are two ...
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  • 339
4 votes

To what extent were the scientists involved in the Manhattan project aware of the goals?

New scientific and engineering personal arriving at Los Alamos were given a series of lectures about the project, the relevant physics and the proposed designs of the weapons. These were later ...
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  • 544
3 votes

Does war speed up technological advancements and research?

In physics, the four most important developments had nothing to with war or the preparation of war: Newtons calculus and his theory of gravitation, Maxwells equations, Einsteins theory of special and ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Does war speed up technological advancements and research?

Not only war but preparations to war, military-related research had very large influence on the development of science and technology. Of the recent examples I mention GPS, Internet, space ...
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2 votes

Why didn't Germany succeed in building a nuclear bomb in second world war?

By accident I stumbled upon a recent article about the topic in a german science journal: http://www.spektrum.de/magazin/warum-es-hitlers-atombombe-nie-gab/1427403 It is based on a the following ...
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  • 241
2 votes

Was 'Operation Paperclip' controversial at the time?

According to one history that I've read, denazification was done more thoroughly by the former Soviet Union than by the Western powers, although mainly on class lines. The Weatern Powers were ...
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2 votes

Scientific Collaborations during World War

The most famous example of a collaboration between scientists/mathematicians during World War 2 is the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), an intelligence organisation which had the task of ...
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  • 2,004
2 votes

Why was André Weil in Finland?

Since no answers are forthcoming, I'll write up what I've found online without digging too deep. In summary, I get the following impression: He wanted to leave France to escape the war, primary by ...
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  • 161
2 votes

First Recognition of the Atom Bomb

You might want to look up answers to: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/241706/first-atomic-powered-transportation-in-science-fiction[1] And: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2742/...
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1 vote

First Recognition of the Atom Bomb

I read that column, and noticed there is no mention of fission, only fusion: Nuclear energy is incomparably greater than the molecular energy which we use today. The coal a man can get in a day can ...
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1 vote

Why didn't Germany succeed in building a nuclear bomb in second world war?

As regards the Soviet's quick progress on the bomb please read Dark Sun which is Richard Rhodes second book on the making of the atomic bomb. Early on he describes the wholesale shipping of plane ...
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  • 11
1 vote

Why didn't Germany succeed in building a nuclear bomb in second world war?

Given enough time and resources, the Germans would have produced a bomb. What held them back was firstly that they were persecuting a large section of their existing scientific and engineering ...
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