Author: James Mahaffey
Publisher: Pegasus Books
The latest investigation from acclaimed nuclear engineer and author James Mahaffey unearths forgotten nuclear endeavors throughout history that were sometimes hair-brained, often risky, and always fascinating. Whether you are a scientist or a poet, pro-nuclear energy or staunch opponent, conspiracy theorist or pragmatist, James Mahaffey's books have served to open up the world of nuclear science like never before. With clear explanations of some of the most complex scientific endeavors in history, Mahaffey's new book looks back at the atom's wild, secretive past and then toward its potentially bright future. Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far flung Pacific islands and trees that were exposed to active fission that changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion doesn't exist. And who knew that radiation counting was once a fashionable trend? Though parts of the nuclear history might seem like a fiction mash-up, where cowboys somehow got a hold of a reactor, Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the reader in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may one day hold the key to solving our energy crisis or sending us to Mars.
Author: James Mahaffey
Publisher: Open Road Media
A “delightfully astute” and “entertaining” history of the mishaps and meltdowns that have marked the path of scientific progress (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Radiation: What could go wrong? In short, plenty. From Marie Curie carrying around a vial of radium salt because she liked the pretty blue glow to the large-scale disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, dating back to the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters. In this lively book, long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy James Mahaffey looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns. Every incident, while taking its toll, has led to new understanding of the mighty atom—and the fascinating frontier of science that still holds both incredible risk and great promise.
Author: William McKeown
Publisher: ECW Press
Was the world's first fatal nuclear accident -- the 1961 explosion of a SL-1 military test reactor in Idaho -- the result of a crime of passion? Was the disaster promptly covered up to protect the burgeoning nuclear industry? Idaho Falls documents one of America's best-kept secrets and investigates the question of conspiracy.
Author: James Mahaffey
The latest investigationfrom acclaimed nuclear engineer and author James Mahaffey unearths forgotten nuclear endeavors throughout history that were sometimes hair-brained, often risky, and always fascinating."
Author: James Mahaffey
Publisher: Pegasus Books
“Persuasive and based on deep research. Atomic Awakening taught me a great deal."—Nature The American public's introduction to nuclear technology was manifested in destruction and death. With Hiroshima and the Cold War still ringing in our ears, our perception of all things nuclear is seen through the lens of weapons development. Nuclear power is full of mind-bending theories, deep secrets, and the misdirection of public consciousness, some deliberate, some accidental. The result of this fixation on bombs and fallout is that the development of a non-polluting, renewable energy source stands frozen in time. Outlining nuclear energy's discovery and applications throughout history, Mahaffey's brilliant and accessible book is essential to understanding the astounding phenomenon of nuclear power in an age where renewable energy and climate change have become the defining concerns of the twenty-first century.
Author: Ron Rosenbaum
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Each chapter of the How the End Beginsdeconstructs the dangers we face. Rosenbaum begins by showing all the ways the post-Cold War order that tried to impose a set of rules of averting a nuclear mistake has fallen apart. In chapter 2, he describes the journey of one Bruce Blair, once a missile launcher, whose experience inside the nuclear establishment left him alarmed about its vulnerabilities. Chapter 3 looks at nuclear war from the Russian side, using the architect of that nation's early warning system as a focus. Chapter 4 looks at how the Bush Administration helped pushed the world closer to a nuclear conflict by rewriting the rules of deterrence. Chapter 5 describes all the ways the international incidents we have seen - Georgia, the Israeli raid on Syria, the Iranian moves - are evidence that some governments have shown a willingness to move closer to the brink of a conflict involving nuclear weapons. The rest of the book looks at the broader nuclear issues facing the world in the 21st century: What is deterrence? Who can claim to have it? How many nuclear weapons can we live with? Is zero really possible? In other words: Can we undream the nightmare?
Author: Garrett M. Graff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The shocking truth about the government’s secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil—even if the rest of us die—is “a frightening eye-opener” (Kirkus Reviews) that spans the dawn of the nuclear age to today, and "contains everything one could possibly want to know" (The Wall Street Journal). Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold first Helicopter Squadron, codenamed “MUSSEL,” flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the Presidential motorcade, most people assume the squadron is a travel perk for VIPs. They’re only half right: while the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens were left to fend for themselves. “In exploring the incredible lengths (and depths) that successive administrations have gone to in planning for the aftermath of a nuclear assault, Graff deftly weaves a tale of secrecy and paranoia” (The New York Times Book Review) with details "that read like they've been ripped from the pages of a pulp spy novel" (Vice). For more than sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday strategies to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms—from its potential to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing-747 jet flying high over Nebraska. Garrett M. Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound, called Raven Rock, just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built for its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents and nationalize industries. Equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government plan and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the War on Terror.
Author: Yasha Levine
The internet is the most effective weapon the government has ever built. In this fascinating book, investigative reporter Yasha Levine uncovers the secret origins of the internet, tracing it back to a Pentagon counterinsurgency surveillance project. A visionary intelligence officer, William Godel, realized that the key to winning the war in Vietnam was not outgunning the enemy, but using new information technology to understand their motives and anticipate their movements. This idea--using computers to spy on people and groups perceived as a threat, both at home and abroad--drove ARPA to develop the internet in the 1960s, and continues to be at the heart of the modern internet we all know and use today. As Levine shows, surveillance wasn't something that suddenly appeared on the internet; it was woven into the fabric of the technology. But this isn't just a story about the NSA or other domestic programs run by the government. As the book spins forward in time, Levine examines the private surveillance business that powers tech-industry giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, revealing how these companies spy on their users for profit, all while doing double duty as military and intelligence contractors. Levine shows that the military and Silicon Valley are effectively inseparable: a military-digital complex that permeates everything connected to the internet, even coopting and weaponizing the antigovernment privacy movement that sprang up in the wake of Edward Snowden. With deep research, skilled storytelling, and provocative arguments, Surveillance Valley will change the way you think about the news--and the device on which you read it.
Author: Richard Rhodes
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Here, for the first time, in a brilliant, panoramic portrait by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, is the definitive, often shocking story of the politics and the science behind the development of the hydrogen bomb and the birth of the Cold War. Based on secret files in the United States and the former Soviet Union, this monumental work of history discloses how and why the United States decided to create the bomb that would dominate world politics for more than forty years.
Author: Kenneth W Ford
Publisher: World Scientific
IN THE NEWS Podcast — Building the H Bomb: A Personal History Hosted by Milt Rosenberg (1590 WCGO), 25 June 2015 Building the H-Bomb: The Big Idea APS News, June 2015 (Volume 24, Number 6) Behind the Making of a Super Bomb The Washington Post, 22 May 2015 Hydrogen Bomb Physicist's Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department The New York Times, 23 March 2015 More In this engaging scientific memoir, Kenneth Ford recounts the time when, in his mid-twenties, he was a member of the team that designed and built the first hydrogen bomb. He worked with — and relaxed with — scientific giants of that time such as Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, Stan Ulam, John von Neumann, and John Wheeler, and here offers illuminating insights into the personalities, the strengths, and the quirks of these men. Well known for his ability to explain physics to nonspecialists, Ford also brings to life the physics of fission and fusion and provides a brief history of nuclear science from the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 to the ten-megaton explosion of “Mike” that obliterated a Pacific Island in 1952. Ford worked at both Los Alamos and Princeton's Project Matterhorn, and brings out Matterhorn's major, but previously unheralded contribution to the development of the H bomb. Outside the lab, he drove a battered Chevrolet around New Mexico, a bantam motorcycle across the country, and a British roadster around New Jersey. Part of the charm of Ford's book is the way in which he leavens his well-researched descriptions of the scientific work with brief tales of his life away from weapons. Contents:The Big IdeaThe ProtagonistsThe ChoiceThe Scientists, the Officials, and the PresidentNuclear EnergySome PhysicsGoing WestA New WorldThe Classical SuperCalculating and TestingConstructing MatterhornAcademia CowersNew Mexico, New York, and New JerseyThe Garwin DesignClimbing MatterhornMore Than a Boy Readership: A memoir for general readership in the history of science. Key Features:It contains real physics, clearly presented for non-specialistsCombining historical scholarship and his own recollections, the author offers important insights into the people and the work that led to the first H bombPersonal anecdotes enliven the bookKeywords:Nuclear Weapons;Atomic Weapons;H Bomb;Thermonuclear Weapons;Nuclear Physics;Nuclear History;Thermonuclear History;Los Alamos;Edward Teller;Stanislav Ulam;John Wheeler;Project MatterhornReviews: “It was a great treat to read a book that's well-written, informative, and gets the science right. It is these personal recollections and descriptions; the fact that it is a personal and first-hand account of a unique time in history and a remarkable scientific and technical achievement that made this book so enthralling. This is an engaging account of a young scientist involved in a remarkable project.” P Andrew Karam The Ohio State University “Ford's book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the H bomb and its role in the Cold War, and in how that work affected the life and career of an individual involved.” Physics Today "Personal memories are the book's greatest strength. Ford doesn't glorify, or apologize for, his work on the H-bomb. He simply tells it as it was. As a result, this is an engagingly human glimpse into the world of physics in the US in the early 1950s." Physics World
Author: Humberto Fontova
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
A first-hand account of the wildcat New Orleans spearfishermen who dive from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico brings this dangerous but thrilling sport to light.
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Little, Brown
The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017 One of Science News's Favorite Science Books of 2017 The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell. In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.
Author: Timothy J. Jorgensen
Publisher: Princeton University Press
More than ever before, radiation is a part of our modern daily lives. We own radiation-emitting phones, regularly get diagnostic x-rays, such as mammograms, and submit to full-body security scans at airports. We worry and debate about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power plants. But how much do we really know about radiation? And what are its actual dangers? An accessible blend of narrative history and science, Strange Glow describes mankind's extraordinary, thorny relationship with radiation, including the hard-won lessons of how radiation helps and harms our health. Timothy Jorgensen explores how our knowledge of and experiences with radiation in the last century can lead us to smarter personal decisions about radiation exposures today. Jorgensen introduces key figures in the story of radiation—from Wilhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of x-rays, and pioneering radioactivity researchers Marie and Pierre Curie, to Thomas Edison and the victims of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Tracing the most important events in the evolution of radiation, Jorgensen explains exactly what radiation is, how it produces certain health consequences, and how we can protect ourselves from harm. He also considers a range of practical scenarios such as the risks of radon in our basements, radiation levels in the fish we eat, questions about cell-phone use, and radiation's link to cancer. Jorgensen empowers us to make informed choices while offering a clearer understanding of broader societal issues. Investigating radiation's benefits and risks, Strange Glow takes a remarkable look at how, for better or worse, radiation has transformed our society.
Author: James A. Mahaffey
Publisher: Facts on File
Presents an introduction to the history and advances of nuclear technology, covering such topics as the atomic structure, the Manhattan Project, nuclear fission, and quantum mechanics.
Author: Gillian Turner
Publisher: The Experiment
This “fantastic story” of one of physics’ great riddles takes us through centuries of scientific history (Simon Lamb, author of Devil in the Mountain). Why do compass needles point north—but not quite north? What guides the migration of birds, whales, and fish across the world’s oceans? How is Earth able to sustain life under an onslaught of solar wind and cosmic radiation? For centuries, the world’s great scientists have grappled with these questions, all rooted in the same phenomenon: Earth’s magnetism. Over two thousand years after the invention of the compass, Einstein called the source of Earth’s magnetic field one of greatest unsolved mysteries of physics. Here, for the first time, is the complete history of the quest to understand the planet’s attractive pull—from the ancient Greeks’ fascination with lodestone to the geological discovery that the North Pole has not always been in the North—and to the astonishing modern conclusions that finally revealed the true source. Richly illustrated and skillfully told, North Pole, South Pole unfolds the human story behind the science: that of the inquisitive, persevering, and often dissenting thinkers who unlocked the secrets at our planet’s core. “In recent years, many very good books for interested non-scientists have been published: Richard Dawkins’s Climbing Mount Improbable and The Ancestor’s Tale, Stephen Jay Gould’s The Lying Stones of Marrakech, and Dava Sobel’s Longitude and The Planets, to name some of them. North Pole, South Pole . . . is a worthy addition to that list . . . Turner has a great story to tell, and she tells it well.” —The Press (New Zealand)