J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) was an American theoretical physicist. During the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer was director of the Los Alamos Laboratory and responsible for the research and design of an atomic bomb. He is often known as the “father of the atomic bomb.”
Compared to any other technological developments and inventions in the last 2000 years, the atomic bomb had the greatest effects on human history. In just a matter of seconds, a single atomic bomb eliminated around 200,000 people in Hiroshima.
The ability to destroy the planet is now within the realm of possibility as superpower countries arm themselves with more weapons than they would ever need. To some extent, atomic and nuclear weapons now take part in keeping the world safe as countries have to think many times before they start wars.
When a neutron strikes the nucleus of an atom of the isotopes uranium-235 or plutonium-239, it causes that nucleus to split into two fragments, each of which is a nucleus with about half the protons and neutrons of the original nucleus. In the process of splitting, a great amount of thermal energy, as well as gamma rays and two or more neutrons, is released. Under certain conditions, the escaping neutrons strike and thus fission more of the surrounding uranium nuclei, which then emit more neutrons that split still more nuclei. This series of rapidly multiplying fissions culminates in a chain reaction in which nearly all the fissionable material is consumed, in the process generating the explosion of what is known as an atomic bomb.