Lately, in my science class, we've been dealing with explosives. We learned how to make uranium bombs in class. The process starts with getting ahold of uranium, which can be obtained by digging up ore from the ground, separating the uranium from the...other stuff, and making it into a powder called yellowcake. (Oddly enough, yellowcake was something I saw in the movie Get Smart.) Then the uranium is exposed to fluorine and is heated up to 56 degrees Celsius, where it becomes a gas called uranium hexafluoride. The gas is pumped into a centrifuge, which works like a merry-go-round/carousel... The heavier uranium atoms move to the outside and the lighter ones are gathered more around the inside/center. The lighter ones are the ones that are wanted for blowing things up. They are unstable and more fissionable than your regular old uranium atoms.
The uranium gets put into a bunch of centrifuges (in fact, about 1500 of them) so that it eventually reaches 90% purity (meaning the lighter and heavier atoms separated well and the uranium is easier to blow up), which is considered "weapons grade". The uranium is molded into a sphere which can be put into a weapon...As for actually setting off a bomb, that's not something I know or am allowed to be taught. o_o;; Otherwise we might not have a school anymore if some student was curious or vengeful. I mean, I think I heard someone suggest burning textbooks in the past.
I heard that you can't mention bombs at the airport, or some other place with security. I'm kind of curious what will happen if I do but at the same time I don't want to get in trouble when I have no intention of being a terrorist.
Anyways, we also watched some of a film called Kaboom! made by Nova. It talked about how explosives were discovered and developed over the ages. I hadn't known before that Alfred Nobel had bought a company that made guns or something like that. People thought he was being a hypocrite since he called himself a pacifist but made explosives, which served to kill people. Actually, he was hoping he could make a perfect weapon that would make war meaningless, but that didn't happen. And Alfred Nobel was haunted by the negative feelings coming from other people.
This kind of reminds me of the situation with Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, but he wrote against slavery. This led to people considering him a hypocrite. But if he hadn't owned slaves, and had been an abolitionist, people would say, "You don't get it because you haven't had slaves." So it was either people didn't listen to him or they thought of him as a hypocrite. Not the greatest choices.
I haven't done much exploding in my life. Probably the most has been the typical experiment with vinegar and baking soda. Explosions are somehow captivating but are at the same time so devastating. They spread out so quickly.
Actually, I always think the adventure in the video game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which is called "The Subspace Emissary". You'll see a lot of blowing up of areas there. It was pretty fun playing that, actually. I remember I got stuck on a part where you have to figure out where to move and jump or you'll die. I ended up having to look up how to do it on the Internet...Ugh. I try to figure things out on my own at first, but at the first sign of trouble I turn for help (I cheat like crazy in some games, like Starcraft and the Sims). I used to be so proud because I learned how to find my way around web sites and other things all by myself. I wonder if I'm becoming more dependent as I age, not less.
Labels: alfred nobel, atomic, bomb, cheat, dependent, explosive, get smart, guilt, hypocrite, movie, school, science, super smash bros brawl, the subspace emissary, thomas jefferson, uranium, video games