inventor of the neutron bomb
NEW YORK Samuel T.
Cohen the physicist who invented the small tactical nuclear weapon known as the neutron bomb, designed to kill enemy troops with subatomic particles but leave battlefields and cities relatively intact died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 89.
The cause was complications of stomach cancer, his son Paul said.
Unlike J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, the respective fathers of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, Mr. Cohen was not well known outside government and scientific circles, although his work for years influenced the international debate over the deployment and potential uses of nuclear arms.
In contrast to strategic warheads, which can kill millions and level cities, and smaller short range tactical nuclear arms designed to wipe out battlefield forces, the neutron bomb minimized blast and heat. Instead, it maximized a barrage of neutrons that could zip through tanks, buildings, and other structures and kill people, usually by destroying the central nervous system, and all other life forms.
While doubters questioned the usefulness, logic, and ethics of killing people and sparing property, Mr. Cohen said his bomb could limit death, destruction, and radioactive contamination, killing combatants while leaving civilians and towns unscathed. He insisted that many critics misunderstood or purposely misrepresented his ideas for political, economic, or mercenary reasons.
A specialist in the radiological effects of nuclear weapons, he promoted the neutron bomb for much of his life, writing books and articles, conferring with presidents and Cabinet officials, taking his case to congressional committees, scientific bodies, and international pandora jewelry retailers locations forums. He won many converts, but ultimately failed to persuade the United States to integrate the device into its tactical nuclear arsenal.
The Reagan administration developed but never deployed the weapons in the 1980s. France, Israel, and the Soviet Union were believed to have added versions of the bomb to their arsenals. Western military planners rejected their use in the Vietnam War and regarded them only as a possible deterrent to superior Soviet tank forces in Europe. The end of the Cold War obviated even that purpose.
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Mr. After the war, he joined the RAND Corp. and in 1958 designed the neutron bomb as a way to strike a cluster of enemy forces while sparing infrastructure and distant civilian populations.
Delivered by missile or artillery shell and detonated a quarter mile above ground, his bomb limited death to an area less than a mile across, avoiding wider indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. It was not a radioactively clean bomb, but its neutrons dissipated quickly, leaving no long term contamination that could render entire regions uninhabitable for decades.
But many military planners scoffed at the idea of a nuclear bomb that limited killing and destruction and insisted that deployment would escalate the arms race and make nuclear war more likely. The device was anathema to military contractors and armed services with vested interests in nuclear arsenals. pandora charms online shop Even peace activists denounced it as capitalist weapon, because it killed people but spared the real estate.
Washington rejected the bomb repeatedly. The Kennedy pandora gold bracelet for sale administration said it might jeopardize a test ban moratorium. The Johnson administration said its use in Vietnam might raise the specter of Hiroshima Asians again slaughtered by American nuclear bombs drawing worldwide condemnation. In 1978, President Carter said development might impede disarmament prospects.
In 1981, President Reagan ordered 700 neutron warheads built to oppose Soviet tank forces in Europe. He called it first weapon that come along in a long time that could easily and economically alter the balance of power. But deployment to the North Atlantic alliance was canceled after a storm of antinuclear protests across Europe. Bush ordered the stockpile scrapped.
By 1982, Mr. Cohen had abandoned his deployment quest. But he continued for the rest of his life to defend the bomb as practical and humane.
the most sane and moral weapon ever devised, he said in a phone interview in September. the pandora jewlery only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war. When the war is over, the world is still intact. He was a brilliant student at Los Angeles public schools and UCLA, where he graduated in 1943 with a physics degree. He joined the wartime Army and was posted to MIT for advanced training in mathematics and physics.
In 1944 he was tapped for the Manhattan Project to analyze radioactivity in nuclear fission. He worked on Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, days after Little Boy destroyed Hiroshima.
Mr. Cohen joined RAND in Santa Monica in 1947 and 11 years later designed the neutron bomb as a consultant to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The military successfully tested the bomb, and over the next two decades Mr. Cohen campaigned for its deployment without success. He left RAND in 1969 but continued writing about the bomb. His articles appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other publications.
He was featured in a 1992 segment of the BBC TV series Box. Cohen warned of a black market substance called red mercury, supposedly capable of compressing fusion materials to detonate a nuclear device as small as a baseball. Most scientists call the substance mythical, and stories about it are regarded as spurious.
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