This morning on NPR I heard a story about the dismantling of the final blockbuster nuclear weapon in the USA's arsenal: a 9-megaton bunker buster known as the B-53. The story related how these weapons were the size of a minivan (see below), weighed 4.5 tons, and could obliterate all life within 9 miles of ground zero and spread radiation for hundreds of square miles. Only two could be carried aboard a B-52, and during the height of the Cold War, 24 of these things were always in the air ready to take out the Soviet Union.
Years ago I was involved in the nuclear weapons program. Read about it here.
Here is a PDF of a lecture on the effects of nuclear weapons and the classic text by Glasstone and
Dolan,The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. Here is an online version of the 1977 edition. Above is a picture of the 'Strangelove Slide Rule', the circular 'Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer' that came with the Glasstone and Dolan book. I still have mine! John Walker has an online version of the computer.
Talk about macabre displacement behavior! Enjoy, if you can.
"They're not 'bombs'; they are 'devices'! They are only called 'bombs' when we drop them from the sky." - an especially irritating Lawrence Livermore physicist, educating yours truly on the correct nomenclature for nuclear devices, c. 1979