How to Make an Atomic Bomb

                         How to Make an Atomic Bomb

                           A Construction Project

The following paper is taken from The Journal of Irreproducible Results,
Volume 25/Number 4/1979. P.O. Box 234 Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411


     Worldwide controversy has been generated recently from several court
     decisions in the United States which have restricted popular magazines
     from printing articles which describe how to make an atomic bomb. The
     reason usually given by the courts is that national security would be
     compromised if such information were generally available. But, since it
     is commonly known that all of the information is publicly available in
     most major metropolitan libraries, obviously the court's officially
     stated position is covering up a more important factor; namely, that
     such atomic devices would prove too difficult for the average citizen
     to construct. The United States courts cannot afford to insult the vast
     majorities by insinuating that they do not have the intelligence of a
     cabbage, and thus the "official" press releases claim national security
     as a blanket restriction.

     The rumors that have unfortunately occurred as a result of widespread
     misinformation can (and must) be cleared up now, for the construction
     project this month is the construction of a thermonuclear device, which
     will hopefully clear up any misconceptions you might have about such a
     project. We will see how easy it is to make a device of your very own
     in ten easy steps, to have and hold as you see fit, without annoying
     interference from the government or the courts.

     The project will cost between $5,000 and $30,000, depending on how
     fancy you want the final product to be. Since last week's column,
     "Let's Make a Time Machine", was received so well in the new
     step-by-step format, this month's column will follow the same format.

       1. First, obtain about 110 pounds (50 kg) of weapons grade Plutonium
          at your local supplier (see NOTE 1). A nuclear power plant is not
          recommended, as large quantities of missing Plutonium tends to
          make plant engineers unhappy. We suggest that you contact your
          local terrorist organization, or perhaps the Junior Achievement in
          your neighborhood.
       2. Please remember that Plutonium, especially pure, refined
          Plutonium, is somewhat dangerous. Wash your hands with soap and
          warm water after handling the material, and don't allow your
          children or pets to play in it or eat it. Any left over Plutonium
          dust is excellent as an insect repellant. You may wish to keep the
          substance in a lead box if you can find one in your local junk
          yard, but an old coffee can will do nicely.
       3. Fashion together a metal enclosure to house the device. Most
          common varieties of sheet metal can be bent to disguise this
          enclosure as, for example, a briefcase, a lunch pail, or a Buick.
          Do not use tinfoil.
       4. Arrange the Plutonium into two hemispheral shapes, separated by
          about 4 cm. Use rubber cement to hold the Plutonium dust together.
       5. Now get about 220 pounds (100 kg) of trinitrotoluene (TNT).
          Gelignite is much better, but messier to work with. Your helpful
          hardware man will be happy to provide you with this item.
       6. Pack the TNT around the hemisphere arrangement constructed in step
          4. If you cannot find Gelignite, fell free to use TNT packed in
          with Playdo or any modeling clay. Colored clay is acceptable, but
          there is no need to get fancy at this point.
       7. Enclose the structure from step 6 into the enclosure made in step
          3. Use a strong glue such as "Crazy Glue" to bind the hemisphere
          arrangement against the enclosure to prevent accidental detonation
          which might result from vibration or mishandling.
       8. To detonate the device, obtain a radio controlled (RC) servo
          mechanism, as found in RC model airplanes and cars. With a modicum
          of effort, a remote plunger can be made that will strike a
          detonator cap to effect a small explosion. These detonatior caps
          can be found in the electrical supply section of your local
          supermarket. We recommend the "Blast-O-Mactic" brand because they
          are no deposit-no return.
       9. Now hide the completed device from the neighbors and children. The
          garage is not recommended because of high humidity and the extreme
          range of temperatures experienced there. Nuclear devices have been
          known to spontaneously detonate in these unstable conditions. The
          hall closet or under the kitchen sink will be perfectly suitable.
      10. Now you are the proud owner of a working thermonuclear device! It
          is a great ice-breaker at parties, and in a pinch, can be used for
          national defense.

     The device basically works when the detonated TNT compresses the
     Plutonium into a critical mass. The critical mass then produces a
     nuclear chain recation similar to the domino chain reaction (discussed
     in this column, "Dominos on the March", March, 1968). The chain
     reaction then promptly produces a big thermonuclear reaction. And there
     you have it, a 10 megaton explosion!


     In next month's column, we will learn how to clone your neighbor's wife
     in six easy steps. This project promises to be an exciting weekend full
     of fun and profit. Common kitchen utensils will be all you need. See
     you next month!

  5. NOTES

     1. Plutonium (PU), atomic number 94, is a radioactive metallic element
     formed by the decay of Neptunium and is similar in chemical structure
     to Uranium, Saturium, Jupiternium, and Marisum.

       1. Let's Make Test Tube Babies! May, 1979
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