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Hans Bethe died at 98

Hans Bethe, the physicist who explained and applied the nuclear and thermonuclear reactions both in the stars (carbon cycle) as well as in the bombs (Manhattan project), died in Ithaca at the age of 98... It's sad but many of us would be happy to live for ninety-eight years.

Hans Bethe was also the left-wing counterpart of the right-wing Edward Teller (*1908 Budapest - +2003 U.S.)

Ralph Alpher is alive and well. George Gamow died in 1968. Delter is a campus in Beijing.

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reader Quantoken said...

Really there is nothing to be sad about when one dies at the age of 98. No one lives forever.

Hans Bethe has a lot of scientific contributions. But one single deed of his is enough to wipe out his whole collection of enumerous scientific contributions. That is leading the Manhattan project which created the very first nuclear bomb, which opens a whole Pendora box. To put it simple, Hans Bethe may well be remembered as the one who played a critical role in leading humanity onto a dangerous path which eventually lead to the total destruction of human civilization.

I firmly believe that a world without the knowledge of how to make a nuclear bomb, is one way much better than the current one in which even a high school kid could put together a practical design of such a thing.

This thing is just too dangerous for human kind to have and continue to have. Think about, all it ever take to destroy whole cities, is put enough number of a certain atoms close together. You do not even need to have a fuse or match to ignite it. Put two smaller pieces together by hand and it goes off.

And this atom, called U235, there's plenty in the soil every where. You dig up one ton of soil and there's at least 4 gram of uranium. And out out every 137.036 gram uranium, one gram is U235. So there is really nothing that prehibits any country or dangerous person from obtaining enough of this stuff, not to meantion there's already plenty of this stuff available for stealing.

Are all the nuclear materials in the world secured from thefts? I do not think so at all. For one thing, security is simply lacking. For another, there hasn't been a technology or method to absolutely safegard something, thoughout human history. Billion dollar teasures are stolen all the time. Top secret military intelligence that can enable one nation to totally defeat another has been stolen from time to time.

This is a dangerous world in which human kind are constantly facing the danger of extermination, at least for the foreseeable future.

To introduce nuclear bomb making knowledge into human civilization, that is easy. To wipe human civilization clean of that knowledge? I do not see any feasible way how that could be done. And I don't see any one has any good suggestion.

It's a nightmare scenary that nobody even want to think about. But it's dismal that this nation's highest security officer keeps telling us that it is not a question of if, but a question of when, that a massive slaughter by an evil terririst could occur in this country, using WMD.

When we feel so powerless in protecting ourselves, shouldn't we also condemn the scientists who invented the WMDs in the first place?


reader Anonymous said...

You can watch his 1999 quantum physics lectures here