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isomer bomb

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EtymologyEdit

isomer +‎ bomb from being a bomb fuelled by nuclear isomer changes

NounEdit

isomer bomb (plural isomer bombs)

  1. (military, weaponry) a type of theoretical radiological nuclear weapon that relies on an induced rapid change in the state of nuclear isomers to generate an intense gamma ray flash
    • 2013, David Hafemeister, Physics of Societal Issues: Calculations on National Security, Environment, and Energy, Springer, →ISBN, page 23:
      A more useable size might be 1 g with an accelerated decay of 200 kg of TNT. The isomer bomb obtained funding, but was canceled as nonsensical.
    • 2011, Karolina Dean...Where the HELL is my monkey?, “The Pentagon's fascination with fringe science”, in rec.sport.pro-wrestling, Usenet:
      But in recent years, a group of fringe scientists aided by defense industry insiders has convinced the Pentagon that America's post-9/11 survival depends on developing an isomer bomb. While proponents compare it to the Manhattan Project, opponents point out that independent researchers have not been able to duplicate the results attained by isomer enthusiasts, and that many assumptions behind the bomb contradict the laws of physics. Though Congress canceled isomer bomb development in 2004, the Department of Energy found $5 million to continue the research.
    • 2009, David Hambling, “Red Mercury Mania Returns as Saudis Buy Up “Mini-Nuke” Material”, in Wired[1]:
      Danger Room has closely followed developments related to miniature nuclear weapon, such as the “isomer bomb,” a notional weapon based on some rather controversial physics of accelerating the decay of nuclear isomers. Like Red Mercury, nuclear isomers never grows old. In January, the first ever isomer bomb was detonated in front of millions of viewers. Of course the bomb in question was fictional, a handy plot device in the new Knight Rider series. It was set to go off if the car dropped to below 100 mph; how original is that as a plot device?
    • 2008, David Hambling, "Discredited pseudoscience or a newly useful technology?", The Guardian[2]:
      The AWE's emphasis is on basic research and the potential for energy storage. But Thomson does not believe that an isomer bomb can be ruled out, saying that the controversy over Collins' claims has not been fully resolved. He adds: "A secondary role of AWE is to provide independent advice to the UK government on potential threats to the security of the UK, so an understanding of the fundamentals of isomer physics is essential."
    • 2008, David Hambling, “Russia’s Isomer Bomb, Funded by Your Taxes”, in Wired[3]:
      In America, the most controversial research has involved trying to "trigger" — get energy out of — a Hafnium isomer. In Russia, there has been plenty of controversy over Hafnium, as well. A 2005 paper on induced decay of the nuclear isomer 178m2Hf and the ‘isomeric bomb’ written by E. V. Tkalya, is deeply skeptical of the physics involved.
    • 2008, Richard M. Swiderski, Quicksilver: A History of the Use, Lore and Effects of Mercury, McFarland, →ISBN, page 229:
      The hafnium isomer bomb concept is the product of a physicist's imagination. The hafnium, or isomer, bomb, is proposed by an expert who needs research funding to prove that the reaction takes place.
    • 2008, Sharon Weinberger, “Is the Pentagon Funding Isomer Bombs Again?”, in Wired[4]:
      For those who want all the nitty gritty details on the very weird life and death of DARPA’s isomer bomb, you can read my book, or for a shorter overview, you can read David Hambling’s New Scientist article along with my Washington Post Magazine article.
    • 2007, Peter D. Zimmerman, “The Strange Tale of the Hafnium Bomb: A Personal Narrative”, in American Physical Society News[5]:
      Washington bureaucracy works in strange ways. I was immediately asked what stake the arms control groups at State had in a fight over whether or not DARPA was to be allowed to waste $40 million on what my instincts said was very bad science. But we did have a reason to get involved: the proponents of isomer weapons suggested that–although the energy release derived from excited states of nuclei–because the mechanism did not involve either fission or fusion, an isomer bomb would not be a nuclear weapon. That would mean it could be tested even under the terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and could even be tested in the atmosphere, despite the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty
    • 2006, Daniel G. Dupont, “Far-Out Physics”, in Scientific American, DOI:10.1038/scientificamerican1006-26:
      Take the so-called hafnium bomb, also known as the isomer bomb. According to its proponents, this futuristic weapon would harness the immense energy in subatomic particles known as isomers to deliver kiloton yields in a tiny package.
    • 2005, Andre Gsponer, “Fourth Generation Nuclear Weapons: Military effectiveness and collateral effects”, in arXiv[6]:
      • Pure isomer bomb: 0.1 to 5 MeV gamma-rays;
    • 2005, E.V. Tkalya, “Induced decay of the 178m2Hf and isomeric bomb”, in Physics Uspekhi[7]:
      The problem of developing the isomeric bomb on the basis of these isomeric nuclei is considered. The experimental data analysis shows that development of the hafnium bomb at present is nonreal, because the existing plans of its creation are based on the noncorrectness of obtained experimental data
    • 2004, Kurt stocklmeir, “Re: laser cooling”, in sci.math, Usenet:
      I think a hydrogen bomb can be made that is started by an isomer bomb not an atomic bomb.

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