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 50 pounds (110 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
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 100 pounds (220 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 detonator 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.
3.THEORY OF OPERATION
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!
4.NEXT MONTH'S COLUMN
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!
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.
6.PREVIOUS MONTH'S COLUMNS
1.Let's Make Test Tube Babies! May, 1979
2.Let's Make a Solar System! June, 1979
3.Let's Make an Economic Recession! July, 1979
4.Let's Make an Anti-Gravity Machine! August, 1979
5.Let's Make Contact with an Alien Race! September, 1979