Einstein Equation pin from Las Vegas

Einstein Equation pin from Las Vegas

This famous equation was the hint that nuclear weapons were feasible. I got this pin at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

The mass of a nucleus for an element heavier than iron is less than the sum of the masses of its constituent protons and neutrons. Given Einstein’s relationship, it is possible that some of the “missing mass” might have been converted into binding energy to keep the nucleons together. It would have to be a substantial amount of energy to overcome the Coulomb repulsion (electromagnetic) of the positively charged protons. So suppose we could somehow bust up the nucleus. That binding energy would be released in some fashion. Thus, as soon as it was discovered in the 1930s that uranium underwent spontaneous fission, a weaponized use of uranium was obvious to every nuclear physicist in the world.

Location: 3-D2

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