Class blog for "The Unstable Nucleus" at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nuclear Slide Rule

slide rules that compute everything from dosage to the size of craters left by nuclear bombs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More paper 2 resources

More articles on a few topics:


Talks about Iran's nuclear program, underway this week.  One of the interesting threads here is how these negotiations are seen as a 'proxy' for much bigger ideological and policy issues related to the Middle East.  One of the core terms being negotiated is how many centrifuges Iran is 'allowed' to operate, and this is arguably tied to how quickly they would be able to enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels if they wanted to (so-called 'breakout capacity').  But some have argued that if Iran really went for a bomb, they would do so in secret, so maybe this decision doesn't end up making any difference?  That would be an interesting place to weigh in, if you want to write about this topic.  A few starting articles:


If you're thinking about this issue, check out this very recent speech by Rose Gottemoeller, our Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security:

Here's a recent opinion piece from a Washington political blog:

Here's a somewhat older anti-CTBT article that makes some good points:

Feel free to contact me if you could use some help finding reliable sources on other topics!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hopefull video for fusion from BBC
Sorry, I don't know why it didn't publish with the link the first time.
-Sappho Finnegan

Friday, November 14, 2014

Starting points for your papers

For the final paper for this class, you'll need to take a stand on a current nuclear weapons issue and back up your position drawing on what you have learned in class.

There are a lot of things going on in the world right now that relate directly to nuclear weapons, and I would like to call your attention to a few of them as starting points.  A number of these articles are from the New York Times, and if you run into the paywall issues, remember that you can get access to these through the library digital resources.

1.  Addressing flaws in the management and maintenance of U.S. Nuclear Weapons.  Here's a New York Times article about this but you can find other, tied to a recent Pentagon study and a press conference today by defense secretary Hagel.

2.  Disintegrating relations with Russia and their impact on nuclear disarmament and security issues.  Lately, we've been at odds with the world's other big nuclear superpower.  This has an impact on our overall nuclear stance (and theirs).  It might modify negotiations over treaties, alter what happens in Iran, or upset ongoing projects to prevent nuclear terrorism.  On this last point, this is a really interesting New York Times article.  

3.  Of course, taking a stand on what should happen with the current talks in Iran would be great.  However, this is unfolding right at the same time you will be writing your papers, so between your first and second drafts, things might substantially change!  Just be prepared!  Here's a CNN article to get started thinking about what's going on politically in the U.S. surrounding this issue.

4.  How is Obama doing on his goals for disarmament?  Do you support the planned expenditures on modernizing our nuclear weapons infrastructure?  Here's an analysis by the New York Times to start thinking about this. 

5.  Hey, Pakistan just tested a nuclear-capable long-range missile... should we be worried about this?

6. Treaties!  Of course, great places to weigh in are on the CTBT, the proposals for the FMCT, or what should follow New START.  I will post more resources on those soon.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Not related to nuclear energy but a good video of earthquakes around Japan in 2011. The date is in the upper left corner and remember the big earthquake hit on March 11th.