PHYS 20061 - Nuclear Warfare, Spring 2008
PHYS 20061 - Nuclear Warfare
Professor Grant J. Mathews, Ph.D.
Department of Physics
Course Structure: 75-minute classes, twice a week.
Atomic Cloud over Nagasaki, August 9, 1945. Image courtesy of United States Federal Government.
Nuclear Warfare (PHYS20061) is offered by the Physics Department as an introductory course for non-science majors. The course provides an overview of a broad range of topics regarding nuclear weapons. Although the emphasis is on nuclear weapons, we will consider other weapons of mass destruction, particularly in the context of the threat due to terrorism and rogue states. The goal is to be informed of the background history and technical issues so as to know how best to deal with them in the future.
The course will start with the history and emergence of weapons of mass destruction technologies as a consequence of World War I and World War II, culminating in the development and use of the nuclear bomb. This will be followed by a discussion of the underlying physics principles for a basic understanding of nuclear weapons technology and effects. The effects of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) will be discussed in terms of the atmospheric, biological, and medical effects together with the implications for society. We will include a discussion of the diplomatic, political, and ethical implications of possession and use of nuclear weapons and WMD. We will also take a look at the rise of modern terrorism and the threat posed by the WMD and terrorism now and in the future. For more detailed outline of course topics, please see Lectures.
This course was also cross-listed as STV 20461.