Thursday, May 30, 2013

COULD GERMANY BUILD THE BOMB?



16 years after the controversial conversation (Copenhagen, 1941), between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in an office of the Institute of Physics, the echoes of that meeting still remain. The conversation is part of world history because it reveals why USA built by fission the atomic bomb  and Nazi Germany not, as both countries had qualified scientists. Lacking recordings of such conversation, coherent explanations emerge after reading 11 letters written -but not sent- between 1950 to 1963 by Bohr, kept in secret by his family and finally published in 2002. Some of these and Heisenberg replicas appear in the book: "Brighter than a thousand suns" written by the journalist Robert Jungk. In these letters Bohr argues that: I- Heisenberg replica in Jungk's book, reflect different impressions, not being entirely certain. Conversely, Bohr said that he remenbered every word, spoken in an atmosphere of grief and stress because Denmark was occupied by troops of Nazi Germany. II-When Bohr learned that the recently arrived to Copenhagen: Heisenberg and Weizsäcker had fixed a Symposium at the German Institute he did not assisted as a matter of principle. Bohr of Jewish descent, was a loyal Danish, father-figure in his nation and very unhappy because of German occupation of his country. Heisenberg, a budding diplomat, guided by codes of their patriotic family, admired the Nazi army and believed that under his personal driving, Germany would have its atomic bomb.

III-In his letter No 1, Bohr shows his displeasure ensuring that Heisenberg and his companion, the young nobleman Weizsäcker showed arrogantly convinced that Germany would win the war and that Danish scientists should cooperate with Germany. Conversely, Weizsäcker assured that the message given by them to Bohr was that German scientists did not want to do the bomb and that the world, would believe to Bohr. IV-Bohr said that Heisenberg assured him that they had a complete mastery of the necessary steps to achieve a chain nuclear fission (at the end of the war it was shown it was true) and that if the war were prolonged enough, the first nation to use it, would win the war. Therefore it was silly not to ally with Germany. Bohr's concern was accentuated to hear this, because he himself 3 years earlier had published an article in which he argued that slowed neutrons could fission the uranium. V-Aware of his position contrary to Germany Bohr fled to Sweden (1943) and later to England. VI- While Weizsäcker and Heisenberg assured Bohr, that German scientists were in favor of preventing the use of atomic bombs by any government in the world, two years later (1943), another German scientist: Hans Jensen, called for increasing the production of heavy water in Copenhagen institutes. VII-It is clear that Germany could not build the atomic bomb during the war, because war project decisions were made by bureaucrats of the Wehrmacht, which in this case preferred to derive funds to rocketry projects, leaving nuclear fission in charge of the german Ministry of Culture.

PUDO ALEMANIA CONSTRUIR LA BOMBA?

16 años despues de realizada la polémica conversación (Copenhage, 1941), entre Niels Bohr y Werner Heisenberg en una oficina del Instituto de Fisica, los ecos de tal meeting aun perduran. La conversacion tiene que ver con parte de la historia mundial porque revela porque USA logro construir la bomba atómica por fision y la Alemania nazi : no, en tanto ambos países contaban con científicos calificados. Ante la inexistencia de grabaciones de la conversación, explicaciones coherentes emergen tras leer 11 cartas escritas -no enviadas- entre 1950-1963 por Bohr, mantenidas en secreto por su familia y, finalmente publicadas el 2002. Algunas de estas y las replicas de Heisenberg aparecen en el libro : “Brighter than a thousand suns” del periodista Robert Jungk. En dichas cartas Bohr sostiene que: I- Las replicas de Heisenberg aparecidas en el libro de Jungk, reflejan diferentes impresiones, no siendo del todo ciertas. Contrariamente, Bohr -según lo asegura el mismo- recordaba cada palabra, dichas en un ambiente de pesar y tensión en tanto Dinamarca se hallaba ocupada por entonces por tropas de la Alemania nazi. II-Cuando Bohr se entero que los recién arribados a Copenhage: Heisenberg y Weizsäcker habían arreglado un Symposium en el Instituto Aleman no asistió por una cuestión de principios. Bohr de ascendencia judía, era un danes leal, pater-figura de su nación y muy infeliz a causa de la ocupación alemana de su país. Heisenberg, diplomático en ciernes, guiado por códigos de su patriotica familia, admiraba al ejercito nazi y creia que bajo su conduccion personal construirían la bomba atómica.

III- En su carta No 1, Bohr muestra su disgusto al asegurar que Heisenberg y su acompañante, el joven aristócrata Weizsäcker mostraron arrogantemente su convencimiento de que Alemania ganaría la guerra y que los científicos daneses debían cooperar con Alemania. Contrariamente, Weizsäcker aseguro después que el mensaje dado por ellos a Bohr fue que los cientificos alemanes no querian hacer la bomba y, que el mundo le creería a Bohr. IV- Bohr sostuvo que Heisenberg le aseguro que ellos tenian un completo dominio de los pasos necesarios para lograr la fision nuclear en cadena (al final de la guerra se demostro que era cierto) y que si la guerra fuese lo suficientemente prolongada, el primero que la usara ganaría la guerra. Por lo tanto era tonto no aliarse a Alemania. La preocupación de Bohr, se acentuo al escuchar esto porque el mismo, 3 años antes había publicado un articulo en el que sostenía que neutrones lentos podían fisionar al Uranio. V-Consciente de su posición contraría a Alemania Bohr, huyo a Suecia (1943) y posteriormente a Inglaterra. VI- Mientras Weizsäcker y Heisenberg le aseguraban a Bohr que los cientificos alemanes eran partidarios de impedir el uso de bombas atomicas por cualquier gobierno del mundo, 2 años después (1943), otro cientifico aleman : Hans Jensen, instaba a incrementar la produccion de agua pesada en institutos de Copenhage. VII- Lo claro a es que Alemania no podia construir la bomba atomica durante la Guerra por que las decisiones de proyectos de guerra eran tomadas por burocratas de la Wehrmacht, que en este caso prefirieron derivar fondos a la coheteria dejando la fision nuclear a cargo del Ministerio de Cultura aleman.

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