Nuclear Weapons in History

Nuclear Weapons: Nuclear Testing

Related Topics: Nuclear Physicists

Historical Events

Historic Invention

1934-07-04 Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard patents the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb

Historic Event

1939-10-11 Albert Einstein informs FDR of the possibilities of an atomic bomb

Historic Event

1941-07-15 Britain's MAUDE Report edited by James Chadwick approved, concludes an atomic bomb is feasible

Meeting of Interest

1941-09-17 Famous meeting between Danish physicist Niels Bohr and German head of nuclear energy project Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen to discuss nuclear weapons (date approximate)

Historic Event

1942-02-26 Werner Heisenberg, a principal scientist in the German nuclear weapons program, delivers a lecture to Nazi officials about extracting energy from nuclear fission

Historic Event

1942-08-13 The 'Manhattan Project' commences, under the direction of US General Leslie Groves: its aim - to deliver an atomic bomb

  • 1945-01-15 The Manhattan Project's G-5 Group, headed by Physicist's Donald Kerst and Seth Neddermeyer, take their first betatron pictures of a nuclear implosion at the Los Alamos Laboratory
  • 1945-07-04 Field Marshal Henry Maitland Wilson gives Britain's agreement to use the atomic bomb against Japan at the Combined Policy Committee in Washington D. C.
  • 1945-07-16 1st test detonation of an atomic bomb, Trinity Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico as part of the US Manhattan Project

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

1945-08-06 Atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the US B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay"

Nuclear Bombing of Nagasaki

1945-08-09 US drops second atomic bomb "Fat Man" on Nagasaki, Japan, destroying part of the city

Historic Event

1945-10-08 US President Harry Truman announces atomic bomb secret shared with Britain and Canada

  • 1946-05-28 US Patent filed for a hydrogen bomb
  • 1946-07-25 US detonates an underwater atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands (5th atomic explosion)
  • 1948-10-21 UN rejects Russian proposal to destroy atomic weapons
  • 1950-02-12 Albert Einstein warns against hydrogen bomb

Historic Event

1951-03-09 Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam submit a classified paper at the Los Alamos lab, in which they proposed their revolutionary new design, staged implosion, for a practical megaton-range hydrogen bomb

Historic Event

1951-10-06 Joseph Stalin proclaims the Soviet Union has the atomic bomb

Historic Event

1952-02-26 PM Winston Churchill announces Britain has its own atomic bomb

  • 1952-11-01 "Ivy Mike", the first thermonuclear weapon to utilize the H-bomb design of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam, is detonated in the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean
  • 1953-01-07 US President Harry Truman announces American development of the hydrogen bomb

Historic Event

1953-08-08 Soviet leader Georgi Malenkov reports possession of hydrogen bomb

  • 1953-08-12 Soviet Union conducts secret test of its 1st hydrogen bomb
  • 1953-08-20 Russia publicly acknowledges hydrogen bomb test detonation
  • 1953-08-29 USSR explodes its first hydrogen bomb
  • 1953-11-06 Masao Oki's symphony "Atomic Bomb" premieres

Historic Event

1954-02-02 President Eisenhower announces the detonation of the world's 1st hydrogen bomb (tested in 1952)

Castle Bravo Nuclear Test

1954-03-01 US explodes Castle Bravo, a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, which accidentally became the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the US

Conference of Interest

1955-07-13 Industrialist Cyrus Eaton first offers to host a conference on dangers of nuclear weapons in Pugwash, Nova Scotia

  • 1955-07-15 18 Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by 34 more laureates
  • 1956-05-21 US explodes 1st airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll

UK Tests a Hydrogen Bomb

1957-05-15 Operation Grapple: Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb near Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean

  • 1958-03-25 West German parliament desires German atomic weapons
  • 1958-03-31 USSR suspends nuclear weapons tests, & urges US & Britain to do same
  • 1958-04-04 1st march against nuclear weapons from London to Aldermaston, England, home of the Defence Ministry's Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
  • 1959-06-23 Convicted Manhattan Project spy Klaus Fuchs is released after only nine years in prison and allowed to emigrate to Dresden, East Germany (where he resumed a scientific careerhistory of ultrasounds
  • 1960-02-13 France becomes the 4th nuclear nation by exploding the 70 kilo-ton "Gerboise Bleue" atomic bomb in the French Algerian Sahara desert [1]
  • 1960-11-22 French National Meeting decide to build own nuclear weapons
  • 1960-11-30 French Senate condemns building own nuclear weapons
  • 1961-10-30 Soviet Union tests a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb named Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated
  • 1963-10-09 French air force gets first nuclear weapons
  • 1966-03-17 US submarine locates missing hydrogen bomb on the Mediterranean sea floor
  • 1966-04-07 US recovers a lost hydrogen bomb from the Mediterranean sea floor (whoops)
  • 1966-12-08 US and USSR sign treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in outer space
  • 1967-01-27 Treaty signed banning military use of nuclear weapons in space
  • 1967-05-19 USSR ratifies treaty with Britain & US banning nuclear weapons in space
  • 1967-06-17 China becomes world's 4th thermonuclear power by exploding a hydrogen bomb
  • 1971-02-11 US, UK, USSR, others sign Seabed Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons
  • 1972-08-03 US Senate ratifies the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union to limit the use of missile systems capable of defending against missile-delivered nuclear weapons
  • 1974-05-18 India becomes the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb

Treaty of Interest

1974-11-24 Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev agree to a framework for the SALT-II treaty to reduce each side's number of nuclear weapons, at the Vladivostok Summit

  • 1979-06-18 US President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons
  • 1979-08-30 1st recorded occurrence of a comet hitting the sun, releases energy equal to one million hydrogen bombs
  • 1981-11-30 Cold War: In Geneva, representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union begin to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe (the meetings ended inconclusively on December 17)
  • 1982-12-08 Norman Mayer holds Washington Monument hostage, demanding an end to nuclear weapons. Is killed by police after 10 hrs (he had no explosives)
  • 1983-03-08 House Foreign Affairs Com endorses nuclear weapons freeze with USSR

Historic Event

1983-05-03 Soviet leader Yuri Andropov decreases nuclear weapons in Europe

  • 1983-05-03 US bishops condemn nuclear weapons
  • 1983-11-18 Argentina announces its ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons
  • 1985-02-04 Naval exercises canceled when US refuses to tell NZ if nuclear weapons aboard USS Buchanan
  • 1987-06-08 New Zealand's Labour government legislates against nuclear weapons and nuclear powered vessels in NZ. Only nation to legislate against nuclear power.
  • 1991-07-31 Russia and US sign long range nuclear weapons reduction pact
  • 1991-10-05 USSR reduces nuclear weapons arsenal
  • 1995-05-11 More than 170 countries agree to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons [1]
  • 1995-08-06 Thousands gather in Hiroshima for the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city
  • 1995-10-13 Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Polish physicist Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, for their work to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons

Historic Event

1999-02-21 Lahore Declaration signed between India's Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan's Navaz Sharif on use of nuclear weapons

  • 2007-08-29 A United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident takes place at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base.
  • 2017-07-07 United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty adopted in New York, without participation of nuclear countries
  • 2017-09-03 North Korea conducts its sixth and largest ever nuclear test, saying it had successfully conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb
  • 2017-10-06 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Summit of Interest

2018-04-27 Historic Korean summit, the North's Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in of South Korea agree to officially end Korean war and rid peninsula of nuclear weapons

TV Show Appearance

2018-11-09 Korean pop band BTS appearance on Japanese TV show cancelled after member Jimin wore shirt with atomic bomb image

  • 2018-12-18 Meteor explodes in huge fireball over the Bering Sea with 10 times the energy of Hiroshima atomic bomb, 2nd largest in last 30 yrs
  • 2019-08-08 Nuclear accident at Russian nuclear-weapon testing site at closed city Sarov kills five scientists in mysterious circumstances

Famous Birthdays

  • 1892-06-22 N. Howell Furman, American Chemist whose work on separating uranium contributed to the development of the atomic bomb

Leslie Groves

1896-08-17 Leslie Groves, American army engineer who directed the Manhattan Project and construction of the Pentagon, born in Albany, New York (d. 1970)

Leó Szilárd

1898-02-11 Leo Szilard, Hungarian-German-American nuclear physicist (Manhattan Project) and peace activist, born in Budapest, Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (d. 1964)

  • 1900-11-18 George Kistiakowsky, Ukrainian-American chemist who helped develop the first atomic bomb (Manhattan Project), but later opposed nuclear weapons, born in Kyiv, Ukraine (d. 1982)
  • 1902-03-02 Edward Uhler Condon, atomic scientist (Manhattan Project)
  • 1902-10-22 Frank Spedding, Canadian Chemist whose uranium extraction process helped make possible the first atomic bomb, born in Hamilton, Ontario
  • 1902-11-17 Eugene Wigner, Hungarian American physicist and mathematician (1963 Nobel Prize for Physics, worked on the Manhattan Project), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1995)
  • 1903-05-22 Yves Rocard, French physicist (helped develop the atomic bomb for France), born in Vannes, France (d. 1992)
  • 1903-11-11 Thomas Allibone, English physicist (Manhattan Project, high-voltage particle acceleration), born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England (d. 2003)

Robert Oppenheimer

1904-04-22 Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist known as the father of the atomic bomb (Manhattan Project), born in NYC, New York (d. 1967)

  • 1907-06-05 Rudolf Peierls, German-British physicist (atomic bomb), born in Berlin, Germany (d. 1995)

Edward Teller

1908-01-15 Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist, father of the Hydrogen bomb (Manhattan Project), born in Budapest, Hungary (d. 2003)

Raemer Schreiber

1910-11-11 Raemer Schreiber, American physicist (Manhattan Project) who helped develop the first atomic bomb during World War II and prepared the Fat Man bomb that was used in the bombing of Nagasaki, born in McMinnville, Oregon (d. 1998)

  • 1910-12-01 Louis Slotin, Canadian Physicist and Chemist (Manhattan Project, Los Alamos) who assembled the plutonium core for 'Trinity', the first detonated atomic device, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • 1911-07-09 John Archibald Wheeler, American physicist (first American involved in the theoretical development of the atomic bomb), born in Jacksonville, Florida (d. 2008)
  • 1914-03-04 Robert R. Wilson, American physicist (The Manhattan Project), sculptor and architect, born in Frontier, Wyoming (d. 2000)
  • 1919-06-18 Jerome Karle, American chemist (Nobel 1985) and Manhattan Project member, born in New York (d. 2013)
  • 1943-01-07 Sadako Sasaki, Japanese child hibakusha (victim of the Hiroshima atomic bomb), born in Hiroshima, Japan (d. 1955)
  • 1947-01-21 Jill Eikenberry, (Ann Kelsey-LA Law, Manhattan Project), born in New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1968-03-13 Christopher Collett, American actor (Manhattan Project), born in NYC, New York

Famous Deaths

Leó Szilárd

1964-05-30 Leo Szilard, Hungarian-German-American nuclear physicist (Manhattan Project) and peace activist, dies at 66

  • 1965-08-02 N. Howell Furman, American Chemist whose work on separating uranium contributed to the development of the atomic bomb, dies at 73

Robert Oppenheimer

1967-02-18 Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist known as the father of the atomic bomb (Manhattan Project), dies of throat cancer at 62

Leslie Groves

1970-07-13 Leslie Groves, American army engineer who directed the Manhattan Project and construction of the Pentagon, dies of a heart attack at 73

  • 1982-12-07 George Kistiakowsky, Ukrainian-American chemist who helped develop the first atomic bomb (Manhattan Project) but later opposed nuclear weapons, dies at 82
  • 1984-12-15 Frank Spedding, Canadian Chemist whose uranium extraction process helped make possible the first atomic bomb, dies at 82
  • 1992-03-16 Yves Rocard, French physicist (helped develop the atomic bomb for France), dies at 88
  • 1995-09-19 Rudolf Peierls, German-British physicist (atomic bomb), dies at 88

Raemer Schreiber

1998-12-24 Raemer Schreiber, American Physicist (Manhattan Project) who helped develop the first atomic bomb during World War II and prepared the Fat Man bomb that was used in the bombing of Nagasaki, dies at 88

Edward Teller

2003-09-09 Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist, father of the Hydrogen bomb (Manhattan Project), dies at 95

  • 2003-09-09 Thomas Allibone, English physicist (Manhattan Project, high-voltage particle acceleration), dies at 99
  • 2007-08-15 John Gofman, American Manhattan Project scientist and advocate (b. 1918)
  • 2008-04-13 John Archibald Wheeler, American physicist (first American involved in the theoretical development of the atomic bomb), dies at 96
  • 2009-10-31 Qian Xuesen, Chinese scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project and who pioneered engineering cybernetics, dies at 97
  • 2010-01-04 Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Japanese Businessman, and Survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings (b. 1916)