Fat Boy Thin Man


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Fat from an early age, the author had an obese adolescence that last into his 30s. Despite having lost more than pounds three times, he weighed in October , when he began accepting that he might be a food addict, and undertaking the practices and treatments designed for alcoholics. The second line of his book assures readers he isn't a guru; he shares what was shared with him by others. But it will also serve readers who suffer, or whose loved ones suffer, with obesity that they have tried and failed to resolve repeatedly. Michael Prager was a daily newspaper journalist for 30 years, most recently for 14 years at the Boston Globe.

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He writes a blog at michaelprager. He lives with his wife and son in Arlington, Mass. Visit Seller's Storefront. Books should arrive within business days for expedited shipping, and business days for standard shipping. Standard shipping can on occasion take up to 60 days for delivery.

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List this Seller's Books. Payment Methods accepted by seller. AbeBooks Bookseller Since: 14 August When the shock wave reached the beryllium walls of the cavity, they vaporized and formed a separate shock wave that struck the initiator. This collapsed the wedge shaped grooves in the outer initiator shell and created turbulence that rapidly mixed the plutonium and beryllium of the inner and outer spheres together. The alpha particles emitted by the new isotope then struck beryllium atoms, periodically knocking loose neutrons, perhaps one every nanoseconds.

It was these neutrons which progressed to the uranium tamper surrounding the pit, and provided the backbone for the explosion. The pit was surrounded by a natural uranium tamper weighing kg, with a diameter of 23 cm. The tamper formed a 7 cm thick layer around the pit. The pit and the tamper together comprised an essential component of the bomb. The nuclear implosion was so powerful that it compressed the pit and inner assemblies to 2. Surrounding the tamper was an The primary purpose of this sphere, called the "pusher" or "absorber shell", was to reduce the effect of the Taylor wave.

The Taylor wave is the rapid drop in pressure that occurs behind a shock wave. In other words, the scientists wanted as much pressure behind the shock wave as possible in order to increase the destructive power. By reducing the Taylor wave, the pressure of the transmitted shock wave increases, enhancing the pressure reached at the center of core, and thereby increasing the size of the explosion. The outermost shell was the high explosive lens system.

This made a layer some 47 cm thick weighing at least kg.


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This assembly consisted of 32 explosive lenses; 20 of them hexagonal, and 12 pentagonal. The lenses fitted together in the same pattern as a soccer ball, forming a complete spherical explosive assembly that was cm wide. Each lens had three pieces: two made of high velocity explosive, and one of low velocity explosive.

Fat Boy Thin Man

The outermost piece of high velocity explosive had a conical cavity in its inner surface into which fitted an appropriately shaped piece of slow explosive. The purpose of these paired pieces was to form a lens that shaped a convex, expanding shock wave into a convex converging one. The lenses were made by precision casting, so meltable explosives were utilized. The lens system had to be made to very precise tolerances. The composition and densities of the explosives had to be accurately controlled and extremely uniform.

Fat Boy Thin

The pieces had to fit together with an accuracy of less than 1 mm to prevent irregularities in the shock wave which could alter the fission of the uranium. Accurate alignment of the lens surfaces was even more important than a close fit. A great deal of tissue paper and scotch tape was also used to make everything fit snugly together.

Each of the components of the bomb, from the lenses to the pit itself, were made as accurately as possible to insure accurate implosion and the highest densities possible in order to have efficient fission of the uranium. To achieve the most precise detonation synchronization possible in the outer lens system, conventional detonators consisting of an electrically heated wire, and a sequence of primary and secondary explosives were not used.


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Instead newly invented exploding wire detonators were used. This detonator consists of a thin wire that is explosively vaporized by a surge of current generated by a powerful capacitor. The shock wave of the exploding wire initiates the secondary explosive of the lenses. A disadvantage of this system is that large batteries, a high voltage power supply, and a very powerful capacitor bank the one used weighed lbs.

The whole explosive assembly was held together by a shell made of a strong aluminum alloy called dural or duraluminum.

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A number of other shell designs had been tried and discarded. This shell design, designated model , was made of an equatorial band bolted together from 5 segments of machined dural castings, with domed caps bolted to the top and bottom to make a complete sphere. The final bomb design allowed "trap door" assembly.

To complete the bomb, one of the domed caps was removed, along with one of the explosive lenses. The initiator was inserted between the plutonium hemispheres, and the assembled pit was inserted in a 40 kg uranium cylinder that slid into the tamper to make the complete core. The explosive lens was replaced, its detonator wires attached, and the cap bolted back into place.

Safety was a serious problem for Fat Man, though in a comparison of worst case accidents, not as serious a problem as it was for Little Boy. Any accidental detonation of the high explosive lenses in a fire or plane crash for example would be certain to collapse the uranium core to its supercritical state. The expected yield from the explosion would be on the order of tens of tons, roughly a factor of ten higher than the energy of the high explosive lens itself, but much less than the potential of the bomb.

This meant that even if the plane crashed, the bomb would not detonate to full yield. In order to explode to full kilotonage the explosive wires had to be detonated. For transportation feasibility, as well as safety reasons, Fat man and other implosion bombs were not transported in assembled form but were put together shortly before use. Due to the complexity of the weapon, this was a process that took at least 2 days. Weapons of this design could only be left in the assembled state for a few days due to deterioration of the explosive wire detonation batteries. Fat Man was the more powerful of the two bombs.

But this power came at a much greater cost, and a much more fragile design. Little Boy was much more conservative, and technologically easier to complete. The cost of this simplicity was power. Little Boy was dropped from the Enola Gay, one of the B bombers that flew over Hiroshima on that day. It was completed in February with only the field preparations necessary.

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