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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lets go for mentioning something today which should, depending on your sensitivity, send you quite mad for up to three days if you really understand what I am about...or not at all! Now, imagine I am a secret agent. Here I am, Miss Molly Bond! And I have been given the task of preventing an hydrogen bomb from exploding.
There I am, sitting next to it, my face perhaps nine inches away from the control panel as the clock counts down. Three, two, one...Boom! Except there would be no boom. Not for me anyway. Why is that?
Now when one of these explodes, it reaches an internal temperature of 400,000,000°C!!! Which, as that's just plainly impossible to visualise or experience, here is a guide. Think of temperature as length. And take one centigrade to be the equivalent of 1 millimetre. So a lovely day in the Mediterranean, 40 C would be the equivalent of half the length of your thumb. The hottest flame we can make is about 3300 C which works out to nearly 11 feet. Therefore the temperature of an exploding hydrogen bomb reaches out to 248 miles!!! Get your head around that!
But anyway... Why will there be no boom for me? Because the expanding fireball produced (about 180 miles a second!!) will be of such tremendous velocity that by the time I've noticed that something strange is happening with the control panel, the fireball (of some millions of degrees) is already some 200 feet past me! And completely evaporated me of course. Almost totally instantaneously. So I'm not going to notice anything. Not a bad way to go actually. One moment I am sitting there with my screwdriver poking away at the control panel and then

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