Science: Smithereens

As atom-smashing goes, the uranium bomb is a comparatively gentle affair. Fissioning the uranium atom is roughly comparable to cracking a ripe coconut in half with a well-placed tap: the atom splits neatly into two pieces (lighter atoms) and two or three almost infinitesimal particles (neutrons) that fly off like sparks. Atom smashers believe that they will eventually do much better than that.

When & if the atom really splits to pieces, it will be more like an exploding electric light bulb—smashed to smithereens. Last week some determined U.S. atom smashers, the cyclotron group at the University of California, coolly reported that...

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