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Why Einstein Thought Nuclear Weapons Impossible

Veritasium
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Without neutrons, harnessing nuclear energy would be impossible.
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A few years ago I made a documentary about uranium, radioactivity and radiation. I always thought of the characters in our story as the scientists and maybe the uranium nucleus itself. It was only through making the documentary that I realized the real hero of the story is the neutron. Without a neutral nuclear particle, it would be virtually impossible to release the energy from the nucleus. But with it, and the idea of a chain reaction, nuclear energy went from science fiction to reality. That is something I had not grasped as clearly before and it motivated me to make this video.

Filmed by Raquel Nuno.

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29 Nis 2018

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Daniel Jensen
Daniel Jensen 3 yıl önce
Important thing to remember, sometimes even brilliant scientists are completely wrong, but they are always proven wrong by people who are also experts in the field, not random keyboard warriors.
Weakest Man
Weakest Man 23 gün önce
being a keyboard warrior is like being a god
Hawken Fox
Hawken Fox Aylar önce
Science should respect all sorts of information input, experts or keyboard warrior don't matter. And why do you wanna silent people from their opinions by giving them a label? We should allow freedom to express if we love that freedom ourselves. Unless you like to be silent by force, your comment would sound logical.
Norman Reitzel
Norman Reitzel 4 aylar önce
Not at all. Random keyboard warriors have counted Heavily in Man's history. Sometimes being an "Expert" is a disadvantage, because of all the things you "Know are Impoossible". Like heavier than air flight. Remember those two far-from-experts in North Carolina, the Wrights?
Dada 92
Dada 92 4 aylar önce
Einstein never thought that or said that, he simply hadn’t thought about it at all until Leo Szilard explained the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction and Einstein famously remarked, "I did not even think about that" in German. Leo Szilard wrote a letter that Einstein signed that kicked off the Manhattan Project thinking Germany was close to creating its own nuke. If he believed that it was impossible, he wouldn't have signed that letter. Later on it turned out that Germany wasn't as far along as people thought they were when it came to building their nuke, which lead Einstein later to say he regrets signing the letter that led to the first nuke.
Nickolay Sheitanov
Nickolay Sheitanov 4 aylar önce
@Evil Seeds Grow Naturally don't argue with dumb comments claiming bs. Internet didn't even exist back then and stupid comments like his are the definition of keyboard warriors.
Ryan Salucci
Ryan Salucci Yıl önce
Nuclear fission is sort of like balancing on a knife’s edge, as you put it. However, for anyone who doesn’t have a good understanding of nuclear power generation, its important to point out that in the case of a reactor core, this seemingly terrifying “knife’s edge”, where too many neutrons can cause a nuclear explosion, isn’t actually possible. There are two main reasons for this; 1) Fuel-grade Uranium is nowhere near enriched enough to sustain a runaway supercritical nuclear reaction that results in a nuclear explosion. Weapons-grade Uranium must be enriched to about 90% U-235 for a bomb to be possible. Fuel-grade Uranium is only enriched to around 3% U-235. Therefore, there just aren’t enough fissionable nuclei present in a fuel rod for this to occur. 2) Nuclear fuel rods, by virtue of being shaped as elongated rods, have way too much surface area for neutrons to escape the fissile material before triggering too many more fissions. For this very reason, a bomb core has to be a near-perfect sphere in order for it to actually work (in addition to being above the supercritical mass for the Uranium or Plutonium used). So even if the Uranium in a reactor core were weapons-grade (it never would be), and even if the neutrons were perfectly moderated (slowed down to maximize the probability of triggering more fissions, and hence releasing more neutrons), the fact that the fuel rods are rods completely ruins any possibility of the core ever acting as a bomb (and thankfully so!). Anyway, I just thought I’d add this information just so that nobody gets the false idea that the knife’s edge analogy means that nuclear power reactors are just one mistake away from being a potential nuke, which is impossible.
touristguy87
touristguy87 4 gün önce
@Duncan Parks ...whatever you say dude
Duncan Parks
Duncan Parks 4 gün önce
@touristguy87 Dude, you act as if the Sun is energized by nuclear fission of heavy elements, rather than by fusion of light ones.
Paul Campbell
Paul Campbell 28 gün önce
The far, far, far more worrying prospect is just how easy it is (technical, engineering aspects) to make a viable nuke. (Gun type). The only thing that isn't really on your local super market shopping list is some explosives, a gun barrel and ... some HEU. It's the later that makes it difficult. You might struggle to get the neutron initialiser but it's probably available from a chem supplier. Unfortunately, I believe there is nearly a ton of HEU missing from the former Soviet union. It could be genuinely missing or it could be in the hands of a supplier waiting for the right price.
Paul Campbell
Paul Campbell 28 gün önce
Power reactor control is all about neutron flux and chain reaction fisons. If it's too low (less than 1) the reactor is/will be subcritical and will shut down after sometime, above 1 and it's super critical and the amount of reactions will be increasing. Passive and active systems (passive only in gen 5/6 reactors) prevent running away above 1. Bomb reactor control is all about getting the neutron flux as high as possible, as quickly as possible and holding it there as long as possible before the entire thing vaporises. The two are so far remote, for anyone with even a little bit of physics it starkly obvious that one cannot be accidentally created for the other. It's like saying fertilizing your house plants is the same thing as igniting a bag of ANFO
ArBoR
ArBoR Aylar önce
I am not reading that
Let’s Make Games
“People really should stop misquoting me” Albert Einstein
Tim H
Tim H Aylar önce
“Albert Einstein” -Albert Einstein
Satadru Das
Satadru Das Aylar önce
woww -Albert Einstein
Eric Parrish
Eric Parrish 2 aylar önce
@Poida rectifier?
Eric Parrish
Eric Parrish 2 aylar önce
I don't think he ever said anything like that. Maybe
2Stroke Tyson
2Stroke Tyson 4 aylar önce
@Earth especially since "boomers" were born between 1946 & 1964 I don't think the "ok boomer" people even know that!
Verlisify
Verlisify Yıl önce
Imagine if that dude never put the rock in the drawer
Simon Gail
Simon Gail 29 gün önce
@Verlisify fake peace. When it is fear of destruction that creates that peace.
ANIMATIONS VIDEO
ANIMATIONS VIDEO Aylar önce
Another dude will at some point
Memez of fuckery
Memez of fuckery 6 aylar önce
The world should’ve already been united under *one* planetary government after the World War trilogy was over. The British Empire has already become America’s bitch by the end of WW2, and was ideologically inline with America’s capitalist republic ideology. Just after all the centuries Europe explored the entire world, colonizing and conquering most lands, would Earth’s World Order would be determined by who can win this final war, with only 2 superpowers remaining.
Memez of fuckery
Memez of fuckery 6 aylar önce
The West would’ve taken over the world, in the sense that they would have the economic might to build a nuclear weapon first amidst a World War against the Soviets. With or without the bomb, both the Germans and Japanese would’ve lost WW2.
♫♪Ludwig van Beethoven♪♫
What if they found out sooner? Or what if dark age didnt happen and we would be living in mars by now
FatMan2539
FatMan2539 Yıl önce
"The fission of a single Uranium atom releases 20 times less energy than the amount required to raise a grain of sand the thickness of a piece of paper" - that's still a pretty impressive amount of energy tbh considering how small atoms are
Xavier Lopes
Xavier Lopes 3 aylar önce
Every atom is an electro-static polar dynamo (magnet). The one-dimensional view of the atom as shown to us by quackademia is nothing more than the top view of the toroidal magnetic field. Valances are electrostatic levels (not electrons)
Sailaja Kanugula
Sailaja Kanugula 3 aylar önce
Wtf bro i was reading this comment and I heard this line lol
touristguy87
touristguy87 6 aylar önce
not to mention how many atoms of uranium are in a grain of sand
Siddhesh Girase
Siddhesh Girase 8 aylar önce
He said that because at that time using proton you could only shoot one nucleus. So the energy generated would be no good in doing significant work. Until they found how to do a chain reaction!
Berry Amv
Berry Amv Yıl önce
I read this the moment he said
Aquaman
Aquaman Yıl önce
"Damn" - Albert Einstein
Jesroe
Jesroe Aylar önce
@Elijah Flynt the world would be run by japan
༒☬*ToRnADO*☬༒
༒☬*ToRnADO*☬༒ 3 aylar önce
@Classified you WOULD HAVE SAID *IF* YOU WE *ALIVE*
Ruben Lopes
Ruben Lopes 4 aylar önce
"there goes that tenner I just bet..." - Albert Einstein
Ayan Ali
Ayan Ali 4 aylar önce
more like DAYUMMM
Steve Lowe
Steve Lowe 4 aylar önce
@Priyanshi Agarwal Get a life you loser
David M.
David M. Yıl önce
When Charlie Chaplin met Albert Einstein, Albert said "What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don't say a word, yet the world understands you" Chaplin: 'True. But your glory is even greater! The whole world admires you, even though they don't understand a word of what you say
Zen
Zen 3 aylar önce
@Varad Lele OT208 That happened in a reality that's inside your head, yes. Not in the actual reality
Fred The RNDMRTPSTR
@Varad Lele OT208 oh it did? Well, fantastic!
Varad Lele OT208
Varad Lele OT208 Yıl önce
@Fred The RNDMRTPSTR that happened. In reality it happened
Fred The RNDMRTPSTR
that may not have happenned but it is funny
hi
hi Yıl önce
Lol
Tmanaz480
Tmanaz480 Yıl önce
Notice how carefully Einstein put it: "There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable". He spoke in the present tense about the current state of science in 1933. He did not pronounce it impossible like the others.
Alejandro Enciso
Alejandro Enciso Yıl önce
Yes, and “Veritasium” is using the word “impossible “ in his title which is not true and misleading
Will Erwin
Will Erwin 4 aylar önce
One factual error: it’s actually easy to keep a nuclear reactor operating at a steady level of power. The physics involved make reactors self-stabilizing. It’s not a matter of balancing on a knife’s edge; it’s a matter of getting into and staying in a deep rut. Making a nuclear weapon is far harder than making a nuclear reactor; you have to overcome those factors by creating a combination of unnatural conditions with a hundredth-of-a-millionth-of-a-second precision timing. Nuclear reactors cannot explode like nuclear weapons can. Worst case, they can spike in heat and cause a much smaller chemical or steam explosion.
MysteriousSeven
MysteriousSeven 4 aylar önce
Interesting, I still find using all nuclear devices balancing on a knifes edge, but the clarity is appreciated.
Matthias B.
Matthias B. Yıl önce
3:14 Never having thought about it in that way, I think it is quite amazing that the energy from a single nuclear reaction is only an order of magnitude off from some vaguely "macroscopic" energy.
SecretRaginMan
SecretRaginMan 4 yıl önce
"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong." -Arthur C. Clarke
NLTops
NLTops 16 gün önce
@a day in the life of Levi Me, in awe of your intellect: Bravo, bravo my man.
a day in the life of Levi
@NLTops me an intellectual: speed of light is speed of light
Shu Xu
Shu Xu 28 gün önce
@Gordon Richardson 6
QWE RTY
QWE RTY Aylar önce
@BoJack Horseman speed of light is possible. for light
abc
abc Aylar önce
@BoJack Horseman we shall see about that in future
Blackholefourspam
Technically it was always possible to harness nuclear decay for energy. You just had to do it in mass quantities. That’s in large part the heat that drives geothermal energy.
Brendan Yazzie
Brendan Yazzie 4 aylar önce
So basically, at the time, we had no idea how to cause a chain reaction to release all of that energy at once. Therefore, deemed impossible because we have never seen an atom, let alone split them at will.
SephirothRyu
SephirothRyu Yıl önce
Its not nearly so much a knife's edge as you make it out to be with regards to a fission reactor. Individual fuel pieces are large enough to generate enough neutrons such that, if you absorb a little fewer of them, the reaction gets back to where you want it with some ease. If anything, absorbing too many neutrons just reduces power output.
Jacek
Jacek Yıl önce
Some corrections 1. You cannot turn a nuclear plant into a bomb if u dont absorb neutrons. The core would just melt down. 2. There was no nuclear explosion in Chernobyl.
The Bound Bowman
The Bound Bowman 3 yıl önce
Imagine throwing uranium in your drawer next to your keys.
Duncan Parks
Duncan Parks 4 gün önce
I had some in my drawer at work. Uranium ore doesn't require a license because it's not enriched, and the half-lives of its isotopes are immense (700 million and half a billion years)...but it is great as a source for a geiger counter demonstration. The alpha and beta emission won't get out of the drawer; paper stops alpha (a helium nucleus), and we used to use 1/4" plexiglass as a quite effective beta (electron) shield. BTW U-235 and -238 are only alpha emitters, but some of its decay products (like thorium-234) are beta-emitters. As long as you don't inhale or consume an alpha emitter, you have much more to fear from an x-ray or high-altitude flight (cosmic rays).
MegaMaxiepad
MegaMaxiepad 11 aylar önce
I always use foil to wrap it BEFORE leaving it in a drawer. Life hack!
Manny
Manny Yıl önce
@Zyzarda I know, I don’t know who typed that 10 months ago
Zyzarda
Zyzarda Yıl önce
@Manny no sane man would assuming throwing uranium has the possibility of doing anything other than being a rock.
Zyzarda
Zyzarda Yıl önce
@Wolf Davis this happens, constantly, everyday, everywhere in the world. calm urself kiddo
Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly 4 aylar önce
The key to sustained, stable chain reactions is the fact that some of the fission neutrons generated are delayed by as much as a few milliseconds. That transforms the "knife edge balance" problem into a trivial control problem. Well, that and the design of the reactor to only achieve criticality with thermal neutrons, i.e. neutrons moving as slowly as a hydrogen atom at room temperature. The probability of a neutron causing a fission is maximum at such low energy, and drops dramatically with increasing neutron energy. So reactors have to employ a moderator, to slow down the fission neutrons - something like hydrogen (as in water) or carbon (as in graphite). It's best not to use both, or you get a Chernobyl situation, just FYI.
Pre Poster
Pre Poster Yıl önce
From fiction to non-fiction. That's amazing. This is why I like science.
Raffi Molero
Raffi Molero 10 aylar önce
Notice Einstein's quote: "There is not the slightest *indication* (not 'possibility') that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable." He then provides the _requirement_ to finish the problem. Man didn't think it was purely impossible. Just not with current tech.
Youber
Youber Aylar önce
@ducc lol, Its ok, im still here, also, that make sense
ducc
ducc Aylar önce
also excuse me for being 9 months late
ducc
ducc Aylar önce
Well, I feel like "indication" refers more towards "proof" or "a hint", so if I'm right, he would've meant "There is not the slightest proof/hint that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable".
RamboJesus
RamboJesus 9 aylar önce
Einstein definitely believed we could harness Nuclear Power. His friend literally built a nuclear reactor...
brianuuuSonic
brianuuuSonic Yıl önce
I'm going to remember right now that people think fusion energy is an impossibility, I'm really hoping this will happen within the next 100 years, I would love to see this in my lifetime
SLAM YOUR HEAD IN
SLAM YOUR HEAD IN 9 aylar önce
@logitech4873 people still believe the earth is flat. Nothing really is surprising these days.
MrDoitfrombehind
MrDoitfrombehind 10 aylar önce
thats not even true
logitech4873
logitech4873 10 aylar önce
@Big L I mean people still think nuclear bombs are impossible so I'm not surprised.
Big L
Big L Yıl önce
Being that fusion has successfully been done, thinking that it is an impossible source of energy is absurd. It currently requires more energy to initiate a fusion reaction than what is yeilded, but shows it is possible and as research develops, it will be the future of energy production.
CV990A
CV990A 3 aylar önce
Anyone seeking an overview of the intellectual history of how the physicists (with assists from a few key chemists) figured out (over the course of decades) everything necessary to construct the bomb should read Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which has a very detailed account. It includes accounts of such things as Fermi's construction of the first atomic pile (i.e. first primitive nuclear reactor) in Chicago, including discussions of how he ensured that it would operate enough, but not too much... Rhodes's book is a must read.
Gregory Colvin-Garcia
Derek, HUGE fan of your work - I work in Nuclear Power and the only exception I take to this episode is your use of Chernobyl and atomic bomb in the same sentence relative to disaster. Its important to separate these two ideas given that the chain reactions that lead to Nuclear bombs occur only in "bomb grade" Uranium or Plutonium, meaning they have near 100% densities of fissile isotopes, unlike commercial Nuclear Power plant fuel which has less than 10% fissile isotope density... Your audience needs to be aware of this because it is a common misconception concerning Nuclear Power Electric Production and future high tech Nuclear Power plants still have the potential to provide the most carbon neutral and environmentally beneficial power - ever.
HitMasjien69
HitMasjien69 Yıl önce
I studied biochemistry & chemistry at college, but decided that it wasn't a career I wanted to pursue. Your channel keeps me interested in the scientific field I love. I'm super grateful for this. Thanks, a secret science nerd.
Ian Enderby
Ian Enderby Yıl önce
Good video, but would have been interesting and more useful/honest to describe a bit more about how this reaction is controllable in nuclear power plants rather than just referencing the time it went wrong which is incredibly rare. Nuclear power is the future and we need to stop creating more fear around it and start helping people really understand.
Michael Mele
Michael Mele Yıl önce
Thank you! I've always wondered what the output of a single split atom would be, and specifically whether it would be able to generate an explosion visible to the naked eye. Thanks for the answer
andy lenow
andy lenow 4 aylar önce
YOU CANT SPLIT AN ATOM, FUCKWAD.
andy lenow
andy lenow 9 aylar önce
YOU CANT SPLIT ATOMS. ITS ALL HORSESHIT. WHEN PLUTONIUM AND URANIUM ARE COMBINED TOGETHER IN A SLOW, CONTROLLED MANNER, THEY PRODUCE HEAT, WHICH BOILS THE WATER, MAKING STEAM, WHICH TURNS THE TURBINES. THATS IT. THE MAX TEMP OF A NUCLEAR REACTOR IS 135 DEGREES. NO SUCH THING AS NUKES OR ATOMIC WEAPONS.
uggligr
uggligr Yıl önce
Another great book about the Bomb is "The Secret HIstory of the Atomic Bomb" by Anthony Cave Brown. This was taken from the official history of the Manhattan Project, which is about the size of an encyclopedia. There are a lot of ellipses ... which represents edits. It has a dry "just the facts" approach and deals mostly with physics and engineering. "The Making of the Atomic Bomb deals mostly with the personalities of the scientists, which is very entertaining reading. I recommend both. You get something from each.
Dan Arrington
Dan Arrington 9 aylar önce
I think it is important to point out that nuclear power plants and coal fired power plants are almost identical. The only difference is the fuel. They both use heat to boil water to create highly pressurized steam. That steam is then channeled into a turbine connected to a generator.
Robert Hurst
Robert Hurst 9 aylar önce
Love the videos. Have you thought about doing a video on thorium reactors or liquid salt breader reactors?
TheShadowIsMine
TheShadowIsMine 2 yıl önce
Word to the wise, never be the person quoted as saying something can’t be done haha.
AP
AP Aylar önce
@everyone lol, where can I find sun or even heavier object to bend the space?
everyone
everyone Aylar önce
@AP So don't travel at the speed of light. Use gravity to bend the space around you Bob Lazar style.
AP
AP Aylar önce
Einstein also said it is not possible to travel at speed more than speed of light and therefore travel to another galaxy impossible
dubya85
dubya85 Aylar önce
maybe he was right
Paul Nnamdi
Paul Nnamdi 2 aylar önce
There are certain idea I had confidently said were impossible and I think it will still always be true. I won't make this kind of comment if I don't understand it.
Travis Duggins
Travis Duggins Yıl önce
Chernobyl was not an atomic explosion. It happened due to the water around the reactor reaching such extreme temperatures that the hydrogen and oxygen in the water broke down and caused a hydrogen/oxygen explosion. At lower enrichment concentrations U-235 cannot be turned into a bomb. When it is enriched past 80% then it is considered bomb fuel. So technically yes the mistake of the failed experiment at chernobyl was caused by the increase in fission but it was not the actual fission energy directly that caused the explosion.
Cat in a bag
Cat in a bag 4 aylar önce
I like to imagine that he just knew how destructive nuclear weapons would be and wanted to try and deflect us from exploring nuclear
Nuno Hipólito
Nuno Hipólito 10 aylar önce
I love how great discoveries are made just leaving stuff around
Alain Lalonde
Alain Lalonde 4 aylar önce
They're not all good discoveries. But, I feel ya... I need to clean the place... sigh...
Fallen🇺🇲 Wolf
Fallen🇺🇲 Wolf 9 aylar önce
Imagine what the earth would be like if humans never mined it for materials other then the basic material like water,wood, food.
Ray of Light 62
Ray of Light 62 Yıl önce
Great video, thanks. It was Lise Meitner, a genius in disguise (and exile), who opened the eyes to Otto Hann, by describing - out of thin air - the chain of transmutation caused by fission, so opening the entire field of practical applications of nuclear reactions.
andy lenow
andy lenow 4 aylar önce
THERE IS NO CHAIN YOU MORON.
Ridwan Setiadi
Ridwan Setiadi 2 yıl önce
The Sci-Fi writer: "They called me a mad man."
Eric Parrish
Eric Parrish 2 aylar önce
@alex xans where's my big buddy
The COVID-19 Coronavirus
@G that’s not a perpetual bomb. The funny thing about nuclear physics is so long as the technology is kept out of the hands of socialist and communist do you wind up with pretty clean energy
racookster
racookster Yıl önce
@I before A except after K- You made me search. Apparently, the first guy who wrote about a faster-than-light drive was John W. Campbell Jr. in the 1931 novella "Islands of Space," although he didn't call it a "hyperdrive." He called it a "space strain drive." Before that, science fiction writers either ignored the FTL problem or had a character assert that Einstein had been wrong.
Dragon_Eat3r
Dragon_Eat3r Yıl önce
Seeing that after being the first person to ever mention would be a nightmare
MeisterJohnny007
MeisterJohnny007 Yıl önce
Reminds me of the fantasy LitRPG book "They Called Me Mad" by J Pal The beginning was pretty funny. But I haven't read further yet 😅
FireLord33
FireLord33 Yıl önce
Imagine if Einstein knew it was possible, but didn't say anything, because he knew about the destruction it would cause if they were built
Doğuş Şahin
Doğuş Şahin Yıl önce
This begs the question, what other particles we havent observed yet that will give way to even more fascinating innovations (or weapons)
kosc88
kosc88 7 aylar önce
It only shows how unpredictable turns can science take, and we tend to think we've unlocked the entire "science tree", yet our knowledge might be a tiny fragment of what's possible. Even the greatest minds are still subject to fall under their ego.
Titus Magnus Ein Universum aus Kuchen
Great explanation and very nice to hear about the historical background.
purifiedH202
purifiedH202 Yıl önce
isn’t it crazy that this whole “atom” and science knowledge is still new. Imagine in 100 years how much we evolved with knowledge.
Vid Lonc
Vid Lonc 22 gün önce
@Joji Joestar this guy said it, ancient greeks were already close to the concept but had no way of determining whether its true
Adam Lee
Adam Lee 2 aylar önce
No the United States government made it up to scare you that's why it only just happened within a hundred years ago use your damn head
Memento Mori
Memento Mori 4 aylar önce
@Sebastianator01 Nobody in this comment section is intelligent. It's the dunning-kruger effect in action, they believe that because they can easily google everything today that they are smart for quoting other scientists. Nobody in this comment section has ever done a single experiment nor came up with any theory. Regurgitating literature from established scientists is the closest they will ever get to doing "research".
Sebastianator01
Sebastianator01 4 aylar önce
This comment section is cancerous. Intelligence is just another way of people thinking themselves higher than others.
Catisreckless
Catisreckless 4 aylar önce
We'll be long dead by then.
carbsncaffeine
carbsncaffeine 4 aylar önce
I just read about this in a chemistry textbook, everything is pretty accurate. The only thing I'm surprised he didn't talk about was Marie Curie and her research in radioactivity. She won two nobel prizes.
Makaneek
Makaneek Yıl önce
E=mc² and neutrons now seem so fundamental that it's amazing neither were known about 130 years ago.
Stanley Urey
Stanley Urey 3 aylar önce
Imagine if we were able to absorb energy in a matter, then we would be able to stop neuclear explosions.
Dont Check My About Page Link
I'm honestly impressed by the time and effort you put into these videos, Keep it up! 🥰
Lucas
Lucas 4 aylar önce
Crazy how we discovered the neutron in 1932 and then utilized an atomic bomb in warfare only 13 years later
Donald Weber
Donald Weber Yıl önce
The thing with You Tube videos are content, interesting topics and for me a host whose voice and manner of speaking isn't irritating or worse, boring. This guy hits all the buttons to the good side. I was a US Navy nuke back in the mid 70's. Nuke School and all that stuff. Didn't go into that field after my hitch but it has always held a fascination for me. The best thing I can say about Veritasium is that it makes me think. Good Video's!
Lynx Firenze
Lynx Firenze 9 aylar önce
To be fair, Einstein did (intentionally or not) qualify his statement by implying that sure: If you could split the atom at will you could make nuclear power. But there was no method known at the time.
Stephen Jackson
Stephen Jackson Yıl önce
What you purposefully failed to mention is that soon after the discovery of the neutron, which was right after Einstein said we couldn't harness nuclear power (based on the assumption of only protons in the nucleus), Einstein said it could be done with neutrons. And he actively, though reluctantly, helped the US do it because he knew Hitler would do it as well and the only solution was to beat them to the punch, even though doing so could doom humanity in the future. Your complete and utter dismissive attitude toward Einstein by purposefully ignoring the rest of the story means I now ban your channel forever.
Char char
Char char 9 aylar önce
“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shared at will,” Einstein said in 1933. Well that aged well only 12 years later
Richard Loewenhagen
Richard Loewenhagen 10 aylar önce
Well-stated. A very simple explanation of a very difficult concept.
Gyps
Gyps 4 aylar önce
very clear explanation... well done in explaining a complex topic so that people who aren't in that particular field of science/engineering can understand
James Harvey
James Harvey Aylar önce
Einstein probably stated this to oppress the fact that nuclear weapons can be a thing in future decades. The fact that Einstein said that statement is truly remarkable to adhere to his moral ethics as a scientist because such invention can be destructive and can cause humanity's extinction. But nowadays, scientists are literally becoming "Mad Scientists" forgetting their moral ethics and their purpose to improve human living on this planet.
Gursimar Miglani
Gursimar Miglani 4 yıl önce
A proton, a neutron, and helium walk into a bar and order three beers. The bartender appears with 3 beers and asks the proton, “Are you sure you’re over 21?” The proton replies, “I’m positive.” So the bartender gives him the first beer. He gives the second beer to the neutron and says, “For you, no charge.” He throws the third beer in helium’s face. Helium doesn’t react.
Frank G
Frank G 2 aylar önce
I don't think a bartender would throw anything at a nobleman
nutsbetA
nutsbetA 2 yıl önce
😂
Vince Carl Serna
Vince Carl Serna 2 yıl önce
Helium is a noble gas
Ultralagger R.E.V
Ultralagger R.E.V 2 yıl önce
Gursimar Miglani this is so funny 😂
not_MythicPlayz
not_MythicPlayz 2 yıl önce
Stupid
tripillthreat
tripillthreat Yıl önce
So once again Einstein was right. His careful answer - that there was, at the time, “not the slightest indication” that nuclear energy was obtainable, and that in order to extract it we would have to be able to shatter the atom at will - was exactly on the money.
nik
nik Yıl önce
It's insane how advanced scientists from the early 1900s already have been
delukard07
delukard07 4 aylar önce
the thing is, that this just proves that things we consider impossible , could be very possible , we just lack the knowledge.
Shambolic Entity
Shambolic Entity 6 aylar önce
The release of energy by nuclear reactions has no more (or less) to do with E=mc^2 than the release of energy by chemical reactions.
Bananas Explains
Bananas Explains 2 yıl önce
Short answer: neutron had not been found yet when he said that.
Smoothly Rough
Smoothly Rough Yıl önce
Nothing else had been discovered when he made his WILD allegations, yet they all came true decades later
tuiso
tuiso Yıl önce
Plot twist: Einstein knew all along it was possible, but denied it to prevent the production of such a disastrous weapon.
J one
J one Yıl önce
@347Jimmy doesn’t matter man This argument brings you zero happiness
Goutam Boppana
Goutam Boppana Yıl önce
@347Jimmy thats the goodness (not the right word) of albert
QuantumRobin🐦
QuantumRobin🐦 Yıl önce
Much like Tesla assumed voltage could travel vast distances in open air, built that badass tower but it was never meant to be, the earths atmosphere turned out to be a pesky insulator
Jason Crittenden
Jason Crittenden Yıl önce
This is why I’ve had reservations about thinking fusion energy is going to be impossible
Electrolysis Research
Electrolysis Research 5 aylar önce
The true reason he didn't think it was possible, is because he did not yet understand the electrical ignition system. The only way this reaction works is if the ignition system is the correct resonance frequency to shatter the atoms. Because the energy they create to split the atom is astronomically not even close to enough to split the atom.
robin sonner
robin sonner Yıl önce
I think the real lesson here is not about physics but about how even the smartest people can be very unwise. Having said that it may be slightly easier to say in 2021 that Humans will eventually be able to do anything, and therefore slightly easier to 'be wise', than it was in 1921. ( when we didn't have tiny computers in our pockets communicating with orbiting satellites and able to retrieve any piece of human knowledge we want)
Spoiler Alert
Spoiler Alert Yıl önce
What you did not mention is that they thought a nuclear bomb could set off a chain reaction that would destroy the universe. But, they still went ahead with the testing?
向你祖母問好
向你祖母問好 3 yıl önce
Scientists : "YOU CANT DO THAT!" Also scientists : "Look just did it lol "
channel name
channel name 9 aylar önce
@Władca Wymiaru science isn't the answers, it's the process of finding those answer don't be surprised when a scientist gets something wrong and changes their original theory
meAMTHEME
meAMTHEME 9 aylar önce
Branden my brain just melted all my brain cells gone
Braden R
Braden R Yıl önce
@Władca Wymiaru global warming may be fake but climate change is not
AAA AAA
AAA AAA Yıl önce
​@Władca Wymiaru Maybe don't call scientists dumb if you only keep citing one source over and over again, the community is literally the definition of an echo chamber and you need to read up on different sources even if they don't agree with all of your views. Also pardon the ad hominem, but I doubt you are educated well enough to refute climatologists that have dedicated their lives to researching the subject.
darksuprise
darksuprise Yıl önce
@Władca Wymiaru u belive bill gates created the viruas?
ahh thats just grand
ahh thats just grand 11 aylar önce
Pretty sure Einstein contributed to the creation of the atomic bomb. I believe he believed it was possible but did not want others to believe it was possible because of the damage it could do. I wouldn’t want to believe it, it’s unscientific to use atomic power for destructive purposes, it’s constructive for other things. But if the goal is progress, the means are peace, and that end is scientific in peace.
Trolldier • 75 years and
Alright, from what I understand is that anything impossible will be possible in the future but if someone awarded with their intelligence says it's impossible then the chance of possibility increases exponentially.
List
List 6 aylar önce
I've never imagined how such a powerful bomb would obtain it's energy from the nucleus of atoms.. the smallest unit of matter. Also, HOW ON EARTH DID Einstein figure out that the energy was coming from the mass of the nucleus?
andy lenow
andy lenow 4 aylar önce
HEY, SPACE NERD......NO SUCH THINGS AS NUKES. GET IT THRU YOUR HEAD.
Omgdodogamer
Omgdodogamer 4 aylar önce
"the smallest unit of matter" quarks: am i a joke to you?
Ciki Ciki Bum Bum
Ciki Ciki Bum Bum 5 aylar önce
He's not the first one who figured it out, because electron is relatively massless, hence the mass must come from proton (neutron wasn't discovered yet). but the discovery of new model of atom was more phenomenal, because they found out that protons are glued together inside nucleus which thought impossible since particle with same charge should repel each other and also the nucleus is pretty much small relative to atom size. the force that glued the protons inside nucleus later was called nuclear force. that is the force that Albert Einstein thought impossible to harness until the discovery of neutron (particle that has neutral charge).
ralfcis
ralfcis Yıl önce
I have a science question. Judging by Einstein's derivation of E=mc2 I don't think he had a clue it meant matter can be converted to energy. He just redefined the term mass to include both matter and energy and therefore mass's equivalence to energy. According to NDG Tyson (who's almost always wrong) Lise Meitner was the first to connect Einy's equation with the specific conversion of matter to energy. Einy's formula was not specific, it applied to mass gain in a car pushed up a hill. Einy just fluked into having his formula apply to the few examples when matter and energy actually convert.
Kami sama
Kami sama Yıl önce
"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible" ~Lord Kelvin, 1895 Wright Brothers, 1903: Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today.
rgderen88
rgderen88 Aylar önce
Perry?
N1ppe
N1ppe Aylar önce
@BrianComics not yet but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
HeLe Minecraft
HeLe Minecraft 2 aylar önce
i know i am a little bit late, but i have to correct you, it was Otto Lilienthal who sucessfully built a flying machine that was heavier than air and flew with it
i
i 4 aylar önce
@ANNEX AMV "Heavier than air" and it must be crafted out. Idea for heavier than air flying machines lasted for several thousands years. None succeed in making one, before the Wrights. Shivkar Bapuji Talpade claimed to make one in 1895, but there was not any reliable records. There was also some British dudes that make a craft in like 50 years before the Wrights, but unfortunately theirs only "fly" for a few meters, thus theirs was not count.
ANNEX AMV
ANNEX AMV 4 aylar önce
Um... Actually an Indian scholar named Shivkar Bapuji Talpade invented the first flying machine.
Paras Mehta
Paras Mehta 4 aylar önce
Very nicely explained. Thank you
Sans
Sans 11 aylar önce
I wonder how Einstein would react to nuclear physics if he was alive
rom guttman
rom guttman 4 aylar önce
What stops the chain reaction in a bomb? Once it started, especialy at an exponantial rate, why doesnt it exploads all atoms around it releasing more nutrons (and so on)? Thanks
SoggyFlipp
SoggyFlipp Yıl önce
Scientists: **make a groundbreaking discovery that can help all of the humanity** America: "finally... A weapon that can cause an ever massive destruction"
Big L
Big L Yıl önce
@Krokant "Operation Downfall" would have been far deadlier for all parties involved vs the use of the atomic bombs. The US government nor the public would accept conditional surrender from Japan that was offered prior to Truman's use of the bombs. If "Operation Downfall" proceeded, it is estimated that Japan would have suffered 10 million casualties as America would suffer 1-4 million. Also, Russia would have been involved that would have gave them influence in the Pacific. Damn the use of the atomic bombs if you must. It should be as war should be in general. I would not characterize using the bombs as right or necessary, but just as a means of ending the war in the Pacific theatre that was far less deadly than the alternative.
Randy Random
Randy Random Yıl önce
@Krokant because nuclear bombs saved far more lives than the ended.
Reyllan Tenefrancia
@Tfan So does every superpower in existence Soviets invaded poland in the 1920s, the British supressed an Irish Rebellion during WW1, and The European empires that spans multiple countries.
Reyllan Tenefrancia
@Krokant Yeah as if Imperial Japan has really embraced morality and humanity during their conquest in China.
Musiccer
Musiccer Yıl önce
@Ben Peeples well, it’s them who developed it while Germany actually had it rather as a side project. Let’s be honest, if no other country had it, the US would have secured its power and would destroy regimes and countries in their interest, something they do already more than other countries but it clearly would be even more if they had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. It’s good that everybody has these weapons, not bad
Choxolet yo
Choxolet yo 3 yıl önce
Step 1: become a scientist Step 2: say space travel isn't possible Step 3: wait 20 years Step 4:?? Step:5 profit
Leia Organa
Leia Organa 4 aylar önce
@Mr. Robert He is iron man after all.
Mr. Robert
Mr. Robert 4 aylar önce
@Leia Organa Wow Leia: You made that comment 2 years ago, now look at him look at what he has accomplished amazing
Mr. Robert
Mr. Robert 4 aylar önce
@Kat SpicErt Step 6. You're over extending that comment. It's like a comedian using the same joke over and over to the same crowd.
Mr. Robert
Mr. Robert 4 aylar önce
Amazing all the replies you got for a comment that is a little shaky
OrangeC7
OrangeC7 Yıl önce
​@Kat SpicErt Step 1: profit Step 2: invent time travel Step 3: Wait 2 years Step 4: Tell yourself time travel is impossible Step 5: ???
MAUS
MAUS 5 aylar önce
The explosion at Chernobyl was not caused by atomic fission but a hydrogen explosion.
Pr0style
Pr0style Yıl önce
Wow, this video just taught me the difference between how an atom bomb and a power plant works in less than a minute (at least, the easy explanation). Genuinely great
Pr0style
Pr0style 9 aylar önce
@andy lenow lol, good one
andy lenow
andy lenow 9 aylar önce
I HAVE A SIMPLER EXPLANATION. NO SUCH THING AS ATOMIC WEAPONS. URANIUM AND PLUTONIUM ARE METALLIC ATOMS, WHICH CAN NEVER CAUSE AN EXPLOSION. ONLY CHEMICALS CAN CAUSE AN EXPLOSION. THATS WHY ANY NUKE EXPLOSION HAS ALL THAT DIRTY BLACK SMOKE. ITS ALL HUGE AMOUNTS OF TNT.
Mr Cow579
Mr Cow579 Yıl önce
Imagine if Einstein was alive today and what we would achieve
JacketCK
JacketCK Yıl önce
"we would need to have atoms shatter at will" Little did Einstein know, that is exactly what we did
Memento Mori
Memento Mori 4 aylar önce
People saying "we" on these topics when they don't even contribute to society, let alone humanity as a whole.
Alaïd Idnalid
Alaïd Idnalid 10 aylar önce
He knew the "at will" part was a necessarity to get the energy out but he did not know how yet so he worded that by "no indication" which wasn't a lie at the time. But he found out as he lived to see it 10 years before he passed away.
surry99
surry99 10 aylar önce
This is really quite interesting, every single video I have watched of this guy contains mistakes. But he has almost 11M subscribers. A very sad comment on the state of critical thinking.
Golbez
Golbez Yıl önce
an AI could walk the edge of a razor blade indefinitely... i wonder how nuclear power plants controlled the fission so well in times before AI
Victor Wallec
Victor Wallec 11 aylar önce
"I never said it was impossible, I said it wouldnt be smart" Albert Einstein
Richard Smith
Richard Smith 4 aylar önce
TLDR: Einstein thought nuclear weapons via proton enrichment was impossible. And he is right. The neutron wasn't discovered yet.
r
r Yıl önce
“The longest supporter of this channel: Audible” his first patreon supporter:
Egg Eggington
Egg Eggington Yıl önce
That profile picture xD
Dave Boonen
Dave Boonen Yıl önce
@Meek 🤗
zither q
zither q Yıl önce
@Ethorbit what about his mom? Lol
Tr1gger
Tr1gger Yıl önce
profile picture is so accurate to the comment
trumpet_boooi
trumpet_boooi Yıl önce
pfp fits too well
Richard Keller
Richard Keller Yıl önce
If you could find dark matter then I wonder what would happen if you shot dark matter at an atom. Although dark matter sounds like a neutron that absorbs light. If the opposite of a proton is electron, then couldn’t the opposite of a Neutron be dark matter and could an atom contain dark matter?
Programmer 47
Programmer 47 10 gün önce
Chernobyl wasn't simply "runaway chain reaction." You made it seem like one tiny variable and everything went wrong, and that isn't the case. You'll also implied that if something went wrong, suddenly a nuclear power plant was back to being a nuclear weapon, which is physically impossible. Chernobyl had a steam explosion, not a nuclear one, and there isn't enough enriched fuel at power plants for nuclear explosions to occur. A nitpick, but it's things like this that inadvertently scare people for no reason.
Daniel Sheehy
Daniel Sheehy Yıl önce
I wonder how much longer it would have taken to develop nuclear devices if uranium 235 didn't exist. I believe it is the only naturally occurring isotopes which generates more neutrons in the nuclear fission process than are used. Plutonium 239 could have been made from uranium 238 with other neutron sources but that would have been a difficult feat.
Ric o
Ric o Yıl önce
He is wrong about the speed of light limit too. He came up with that to conform physics to his thinking. In 500 years I bet this will all be a chapter in kindergarten school books. But hey, we primitive people from the XXI century will never know.
panda4247
panda4247 3 yıl önce
6:04 ...the neutron is the hero.. or the villain. No, i think he is neither, he is quite neutral. (sorry, bad joke)
Roger
Roger 6 aylar önce
Might be a bad joke, but amusing anyway.
Alpakapucuf
Alpakapucuf 9 aylar önce
I really like that joke
Shubham Rathi
Shubham Rathi Yıl önce
@Christopher G nice!
Aurora
Aurora 2 yıl önce
Get out
vennapu vamsi kishore
nah my man, its a neutral joke.
Norman Reitzel
Norman Reitzel 4 aylar önce
When asked what valuable info he got from the Americans, Igor Kurchatov replied, "The single most important insight the Soviets learned was that it was 'Possible.' " So Einstein's attitude was very understandable.
Bratzo Guibovich
Bratzo Guibovich 17 gün önce
is there a video where you can review down to earth real solutions to the energy problem? like the carbon footprint of "green" energy vs nuclear plants... and such?
Vignesh M
Vignesh M Yıl önce
Detailed explanation..Chronologically ordered.. Comparing and explaining with simple example like Energy from phosphorous material to uranium energy release.. And how nobel prize winners falsely believed and thought of neutron changes all.. was good
mrduud
mrduud Yıl önce
It annoys me that my childhood framing of atomic bombs and nuclear bombs has distracted me from the deeper revelation of how much energy is inside atoms. We need to stop and reflect on this. All this potential energy is sitting around us all the time in everything!
amazingannyoing
amazingannyoing 2 yıl önce
Leo Szilard: *crosses a street* Leo Szilard thinking to himself: "If i can find an element which is split by neutrons and emit 2 neutrons when hit 1 neutron then such an element assembled in sufficiently large mass could sustain a nuclear reaction "
SUBHRADIP POREL
SUBHRADIP POREL 2 aylar önce
​@Son Of Montreal son of devil, that was hilarious; lmao good job XD
koray kapu
koray kapu 5 aylar önce
thats how ideas work
List
List 6 aylar önce
nuclear chain reaction*
omstR
omstR 6 aylar önce
Average scientist
EbOian_X65
EbOian_X65 6 aylar önce
Damn if he'd got hit by a car then he would've been satisfied cuz weeeeell it matches his present thought
Goddess Lena
Goddess Lena Yıl önce
"shatter at will" damn it Einstein you gave us the idea
Shadowhenge
Shadowhenge Yıl önce
I think he suspected but realized how horrifying it would be, and hoped noone would investigate further.
BList
BList Yıl önce
Without watching this video I really hope his reason isn't that he believes humans have good intentions and won't use nuclear power to devastate
Blake Only
Blake Only Yıl önce
Ok, but how exactly did they figure out how to fire these neutrons at nuclei with any accuracy?
Joseph Anderson
Joseph Anderson 3 yıl önce
I feel like your comment on nuclear power plants becoming unstable due to absorbing too few neutrons, while true, is misleading in that you mentioned the explosion at Chernobyl after talking about nuclear bombs. The explosion at Chernobyl was not a nuclear one. A nuclear power plant (even a poorly designed one like Chernobyl) just doesn't have uranium in a dense enough formation to make that happen. The explosion at Chernobyl was actually caused when the balance you were talking about caused a rapid buildup of steam pressure which ruptured the reactor and spread fuel and fission products into the atmosphere. It saddens me to see the misconception "Nuclear power plants are unsafe because they can become a nuclear bomb." being spread anywhere and I like to do what I can to stop it. Nuclear power is statistically the safest, and most efficient, form of energy by far, and its arguably the cleanest form of energy production as well. Unfortunately we wont use it because we are afraid of it due to wrong and outdated information and misconceptions. I've been a subscriber to your channel for years now and love all of the content you put out. You do a fantastic job of teaching people about science, and the universe around us. Thanks for doing what you do, I am always looking forward to you're next video.
GoldEEr
GoldEEr 4 aylar önce
What happened at Fukushima was basically the same thing as Chernobyl, or was it different ?
Nickolay Sheitanov
Nickolay Sheitanov 4 aylar önce
Wtf are you smoking cleanest. The power plants are constantly cooled by water and theres a fast there wont be s not enough to cool the reactor since it requires more and more and the water ends up being polluted. What about the waste
crspe
crspe Yıl önce
@Sherry here it is not even close to true that Chernobyl was worse than Hiroshima. 100‘000 people died from the Hiroshima bomb. UN estimates that 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the Chernobyl disaster. That is 2’000 times fewer deaths. Even if you include estimates of potential indirect deaths from reputable sources you are well under 10‘000 deaths so ten times LESS than Hiroshima.
SlightlyCrookedWorkshop
I don't think that's what he said. He was referring to a Chernobyl being a runaway reaction.
supremespanker
supremespanker Yıl önce
@Sherry here 10 times worse then Hiroshima? 28 direct deaths, mostly workers attempting to control the fire. 14 suspected cancer deaths in the next 10 years, 15 further suspected thyroid cancer cases (all survived). Hiroshima hold on let's google it, around 100,000 directly attributable deaths. Do you mean worse for the rest of nature? If so I kinda agree, although it is arguable since nature now has completely reclaimed the Chernobyl area and is thriving like never before without people around.
MrJohnisthename
MrJohnisthename 4 aylar önce
As Yogi Berra once said " half the lies they tell about me aren't true" I'm sure Einstein would have agreed.
Motti Shneor
Motti Shneor 4 aylar önce
One of your best. I think almost anyone, even a 10YO with mediocre schooling, could understand the basis and basics of nuclear engineering. Thanks. and again.
Kristian Selanger
5:38 Tsjernobyl was not the result of an atomic explosion, two much pressure built up with gas wich caused an explosion and radioactive substances were lifted up by the flames. Otherwise, great video!
Nickolay Sheitanov
Nickolay Sheitanov 4 aylar önce
Say what was the name of the city? Tsj?... chernobyl man wtf is up if yallss spelling
Omar Baba
Omar Baba 4 aylar önce
If he was wrong about this then what else could he be wrong about? Is it really that impossible to go faster than the speed of light?
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