# SMT 310 Science Math Technology

Albert Einstein’s 1905 landmark paper on the motion of bodies close to the speed of light translated in 1923 as “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” does not contain this formula.
Further, as Robert Serber emphasizes in the Los Alamos Primer (see Reading Assignment Two) the energy changes involved in nuclear reactions, although large compared to the energy released by chemical reactions, are still not enough to make bodies move at speeds close to that of light.
Nevertheless, we can use E=mc2 to find the binding energy of the nucleus of the atom: the energy released when forming the nucleus of the atom from neutrons and protons. The well-known general chemistry textbook by Ebbing (D.W. Ebbing, General Chemistry (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1990, ebbing1990.pdf in “Homework_Two_Stuff” within “Files”), pgs. 818-828) shows us how to do it. The result is the famous curve of binding energy (see Figure 20.4 “Plot of nuclear binding energy per nucleon versus mass number” on pg. 821).
Please choose six (6) chemical elements among those whose properties are listed in “Mass of Some Nuclei and Other Atomic Particles” (Table 20.3 on pg. 819) such that two have atomic mass number A in each of the following three ranges (a) 5 to 16 (b) 52 to 59 (c) 206 and above. Compute the mass defect in atomic mass units (amu) for each nucleus (see pg. 821 for a calculation of the mass defect of helium-4).
Convert the mass defect to binding energy measured in Mega-electron-Volts (MeV) using the fact that 1 amu = 931 MeV: This is E=mc2 at work! Finally, please divide the binding energy by the atomic mass number to find the binding energy per nucleon. Please make a table to report the results as well as a plot showing the binding energy per nucleon versus atomic number for the six chemical elements you chose.
Part Two: War and Peace, Armament and Disarmament
On 29 August 2018, the California State Senate approved a resolution calling for support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (tpnw2017.pdf), make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national security policy, and spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war. On 8 August 2018 the Los Angeles City Council adopted a similar resolution.
The Treaty, negotiated at United Nations Headquarters in New York over several months in 2017, prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts related to the Treaty.
The United States, which possesses approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It has said that it intends never to join the treaty. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfill its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The sense of the nations of the world that the time is now to ban nuclear weapons is not new. At the first session of the United Nations in January 1946, the first resolution passed by that body (UN General Assembly Document A/12, unga1946_discussion.pdf) called “[f]or the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction” and “[f]or effective safeguards by way of inspection and other means to protect complying States against the hazards of violations and evasions.”
Paul Robeson, the son of an escaped slave, played pro football, sang in concerts at home and abroad, acted on stage and on film, and worked tirelessly in the tradition of African-American freedom fighters Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman alongside his contemporary W. E. B. Du Bois to “winning the full freedom, and noting less than full freedom, for my people in America.” Speaking as and identifying himself as “an American Negro,” Robeson takes a stand (Paul Robeson, Here I Stand (Beacon Press, Boston, MA 1958, robeson1958.pdf), pgs. 44-47) in support of the “peoples of Africa and Asia” in their efforts to “save mankind and civilization from the fear and prospect of wholesale destruction” by pushing for “the prohibition of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons of war” at an international conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955.
World War I shaped the attitudes of scientists, mathematicians, and technologists towards war in the twentieth century as much or even more than the advent of nuclear weapons. The late great Howard Zinn, one of the most influential and prolific historians in the twentieth century, writes about the United States involvement in the war “to end all wars” in Howard Zinn (adapted by Rebecca Stefoff), Young People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories Press, New York, NY, 2007, zinn2007.pdf), pgs. 219-224.
Norbert Wiener studied mathematics with Godfrey Hardy at Cambridge University as a teenager during World War I. Returning to the United States, where he was born and raised, he worked in Aberdeen, Maryland at the Proving Grounds of the Ordnance Corps of the United States military computing “range tables” for big guns being used at the time to kill hundreds of thousands of people.
In these pages, published as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock two minutes to midnight in 1953, Wiener reflects on the nature of science, math, and technology in the light of his experiences as a young mathematician and former child prodigy who willingly and “successfully” participated in mass killing of his fellow human beings in Norbert Wiener, Ex-Prodigy (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA 1953, wiener1953.pdf), pgs. 189-190, 254-256.
Freeman Dyson studied mathematics with Godfrey Hardy at Cambridge University as a teenager during World War II. He reflects on the words of Hardy, written shortly before the war, that “[a] science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life” in Freeman Dyson, The Sun, Genome, Internet (Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1999, dyson1999.pdf), pgs. vii-xvi.
Please read through these sources on war and peace, armament and disarmament. What common ground can we find between these diverse sources, relevant to addressing the threat to organized human life posed by nuclear weapons? Please write a synthesis (300-500 words) where you respond to these sources and express your own attitude on war and peace, armament and disarmament with a focus on the threat of nuclear weapons.
153810360009/27/201809:00pm

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