Phys 3550 - Physics for War, Physics for Peace
Assignment #4


This assignment asks you to compare the health effects (particularly long term health effects) of the population of Japan following the nuclear strikes of 1945 and the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The nuclear weapons question is related to the program “Making of the Bomb ”.You might also supplement that material with sources from the library or online, but if you do then do not forget to include citations. Two excellent sources of additional information are the Avalon Project (Yale Law School) and the Atomic Archive. No doubt you can find more. (Note: if you do use extra material be careful not to include sources about the hydrogen bomb (also known as the H bomb or a thermonuclear bomb). This assignment is strictly about the atomic bomb (A bomb).

The Assignment

  1. What are the current radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as compared to those in the rest of Japan?
  2. What short term problems did the survivors of the two bombs face? (the first few hours or days). This could include problems other than immediate medical problems (burns, radiation sickness, etc) but also the availabilty of resources. (You might try to imagine how you might face the first few days after a nuclear attack on California.)
  3. What were the long term health  effects on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You might want to distinguish between the years immediately  after the bomb was dropped, and the period decades later. The possible effects might include (but are not limited to)
    1. Incidence of cancer
    2. Incidence of birth defects
    3. Incidence of other mutations
    4. Also, not all effects are either physical or medical. You could also consider
      1. psychological consequences
      2. social consequences