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. One of the issues facing residents/visitors to Japan is the residual level of radiation following the dropping of the atomic bombs. What are the current radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as compared to those in the rest of Japan? (Exclude from this discussion the radiation levels in the neighbourhood of Fukushima. They have nothing to do with the atomic bombs, but will tend to skew the overall results.)
  2. What short term problems did the survivors of the two bombs face? (the first few hours or days)
  3. What were the longer term health effects on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You might want to distinguish between the weeks, months, and years immediately after the bomb was dropped, and the period decades later.
Your answers to the last two questions should include more than just casualty figures. Survivors of the two atomic explosions faced many other problems, some health related, some not. Perhaps you might imagine what you might face in the aftermath of a nuclear war should you survive it. The book Alas Babylon is a fictional account of life after a nuclear exchange, as is the film Black Rain. In this assignment you should look at what actually happen, and what life was like for the Japanese survivors.

The possible effects might include (but are not limited to)