On the making of the Soviet hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb
Yu.B. Khariton a
V.B. Adamskii a
Yu.N. Smirnov b
a All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics — Federal Nuclear Centre, prosp. Mira 37, Sarov, Nizhny Novgorod region, 607190, Russian Federation
b National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’, pl. akad. Kurchatova 1, Moscow, 123182, Russian Federation
The May 1991 issue of Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk (Physics-Uspekhi), devoted to the 70th birthday of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, included a translation of an article by D Hirsch and W Mathews, ’The H-bomb: Who Really Gave Away the Secret?’ It was the Editors’ hope that, prompted by this polemic and in many respects controversial publication, our physicists and nuclear weapons developers would speak out too. However, it is only now, five years later and with a number of formal restrictions lifted, that the Journal has received an article on the creation of the Soviet H-bomb written by Arzamas-16 (All-Union Research Institute of Experimental Physics) specialists (of whom Yu N Smirnov worked under A D Sakharov in the 1960s). The Editors are confident that this article will be of interest to our readers. What makes the article particularly authoritative is the co-authorship of Yulii Borisovich Khariton, a patriarch of national nuclear physicists. His brilliant debut dating back to the 1920s was made in the N N Semyonov group and at the famous Cavendsh Laboratory (then under E Rutherford); from 1946 to 1992 Yu B Khariton was a permanent scientific leader of the Arzamas-16 Nuclear Weapons Centre. It is primarily to I V Kurchatov and Yu B Khariton that we owe the creation of our nuclear weapons which laid the groundwork for the country’s powerful defence potential. Editorial Board.