On the 100th anniversary of the birth of V.L. Ginzburg. Conferences and symposia
V.L. Ginzburg and the Atomic Project
V.I. Ritus Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky prosp. 53, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
This paper is an expanded version of the author's talk presented at a session of the Division of Physical Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences celebrating the 100th anniversary of V.L. Ginzburg's birth. Tamm's special group was organized in June 1948 with the task to clarify the feasibility of constructing a hydrogen bomb. Having checked and confirmed the calculations by Ya.B. Zel'dovich's group, the Tamm group proposed an original hydrogen bomb design, which, following A.D. Sakharov's idea, consisted of an atomic bomb surrounded spherically by uranium and heavy water layers: heavy water, on V.L. Ginzburg's suggestion, was replaced by higher-calorie solid lithium-6 deuteride. The ionization compression of deuterium by uranium, both heated by the atomic bomb explosion, greatly accelerates nuclear reactions in deuterium and uranium and increases the total energy release. Upon their approval by the top KB-11 researchers, the Atomic Project leadership, and the Government, the proposals were implemented in the RDS-6s bomb, which was successfully tested 12 August 1953. Lithium-6 deuteride turned out to be a convenient multi-purpose nuclear fuel. The paper highlights the recognition by the leaders of the country and of the Atomic Project that fundamental science plays a crucial role in promoting scientists' ideas and proposals.