AUTHORTaylor, Theodore B.
TITLEThird-Generation Nuclear Weapons
PERIODICAL TITLEScientific American
DATE PUBLISHEDApril 1987
VOLUME NUMBER256
ISSUE NUMBER4
PAGE NUMBERS30-39
ISSN0036-8733


Written by a physicist and weapons designer, this 1987 article explores the possibility of a third-generation of nuclear weapons that would selectively produce certain types of energy and allow for greater precision in hitting targets. Written at a time when many of the advances were purely theoretical, the article contends that the impetus provided by Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) may provide enough funding and enthusiasm for the weapons to be developed. Variations in the shape of the nuclear weapon and in the medium in which it is exploded are shown to have a profound effect on the blast pattern of the explosion. The author discusses examples such as an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapon and a canon-barrel system, which could intercept satellite or ballistic missiles. Numerous diagrams and charts supplement the text.


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