atomic bomb

atomic bomb

atomic bomb or A-bomb, weapon deriving its explosive force from the release of atomic energy through the fission (splitting) of heavy nuclei (see nuclear energy). The first atomic bomb was produced at the Los Alamos, N.Mex., laboratory and successfully tested on July 16, 1945. This was the culmination of a large U.S. army program that was part of the Manhattan Project, led by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer. It began in 1940, two years after the German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman discovered nuclear fission. On Aug. 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima with an estimated equivalent explosive force of 12,500 tons of TNT, followed three days later by a second, more powerful, bomb on Nagasaki. Both bombs caused widespread death, injury, and destruction, and there is still considerable debate about the need to have used them.

Atomic bombs were subsequently developed by the USSR (1949; now Russia), Great Britain (1952), France (1960), and China (1964). A number of other nations, particularly India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea now have atomic bombs or the capability to produce them; South Africa formerly possessed a small arsenal. The three smaller Soviet successor states that inherited nuclear arsenals (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus) relinquished all nuclear warheads, which have been removed to Russia.

Atomic bombs have been designed by students, but their actual construction is a complex industrial process. Practical fissionable nuclei for atomic bombs are the isotopes uranium-235 and plutonium-239, which are capable of undergoing chain reaction. If the mass of the fissionable material exceeds the critical mass (a few pounds), the chain reaction multiplies rapidly into an uncontrollable release of energy. An atomic bomb is detonated by bringing together very rapidly (e.g., by means of a chemical explosive) two subcritical masses of fissionable material, the combined mass exceeding the critical mass. An atomic bomb explosion produces, in addition to the shock wave accompanying any explosion, intense neutron and gamma radiation, both of which are very damaging to living tissue. The neighborhood of the explosion becomes contaminated with radioactive fission products. Some radioactive products are borne into the upper atmosphere as dust or gas and may subsequently be deposited partially decayed as radioactive fallout far from the site of the explosion.

See disarmament, nuclear; hydrogen bomb; nuclear strategy; and nuclear weapons; see also nuclear energy.

See G. Herken, The Winning Weapon (1988) and Brotherhood of the Bomb (2002); R. Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986); R. Serber, The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How to Build an Atomic Bomb (1992); R. Fermi et al., Picturing the Bomb: Photographs from the Secret World of the Manhattan Project (1995); P. B. Hales, Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project (1997).

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is the eleventh studio album by Irish rock band U2, released in November 2004. Much like their previous album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was commercially successful and critically acclaimed and maintains a more traditional rock sound after the band experimented with alternative rock and dance music in the 1990s. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, with others involved in the production including Flood, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Chris Thomas, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, and Carl Glanville.

U2 lead singer Bono described the album as "our first rock album. It's taken us twenty years or whatever it is, but this is our first rock album." Although not a concept album in the traditional sense, most of the music on the record deals with the world at the crossroads of its existence. Love and war, peace and harmony, and approaching death are themes of the album.

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and its singles won eight Grammy Awards in all eight categories nominated in. The album also sold over 10 million copies and yielded several successful singles in "Vertigo", "City of Blinding Lights", and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own".


In 2003, Bono said how one of their new songs called "Full Metal Jacket" was "the mother of all rock songs" and "the reason to make a new album". This song would later become "Vertigo".

A demo version of the album (The Edge's copy) was stolen while the band were having their photo taken for a magazine in France in July 2004. It contained unfinished versions of several songs that made it onto the album. The band publicly announced that if those tracks were leaked online, they would release the album immediately. Several months later, tracks from the album were released online, but they were the finished products, and not the rough demos from The Edge's stolen CD.

Adam Clayton said of Atomic Bomb, "It's very much a guitar record. "Vertigo", "Love and Peace", "City of Blinding Lights", "All Because of You", all pretty up, rocky tunes. A lot of them are a kick-back to our very early days, so it's like with each year we have gathered a little bit more and this is what we are now."

In late 2004, "Mercy", an unreleased track taken from the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sessions, surfaced on the Internet through a fan who had been given a copy of the album containing the extra track. The track is of less than standard audio quality, but managed to become a favorite on fan websites. Singer Michael W. Smith joined the band in the studio during the Atomic Bomb sessions and worked on at least one track with them entitled "North Star". That track, which was a tribute to Johnny Cash, has not yet surfaced officially or unofficially in any form.

The album's release was followed by the commercially successful Vertigo Tour.


Much like its predecessor, this album met wide critical acclaim with critics like Rolling Stone (who described it as "grandiose music from grandiose men"), Q, Allmusic, The Los Angeles Times and E! Online among others quite vocal in its praise. Following the 22 November 2004 release, the album debuted at #1 in 34 countries, including the US Billboard 200 (with sales of 840,000), the UK album chart, and the Aria charts. Worldwide sales as of 2006 number close to 8 million copies sold. This album is often described as the album which has firmly entrenched U2 at the top after the commercial and critical let down of 1997's Pop. The album received an average critic score of 79%, according to Metacritic.

Awards and accolades

Like Michael Jackson's Thriller, this album was awarded eight Grammy Awards in 2005 and 2006, winning in all of the categories in which it was nominated. It was awarded the Album of the Year award in 2006. "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" from the album was awarded Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. "City of Blinding Lights" was awarded the award for Best Rock Song, and the album was also awarded Best Rock Album. In 2005, the single "Vertigo" from the album won in all three categories in which it was nominated: Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and Best Short Form Music Video.

  • Ranked best album of 2004 by USA Today
  • Ranked best album of 2004 by Paste Magazine
  • Ranked #1 in best albums of 2004 by The New York Times
  • Ranked #2 in best albums of 2004 by The Los Angeles Times (Robert Hilburn)
  • Ranked #4 in best albums of 2004 by Q magazine
  • Ranked #3 in liveDaily's top albums of 2004
  • Ranked #8 in Village Voice 2004 Pazz & Jop Poll (a survey of 793 critics)
  • Ranked #23 in's best albums of 2004
  • Ranked #25 in's best albums of 2004
  • Ranked #8 in best albums of 2004 by Village Voice

Single releases

The album was preceded by the lead single "Vertigo", which topped the charts in several countries, including the UK. It reached #31 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and it topped the digital downloads chart in both the US and the UK, becoming U2's best-selling digital single ever in the US with 2x Platinum status (note that for downloads, Platinum status is obtained at 100,000 copies sold).

The second single in the UK was "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" which became U2's first-ever follow-up single to top the charts. On US adult contemporary radio it reached #15 on the Adult Top 40 and also appeared on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, the Pop 100, and the Hot 100.

"City of Blinding Lights" was the third UK release. It peaked at #2 and spent nine weeks on the chart. It also placed on the US Adult Top 40.

The second single in the US was "All Because of You". Although it received some airplay on rock radio, reaching #6 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and #20 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, the song had little mainstream exposure. When released in the UK, it peaked at #4 but only spent four weeks on the chart.

"Original of the Species" has been released to airplay in the US. It peaked at #6 on the Triple A Chart according to and the video has reached #12 on VH1's top 20 video countdown. The track has also made brief appearances on the Hot AC charts according to Radio and Records and MediaGuide.

Apple promotions

"Vertigo" was featured on a widely-aired television commercial for the Apple iPod. Apple, in a partnership with the band, released a special edition iPod bearing the black and red color scheme of the album, as well as laser-engraved autographs of each member on the back. The Complete U2, an iTunes-exclusive box set featuring 448 tracks, including previously unreleased content was also released. Proceeds from the iPod and iTunes partnerships were donated to charity. "Original of the Species" was also featured in commercials for the iPod, although this was used to promote the video iPod.

Track listing

"Fast Cars" is a bonus track on the Japan and UK CD edition, deluxe edition in all regions, and the digital version, included in The Complete U2.

Bonus DVD

  • Documentary - U2 and 3 Songs
  • Bonus Videos:
  • "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own" (Studio video Performance)
  • "Crumbs From Your Table (live in studio session)"
  • "Vertigo" (Temple Bar Mix)
  • "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own" (Acoustic Couch Mix)
  • "Vertigo" (Studio video Performance)

Unreleased and Rare

The iTunes-exclusive box set The Complete U2 included a set of previously unreleased tracks in Unreleased and Rare, six of which were from the album sessions.

  1. "Xanax and Wine" (demo version of "Fast Cars")
  2. "Native Son" (demo version of "Vertigo")
  3. "Smile (outtake from the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb Sessions)"
  4. "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" (demo version)
  5. "All Because of You" (alternate version)
  6. "Yahweh" (alternate mix by Chris Thomas)

Unreleased demos

  1. "Shark Soup"
  2. "Full Metal Jacket" (demo version of "Vertigo")
  3. "Tough" (demo version of "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own")
  4. "North Star"
  5. "Lead Me In The Way I Should Go"
  6. "You Can't Give Away Your Heart"


"Mercy" was a track that was also recorded during the album sessions and has since become a fan favorite, due to it being released on a U2 fan site. It was cut from the final release, but is described by Blender Magazine as "a six-and-a-half-minute outpouring of U2 at its most uninhibitedly U2-ish". The lyrics to the song can be found in the booklet for the DVD / CD release.

Charts positions and sales

Country Peak position Certification Sales
Argentina Platinum 40,000+
Australia 1 4x Platinum 280,000+
Austria 1 Platinum 30,000+
Brazil 2x Platinum 250,000+
Canada 5x Platinum 500,000+
Denmark 1 2x Platinum 60,000+
Finland 1 Gold 21,350+
France 1 Platinum 300,000+
Germany Platinum/3x Gold 300,000+
Hungary Gold 5,000+
Ireland 1 10x Platinum 150,000+
Japan Platinum 250,000+
Mexico Platinum 100,000+
Netherlands Gold 40,000+
New Zealand 1 3x Platinum 45,000+
Norway 1
Poland Gold 20,000+
Portugal 3x Platinum 60,000+
Spain 1 2x Platinum 200,000+
Sweden 1 Platinum 60,000+
Switzerland 1
United Kingdom 1 4x Platinum 1,200,000+
United States 1 3x Platinum 3,000,000+


Additional personnel

See also


External links

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