How powerful is the hydrogen bomb?


The hydrogen bomb, also known as the thermonuclear bomb, is incredibly powerful. According to a discussion with Richard Rhodes on :

  • Edward Teller, one of the co-inventors, calculated that the maximum size of a hydrogen bomb could be around 1000 megatons. Such a bomb would create a fireball 10 miles in diameter, but it would largely be inefficient as most of the energy would go into space. Teller suggested that anything beyond 100 megatons would be a waste of time since there is no military target that could justify such a bomb on Earth 1.

  • Rhodes also highlighted the immense difference between atomic and thermonuclear bombs. For instance, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were around 10 to 15 kilotons, whereas the largest bomb ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba, was 50 megatons—more than 1000 times as powerful. This bomb wasn't even at its full potential, as it could have been scaled up further if necessary 2.

Overall, the hydrogen bomb's destructive capability is far beyond any other conventional explosive device, making it an extremely potent and terrifying weapon.

The Power of Hydrogen

Discover the shocking calculations behind the hydrogen bomb's potential and the military's perspective on its destructive capabilities. Explore the insights of Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer, shedding light on the scale of destruction and the targets that justified its use.

The Lunar Society

Richard Rhodes - Making of Atomic Bomb, AI, WW2, Oppenheimer, & Abolishing Nukes