Jeremy Bernstein

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de enero de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY DEC. 2 - Irene Kilanowski, a lab technician , and Jerry Myers, with MINOS, work together to install a collar, center circle, on one of the octagonal sheets of steel of the neutrino detector, in Soudan, Minn., Nov. 21, 2001. When completed, the MINOS, Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search Far Detector being built will be a target. The shooters, 450 miles away, will be scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. They will shoot subatomic particles called neutrinos at MINOS. (AP Photo/Duluth News Tribune, Bob King)

Neutrinos they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed – you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.…  Seguir leyendo »

Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images Donald Trump speaking at a protest in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., September 9, 2015

The Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015, will come up for its next ninety-day review by the White House next month. In view of the fact that President Trump has named as his new national security adviser John Bolton, who seems to be even more hawkishly opposed to the agreement than Trump himself, one worries about its future (at least as it involves this country). For this reason, I wish to try to review what will be lost if the JCPOA is not renewed; this will require me to elucidate some elementary nuclear weapons physics.…  Seguir leyendo »

North Korean troops carrying packs marked with a radioactive symbol in Pyongyang in 2013. Credit Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the history of nuclear weapons there has been only one country that voluntarily gave up its weapons and the program that produced them, and that is South Africa. That should tell us something about how hard it will be to persuade North Korea to dismantle its large and very sophisticated weapons program.

The South African program was unusual in several ways. It used a method of enriching uranium that had never been tried on an industrial scale, injecting hexafluoride gas at very high velocity into a tube to separate out the fissile bomb-making isotope, uranium 235. What’s more, only white Afrikaners — no mixed-race or black or Asian South Africans — were allowed to work on the program.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Tuesday, in the latest challenge to the deal over Iran’s nuclear program reached last October, the House of Representatives held a hearing in which several Republicans accused the Obama administration of lying. This is part of a continuous effort over the last few months by members of Congress and by the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump to cast doubt on the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries and undermine its implementation. But these critics have done almost nothing to answer the most important questions: What has the nuclear deal actually achieved? And what are its potential shortcomings?

Trump shows no comprehension at all of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—as the deal is officially called.…  Seguir leyendo »

Administrators observe seismic waves from North Korea's nuclear test in a media briefing at the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul, South Korea, January 6, 2016

On January 6, the North Korean government announced that it had successfully carried out its first underground test of a hydrogen bomb. Until now, this claim has not been independently verified and many international experts have cast doubt on it. So what was the bomb that was tested? It appears to have produced a yield that was larger than that of any previous North Korean nuclear test. As I write, North Korea has not announced whether this was a plutonium or uranium device, but the information we have about its nuclear program offers some clues.

The major North Korean nuclear facility—the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center—is located about sixty miles north of Pyongyang, the capital.…  Seguir leyendo »