Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Princess Sofia of Sweden's 'Baby Bump' Photographed for First Time at Global Child Forum
- Read the Cover Story: Adele’s Triumphant Return: How Love Changed Her Life
- VIDEO: The Dark Side Rises in New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
- Celebrate Thanksgiving in Style By Shopping These Brands Who Give Back and Do Good
- Newborn Found in Manger of New York Nativity Church Nativity Scene
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 25, 1976
- Vol. 6
- No. 17
A Princeton Tiger Designs An Atomic Bomb in a Physics Class
"I wanted it to be simple, inexpensive and easy to build," says Phillips, 21, the son of a Yale engineering professor. "The idea was not to use any classified information. I wanted to do it with what was available to the public."
Phillips spells out his design in a 40-page physics term paper. According to nuclear physicist Frank Chilton of Palo Alto, Calif., the Princeton student has overcome some of the major pitfalls in building a nuclear device. "He says it's 20 years behind the time," Phillips observes, "but still more sophisticated than the Hiroshima bomb." Phillips hasn't actually built the bomb, but it would be about the size of a beachball and weigh 125 pounds. It would cost about $152,000—of which roughly $150,000 is needed to buy the critical 15 pounds of plutonium necessary to make it explode (with one-half the force of the Hiroshima bomb). Plutonium is, however, for sale only to governments and properly accredited corporations and individuals. "The idea is that you steal it," says Phillips, who advocates stronger safeguards to prevent such thefts.
Page 20 of Phillips' research paper has been withheld from public view: It deals with the key problem of the type of high-explosive component needed to trigger the nuclear blast. Phillips figured out the answer with the aid of nuclear engineering textbooks and two U.S. government publications. Says Phillips: "It's very simple. Any undergraduate physics major could have done what I did." (Last year, for a TV show, an anonymous MIT student did design a low-yield A-bomb.)
Phillips is now working on his senior project, a crash-protection system for motorcyclists. He once rode a Honda 500 east from Berkeley, where he spent his first two college years. He will graduate in June with an engineering degree, and is applying for astronaut training. Right now he's looking forward to Princeton's Nov. 6 football game at Yale. The student who plays the Eli bulldog is Phillips' best friend. "We're going to get together and work out some crazy routines," says Phillips. "That's what I like best about being the tiger. You can do just about anything."
November 23, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!