You have probably read in history books about the atomic bombs used in World War II. You may also have seen fictional movies where nuclear weapons were launched or detonated (Fail Safe, Dr. Strangelove, The Day After, Testament, Fat Man and Little Boy, The Peacemaker, just to name a few). In the news, while many countries have been negotiating to disarm their arsenals of nuclear weapons, other countries such as India and Pakistan have been developing nuclear weapons programs.

Photo courtesy NARA
Atomic Cannon Test, 1953

We have seen that these devices have incredible destructive power, but how do they work? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you will learn about the physics that makes a nuclear bomb so powerful, how nuclear bombs are designed and what happens after a nuclear explosion.