The first hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear bomb, was the “Ivy Mike” test bomb. It was detonated on November 1, 1952, by the United States as part of its nuclear weapons testing program. The bomb was designed and built by a team of scientists led by physicist Edward Teller.
The Ivy Mike bomb was a “dry” fuel design, which means it used solid lithium deuteride as the fuel for the thermonuclear reaction. It was also a “one-point” design, meaning that it used a single, large fission bomb to compress and ignite the thermonuclear fuel. The bomb had a yield of around 10.4 megatons of TNT, which is about 700 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The Ivy Mike test was conducted on the island of Elugelab in the Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The test produced a massive explosion that vaporized the entire island, creating a crater around 6,240 feet (1,900 meters) wide and 164 feet (50 meters) deep. The explosion also generated a mushroom cloud that reached an altitude of around 130,000 feet (40,000 meters).
The Ivy Mike test marked a significant milestone in the development of thermonuclear weapons and demonstrated the feasibility of using a hydrogen bomb. The success of the test led to the development of more advanced hydrogen bombs, which became a central element of the Cold War arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.