Physics of Societal Issues

Calculations on National Security, Environment and Energy

David Hafemeister

Springer-Verlag and American Institute of Physics Press, Dec. 2003

Why This Book? The subdivisions of physics——nuclear physics, particle physics, condensed-matter physics, biophysics——have their text books, while the subdivision of physics and society lacks an equation-oriented text on the physics of arms, energy and environment. Physics of Societal Issues is intended for undergraduate and doctoral students who may work on applied topics, or who simply want to know why things are the way they are. Decisions guiding policies on nuclear arms, energy and the environment often seem mysterious and contradictory. What is the science behind the deployment of MIRVed ICBMs, the quest for space-based beam weapons, the fear of powerline EM fields, the wholesale acceptance of SUVs, and the failure of the pre-embargo market to produce buildings and appliances that now save over 50 power plants? Physics of Societal Issues is three "mini-texts" in one:


"Straightforward calculations and supporting analysis can significantly shape public policy. This insight is needed in Congress and the Executive Branch. Hafemeister, a former Congressional fellow with wide Washington experience, has written a book for physicists, chemists and engineers who want to learn science and policy on weapons, energy, and the environment. Scientists who want to make a difference will want this book."

Richard Scribner, Founder, Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow Program

"Hafemeister shows how much one can understand about nuclear weapons and missile issues through simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. He also provides compact explanations of the partially successful attempts that have been made over the past 60 years to control these weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully, Physics of Societal Issues will help interest a new generation of physicists in continuing this work."

Frank von Hippel, Professor, Princeton University, former Assistant Director, National Security, White House, OSTP

"Energy policy must be quantitative. People who don't calculate economic trade-offs often champion simplistic hardware. ‘The solution is more .... nuclear power, or electric cars, or photovoltaics, etc.’ Some simple physics will show that the true solution matches supply and demand as an ‘integrated resource plan.’ Physics of Societal Issues is a good place to begin this journey."

Arthur Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner, Professor-emeritus, University of California-Berkeley



David Hafemeister is a Professor (emeritus) of Physics at California Polytechnic State University. He spent a dozen years in Washington as Professional Staff Member, Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Governmental Affairs (1990—93 on arms control treaties at the end of the Cold War), Science Advisor to Senator John Glenn (1975—77), Special Assistant to Under Secretary of State Benson and Deputy-Under Secretary Nye (1977—78), Visiting Scientist in the State Department’s Office of Nuclear Proliferation Policy (1979), the Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy (1987) and Study Director at the National Academy of Sciences (2000—02). He also held appointments at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, and the Lawrence-Berkeley, Argonne and Los Alamos national laboratories. He was Chair of the APS Forum on Physics and Society (1985—6) and the APS Panel on Public Affairs (1996—7). He has edited nine books, published 140 articles and was awarded the APS Szilard award in 1996., (805) 544-5096

Contents of Physics of Societal Issues

1. Nuclear Weapons

1.1. Nuclear Age

1.2. Fission Energetics

1.3. Scaling Laws and Critical Masses

1.4. Efficiency/Neutron Generations

1.5. Plutonium Implosion Weapons.

1.6. Boosted Primaries and H Bombs

1.7. Neutron Bomb

1.8. Nuclear Weapon Effects

2. The Offense

2.1. Rocket Equation

2.2. ICBM Trajectories

2.3. ICBM Accuracy

2.4. GPS Accuracy

2.5. Kill Probability

2.6. Nuclear Conflicts

2.7. Conventional Conflicts

3. The Defense

3.1. ABM History

3.2. Target Interactions

3.3. Nuclear ABMs

3.4. Particle Beams Weapons

3.5. Laser Weapons

3.6. Orbital Chemical Lasers

3.7. Earth-Based Lasers

3.8. X-ray Laser/Nuclear Explosion

3.9. Kinetic Kill Vehicles

3.10. Airborne Laser

3.11. Anti-Satellite Weapons

3.12. Rail Guns

4. Verification and Arms Treaties

4.1. Verification Context

4.2. Arms Control Treaties

4.3. Optical Reconnaissance

4.4. Adaptive Optics

4.5. Digital Image Processing

4.6. Infrared Reconnaissance

4.7. Radar Reconnaissance

4.8. Nuclear Tests in Space

4.9. Atmospheric Nuclear Tests

4.10. Underground Nuclear Tests

4.11. How Much Verification?

5. Nuclear Proliferationn

5.1. Proliferation: Baruch to 9-11

5.2. Uranium Enrichment

5.3. Separative Work Units

5.4. Nonproliferation in former USSR

5.5. Plutonium Production

5.6. MTCR and Scuds

6. Air and Water Pollution

6.1. Acid Rain pH

6.2. Clean-Air-Act Trading

6.3. Pollution Scaling Laws

6.4. Power Plant Plumes

6.5. LA Air Basin

6.6. Stratospheric Ozone

6.7. Purifying Water

6.8. Environmental Chemistry

6.9. Flowing Water

7. Nuclear Pollution

7.1. Low-Dose Radiation

7.2. Loss-of-Coolant Accidents

7.3. 137Cs Plume from a LOCA

7.4. Warhead Accident Pu Plume

7.5. Dirty Bombs

7.5. Fault Tree Analysis

7.6. Geological Repositories

7.7. Indoor Radon

8. Climate Change

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Carbon Burning

8.2. CO2 Projections

8.3. Atmospheric/Surface Temperatures

8.4. Temperature Refinements

8.5. Link Between CO2 /Temperature

8.6. Solar and Oceanic Variations

8.7. Heat Islands

8.8. Policy Options

9. EM-Fields and Epidemiology

9.1. Power Line Health Effects?

9.2. Epidemiology

10. The Energy Situation

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Energy Order-of-Magnitudes

10.3. Fossil Fuel Models

10.4. Energy Rates of Change

10.5. Population and Sustainability

10.6. Single/Combined-Cycle Plants

10.7. LNG Explosions

11. Energy in Buildings

11.1. Heat Transfer

11.2. Single/Double Glazed Windows

11.3. Degree Days

11.4. Energy Standards

11.5. Scaling Law for Buildings

12. Solar Buildings

12.1. Solar Flux

12.2. Integrated Solar Flux

12.3. Solar Hot Water

12.4. Active Solar Space Heat

12.5. Passive Solar Thermal Flywheel

13. Renewable Energy

13.1. Sustainable Energy

13.2. Photovoltaic Solar Power

13.3. Solar Thermal Power

13.4. Hydropower

13.5. OTEC and Thermoclines

13.6. Wind Power

13.7. Tidal and Wave Power

13.8. Geothermal Power

13.9. Biomass Power

13.10. Fusion Power

14. Enhanced End-Use Efficiency

14.1. Heat/Cold Storage in Buildings

14.2. Improved Lighting

14.3. Improved Windows

14.4. Heat Pumps

14.5. Improved Appliances

14.6. House Doctors

14.7. Co-Generation

14.8. Utility Load Management

14.9. Energy Storage

15. Transportation

15.1. Auto Basics

15.2. Corporate Average Fuel Economy

15.3. IC Engines

15.4. Hybrid Car

15.5. Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car

15.6. Safety

15.7. Transportation Potpourri

16. Energy Economics

16.1 Basic Economics

16.2. Discounted Benefits, Paybacks

16.3. Cost of Conserved Energy

16.4. Minimum Life-Cycle Costs

16.5. Energy Tax Credits

16.6. Petroleum Economy

16.7. Imports, Synfuels and Gasohol

16.8. Plutonium Economy

Appendicies (A-G)