Samuel T. Cohen, Inventor of Neutron Bomb, Dies at 89

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The developer — and defender — of the controversial neutron bomb has died in Los Angeles due to complications from stomach cancer.

Though not widely known among nonscientists, Samuel Cohen’s neutron bomb has been a source of much debate. The bomb was developed to use subatomic particles to destroy people but spare property and battlefields. Other bombs could also destroy people, but also wipe out entire cities. Cohen’s bomb used neutrons to pass through items like tanks to kill soldiers while avoiding buildings and civilians. The Reagan administration developed the bombs but never used them.

After inventing the bomb, he spent his life defending it. “It’s the most sane and moral weapon ever devised,” he told the New York Times in September. “It’s the only nuclear weapon in history that makes sense in waging war. When the war is over, the world is still intact.” (via New York Times)