Ground Zero Man
The plot follows the main character, Lucas Hutchman, an "undistinguished mathematician", who invents a machine that may detonate virtually instantaneously every nuclear bomb in the world, by inducing a "self-propagating neutron resonance". Overcoming technical and personal difficulties, Hutchman manages to build the device and to warn Earth's governments of its existence, but is tracked down and prevented to use it. At the end, Hutchman realises that rather than to the elimination of nuclear weapons, his invention just led to further investments in them, to create new bombs impervious to neutron resonance.
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