Atomics, referred to the process of nuclear fission, and more specifically to nuclear weapons of mass destruction. A particularly famous type of atomic weapon was the stone burner.
Significance of Atomics
Atomics harbored a pronounced psychological and social stigma, and were rarely used due to traumatic historical events. Their prohibition was enforced by the Great Convention, which dicated that the offensive use of atomics is grounds for planetary annihilation. Nonetheless, the Great Houses continued to stockpile atomics in the event that humanity ever encountered an alien intelligence that intended to do them harm.
Actual or suspected use of atomics
The actual and suspected use of atomics made several appearances throughout intergalactic history. Notable among these were the following critical events:
- The destruction of part of the Shield Wall by Paul Atreides just prior to the Battle of Arrakeen, which led to the defeat of the forces of House Harkonnen and the Sardaukar, and the the Ascension of House Atreides.
- The destruction of part of Arrakeen by insurrectionists at the end of Paul Atreides' reign as Emperor. This also resulted in Paul being permanently blinded.
- The destruction of all life on Earth shortly before the start of the Butlerian Jihad.
- The destruction of the thinking machines and all biological life on numerous planets (excluding Earth) during the Great Purge, a protracted campaign of the Butlerian Jihad.
- The destruction of Starda City on the planet Poritrin during the second slave revolt. While this was actually caused by the interaction of a laser on a Holtzman Shield, it was commonly assumed to be caused by atomics.
- The ecology destruction of Salusa Secundus by House Tantor in the 2nd Millenium AG. For that reason the Imperial capital had to be moved to Kaitain.
- The battle of the Plains of Arrakeen.
- Also atomics were used during the destruction of Korona during Shaddam IV's Great Spice War.
Known kinds of Atomics
Behind the Scenes
Some of the atomic-related events (specifically, events involving Poritrin, the Great Purge, and the atomic destruction of Earth) are not explicitely mentioned by Frank Herbert in his original Dune novels. They were detailed in the Legends of Dune novels.