critical mass

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critical mass:

see chain reactionchain reaction,
self-sustaining reaction that, once started, continues without further outside influence. Proper conditions for a chain reaction depend not only on various external factors, such as temperature, but also on the quantity and shape of the substance undergoing the
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Critical Mass


the smallest mass of a fissionable substance at which a self-sustaining fission chain reaction of atomic nuclei can occur; it is characterized by the approach of the neutron multiplication factor to 1. The corresponding dimensions and volume of the device in which a chain reaction takes place are also called critical.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

critical mass

[′krid·ə·kəl ′mas]
The mass of fissionable material of a particular shape that is just sufficient to sustain a nuclear chain reaction.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

critical mass

In physics, the minimum amount of fissionable material required to sustain a chain reaction. Of a software product, describes a condition of the software such that fixing one bug introduces one plus epsilon bugs. (This malady has many causes: creeping featurism, ports to too many disparate environments, poor initial design, etc.) When software achieves critical mass, it can never be fixed; it can only be discarded and rewritten.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in periodicals archive ?
We caught up with Erik Garcia, one of the founding members of LBcycology, and a participant in the 2015 Critical Mass ride.
Kjellberg's painstaking process to create Critical Mass is worth reiterating.
"It's really a chance to reclaim the road." Leamington ran its own critical mass group during the summer of 2008, with a group of 20 to 30 cyclists meeting at the bandstand and riding around Leamington and up towards Newbold Comyn every week.
By tapping into the power of networks, IIP and ECA are succeeding in generating the critical mass needed to move Department initiatives past niche audiences and into the mainstream where they can gain momentum and flourish.
"There was no effort in this case to establish a target for critical mass," Bert Rein, Fisher's attorney, said of UT's admissions policy.
However, there is still a long way to go to achieve a critical mass of XBRL-tagged items.
The idea of the Critical Mass bike ride began in San Francisco in 1992.
First, let's define what we mean by critical mass: It is that sweet point at which the business starts to achieve an optimal level of productivity, profitability, and growth.
"However the existence of Islamic blog-feed sites indicates that the community is reaching something of a critical mass," he added.
I participated in San Francisco's Halloween critical mass. Thousands of bikers converged on EMB, fully costumed and ready to takeover the streets.
Specifically, critical mass theory suggests once a definable group reaches a certain size within an organization, group interactions transform the organization's culture.