Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chicago and the Manhattan Project

Shortly before Enrico Fermi conducted the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, Franck reluctantly joined the Manhattan Project. Appointed head of the chemical laboratory that worked with "actinades," including the new man-made plutonium, Franck left the project before the war ended.

Lawrence S. Bartell's paper, "Work on the Manhattan Project, Subsequent Events, and Little Known Facts Related to its Use", focuses on the Chicago section of the Manhattan Project...


A personal account of work on the Manhattan Project in Chicago by one of the few remaining survivors of the war-time project is given, illustrating, among other things, how absurd things can happen at a time of great stress and concern.. As is well known, Los Alamos was the site specializing in the physics of the bomb while Chicago emphasized metallurgical and chemical research. Nevertheless, physics played a significant role in Chicago, as well. That is where Fermi constructed the world’s first uranium pile under the stands of Stagg field, a site at which this author got seriously irradiated. Some curious events occurring after the bomb was dropped are also related. In addition, at this time of public protest by sincere people who question the ethics of America’s dropping of the bomb on innocent civilians, certain facts, obviously unknown to the protesters, are presented which place the bombing in a rather different light.

"Work on the Manhattan Project, Subsequent Events, and Little Known Facts Related to its Use"

Historical event in 1942 at the University of Chicago

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