Science: Hero of Los Alamos

The first peacetime victim of nuclear fission died last week. He was Dr. Louis Slotin of Winnipeg, Canada and the atom bomb laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the cause of his death—exposure to radiation—may become a familiar factor in the atomic age.

Apparently Dr. Slotin and seven or more other scientists were working with "subcritical masses" of uranium or plutonium. Kept apart, these masses were lifeless as lead, but if brought together to form a mass above "critical" size, a chain reaction would start. Its violence would depend on the character of the...

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