Science: Zip Out

By U.S. Army chronology, the Atomic Age was born on Dec. 2, 1942, a good 32 months before Hiroshima. Last week the Army, beaming proudly, released a detailed description of the birth.

In a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago's football stadium, a curious structure had grown, watched by the hopeful, nervous eyes of some of the world's best physicists. It was built of dead-black graphite bricks with small cubes of uranium or uranium oxide imbedded in some of their corners.

This was the world's first uranium pile. Within it, if all went well, would rage the first...

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