Science: Atomic Power in Ten Years?

Early last year news came from Germany, Denmark and France that hit physicists like a punch in the solar plexus. The massive atom of uranium, heaviest of the 92 elements, had been cracked by neutrons (electrically neutral subatomic particles), yielding some 200,000,000 electron-volts of energy per cracked atom (TIME, Feb. 6, 1939). These uranium explosions or "fissions" were most effectively touched off by slow moving neutrons of only one-thirtieth of one electron-volt energy, so that the energy profit was 6,000,000,000 to 1. Prospect of using atomic power-the old dream of sending a ship around the world on the energy in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!