Science: The Wonderful Pile

General Leslie Groves, Grand Panjandrum of military atomics, made a minor concession to the cause of science. The Oak Ridge Laboratory, he said last week, was working on an experimental plant for producing atomic power. It should be finished in a year.

But many scientists, though interested in atomic power, are more interested in the radioactive materials from the Oak Ridge chain-reacting pile. These promise a scientific revolution.

The pile, a rather simple device, consists of uranium rods stuck through a large mass of graphite. Some uranium atoms—those with an atomic weight of 235—split in two, producing energy and shooting out neutrons, which...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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