Nuclear Physics: Father of Fission

NUCLEAR PHYSICS

The nuclear age dawned in the wrong place, at the wrong time. In 1938, outside Berlin's Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry, Nazis paraded in the streets. Inside, German Chemist Otto Hahn patiently probed the secrets of the atom. He repeated an experiment that had been tried by half a dozen researchers, including Enrico Fermi in Rome and Irene Joliot-Curie in Paris.

With his primitive equipment, he repeatedly bombarded the element uranium with neutrons in an effort to create new man-made radioactive isotopes. According to the theories of the time, the neutrons should...

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