THE ADMINISTRATION: Anniversary in Chicago

At exactly 3:52 of a wintry Chicago afternoon in 1942, a scientist working in the University of Chicago's tightly guarded athletic field house dryly announced: "The curve is exponential." The speaker was Dr. Enrico Fermi; his four quiet words meant that a chain reaction had just been successfully brought about in the experimental uranium pile. Last week a TIME correspondent witnessed the unveiling of a plaque to mark the site:

The air was damp and chilling. Overhead, leaden black clouds were pushed across the sky by a gusty wind. The snow on the...

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