Science: Nature's Reactor

The world's first nuclear chain reaction, according to all the history books, was man-made and occurred in a closely guarded makeshift laboratory under Stagg Field at the University of Chicago on Dec. 2, 1942. Last week a former high commissioner of the French Atomic Energy Commission took issue with that belief. Addressing a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, Physicist Francis Perrin argued that nature, not man, produced the first chain reaction, and that it occurred in an African uranium deposit perhaps 1.7 billion years ago.

Evidence of a prehistoric, spontaneous...

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