Manhattan Project

George B. Kistiakowsky and the Manhattan Project

George B. Kistiakowsky and the Manhattan Project

On November 18, 1900, Ukrainian-American physical chemist Kistiakowsky was born. Kistiakowsky worked on developing the first atomic bomb but later advocated banning nuclear weapons. In the Manhattan project, he was in charge of X Division, which was responsible for the development of the explosive lenses necessary for an implosion-type nuclear weapon. In his youth, George Bogdanovich Kistiakowsky joined the anti-Communist White Army and escaped from Russia in a french ship.…
Joseph G. Hamilton and the health effects of radioactive isotopes

Joseph G. Hamilton and the health effects of radioactive isotopes

On November 11, 1907, American professor of Medical Physics, Experimental Medicine, General Medicine, and Experimental Radiology Joseph Gilbert Hamilton was born. Hamilton studied the medical effects of exposure to radioactive isotopes, which also included the use of unsuspecting human subjects. Joseph Hamilton joined the University of California and earned his Bachelors degree in Chemistry in 1929. He continued his education and studied medicine in Berkeley and also worked at the University…
Harrison Brown and the Isolation of Plutonium

Harrison Brown and the Isolation of Plutonium

On September 26, 1916, American nuclear chemist and geochemist Harrison Scott Brown was born. Brown is generally known for his role in isolating plutonium for its use in the first atomic bombs and for his studies regarding meteorites and the Earth’s origin. He also was a political activist, who lectured and wrote on the issues of arms limitation, natural resources and world hunger. Harrison Brown was born in Sheridan, Wyoming,…
Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

On July 6, 1913, Canadian mathematician Jordan Carson Mark was born. Mark is best known for his work on developing nuclear weapons for the United States at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He oversaw the development of new weapons, including the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. On the hydrogen bomb project he was able to bring together experts like Edward Teller, Stanislaw Ulam and Marshall Holloway despite their personal differences.…
Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

On May 31, 1912, Chinese-American experimental physicist Chien-Shiung Wu was born. Wu is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. This discovery resulted in her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, and also earned Wu the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. Chien-Shiung…
Alfred Nier and Mass Spectroscopy

Alfred Nier and Mass Spectroscopy

On May 28, 1911, American physicist Alfred Otto Carl Nier was born. Nier pioneered the development of mass spectrometry. He was the first to use mass spectrometry to isolate uranium-235 which was used to demonstrate that 235U could undergo fission and developed the sector mass spectrometer configuration now known as Nier-Johnson geometry. Alfred Otto Carl Nier attended the University of Minnesota and graduated in electrical engineering in 1931. Nier decided…
The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

On April 22, 1904, American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was born. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer‘s achievements in physics included the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory…
Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

On March 2, 1902, American nuclear physicist Edward Uhler Condon was born. Condon was a pioneer in quantum mechanics and a participant in the development of radar and nuclear weapons during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. The Franck–Condon principle and the Slater–Condon rules are co-named after him. Edward Condon initially attended the College of Chemistry at the University of California and later switched his major to…
Sir Joseph Rotblat and the Nuclear Test Ban

Sir Joseph Rotblat and the Nuclear Test Ban

On November 4, 1908, Polish physicist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Joseph Rotblat was born. Rotblat was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project (1942–46) on the grounds of conscience. Rotblat’s work on nuclear fallout was a major contribution toward the ratification of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A signatory of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto (1955), he was secretary-general of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs…
Otto Frisch and the Nuclear Fission

Otto Frisch and the Nuclear Fission

On October 1, 1904, Austrian-British physicist Otto Robert Frisch was born. With his aunt Lise Meitner, Frisch described the division of neutron-bombarded uranium into lighter elements. With his collaborator Rudolf Peierls he designed the first theoretical mechanism for the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1940. Otto Frisch was the son of the painter Justinian Frisch and the concert pianist Auguste Meitner Frisch. Even though Otto was talented in the…
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