nuclear fission

John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

On July 9, 1911, American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler was born. Wheeler worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission as well as with Albert Einstein, with whom he tried to achieve Einstein’s vision of a unified field theory. He is also known for popularizing the term black hole, and for coining the terms quantum foam, and wormhole. Background John Wheeler John Archibald Wheeler grew up in a Unitarian…
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How the Chernobyl Disaster Started

How the Chernobyl Disaster Started

On Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster started. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history and is one of only two nuclear energy disasters rated at seven — the maximum severity — on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima…
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Experimental Breeder Reactor I – The World’s First Nuclear Power Plant

Experimental Breeder Reactor I – The World’s First Nuclear Power Plant

On December 20, 1951, Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I) became the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plant when it produced sufficient electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs. From Manhattan Project to Atomic Energy Commission The reactor is located in the the state of Idaho between the Idaho Falls and Arco. The construction was designed by Walter Zinn and Enrico Fermi at the Argonne National Laboratory.[5] The famous Italian physicist Fermi became next…
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Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds – The Trinity Test

Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds – The Trinity Test

On July 16, 1945, the first detonation of a nuclear device with the code name Trinity took place in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico. Although nuclear chain reactions had been hypothesized already in 1933 and the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (Chicago Pile-1) had taken place in December 1942, the date of the Trinity test is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age. Los Alamos director…
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Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

On June 28, 1912, German physicist at philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker was born. Being a member of the team of physicists, who under Werner Heisenberg‘s lead performed nuclear research in Germany during World War 2, Weizsäcker later made important theoretical discoveries regarding energy production in stars from nuclear fusion processes. He also did influential theoretical work on planetary formation in the early Solar System. “It’s useful when we learn to wonder…
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The Three Mile Island Accident

The Three Mile Island Accident

On March 28, 1979, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred in one of the two Three Mile Island nuclear reactors in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The so-called Three Mile Island Accident was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history. Three Miles Downriver from Middletown, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island has got its name because it is located three miles downriver from Middletown, Pennsylvania. The plant was originally built by General Public Utilities…
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The First Self-Sustained Nuclear Chain Reaction

The First Self-Sustained Nuclear Chain Reaction

On December 2, 1942, during the Manhattan Project, a team led by Italian born physicist Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in the Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1), the world‘s first human-made nuclear reactor, and initiated the so-called atomic age. CP-1 was built on a rackets court, under the abandoned west stands of the original Alonzo Stagg Field stadium, at the University of Chicago. Nuclear Chain Reaction and the Atomic Bomb…
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Lise Meitner – The Misjudged Genius

Lise Meitner – The Misjudged Genius

On October 27, 1968, Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner passed away. She is known today for her passionate and extraordinary work on radioactivity and nuclear physics along with her colleague Otto Hahn,[1] who was honored with the Nobel Prize while Meitner stayed unrecognized. Family Background and Early Life Lise Meitner was born on November 7, 1878 in Vienna Leopoldstadt (2nd district of Vienna), Austria. She was the third daughter of the Jewish lawyer Philipp Meitner and…
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Otto Hahn – the Father of Nuclear Chemistry

Otto Hahn – the Father of Nuclear Chemistry

On March 8, 1879, German chemist and pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry Otto Hahn was born. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for the discovery and the radiochemical proof of nuclear fission at the exclusion of his colleague Lise Meitner. He is referred to as the father of nuclear chemistry. “Usually, a discovery is not made in the easiest but on a complicated way; the simple cases…
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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, USA, the…
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