Sunday, December 2, 2012

On December 2

Depiction of the 1942  nuclear experiment
On this day in ...
... 1942 (70 years ago today), in "a jury-rigged laboratory" on a squash court underneath the Stagg Field bleachers at the University of Chicago, occurred the 1st human-made, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. At the head of this experiment was Enrico Fermi, an Italy-born Nobel laureate in physics who'd fled his homeland a few years earlier, during the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. A coded message from Fermi to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt thus heralded the nuclear era:
'The Italian navigator has landed in the new world.'
Fermi's Manhattan Project breakthrough would advance U.S. efforts to construct an atomic bomb.

(Prior December 2 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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