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Uranium Wars

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Science writer Amir Aczel examines the scientific discovery of nuclear power. Uranium Wars: The Scientific Rivalry that Created the Nuclear Age tells the story of the scientists who first uncovered the potential of uranium, and the complex and ongoing story of uranium itself, an element that both provides abundant energy and holds incredible destructive power.

Guests:

Amir Aczel

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Comments [3]

Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

In summary, the Hungarian Jewish physicist Leo Szilard is unquestionably the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT scientist in creating the Manhattan project and its ultimate success in being the first to develop the atomic bomb! He was also the first to urge it NOT be used on Japan once Germany had obviously failed in its own atomic bomb project. This threw him into disfavor with Groves and other bigwigs and politicians. He was never well liked by the politicos and brass hats.
As a result he is rarely mentioned when the subject comes up, as in the case with your guest.

Dec. 31 2009 01:53 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

Oh, in addition, Leo Szilard later shared the patent with Enrico Fermi on the invention of the first atomic pile (nuclear reactor) which Szilard made operable by insisting on the use of absolutely 100% PURE graphite as the moderator. The Germans failed with graphite because their highly vaunted instrumentation failed to pick up very slight impurities, whereas Szilard succeeded by obstinately insisting that failures were due to impurities and the Szilard-Fermi reactor succeeded once truly pure graphite was obtained.

Dec. 31 2009 01:47 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

I wish NPR, or someone, would explore the life of Leo Szilard, the true Father of the American atomic bomb, and the one who later most regretted his fateful action. Leo Szilard is most responsible for the discovery of the nuclear chain reaction process, as well as crafting the fateful letter which Einstein signed and sent to FDR that kicked off the Manhattan Project.

Dec. 31 2009 12:10 PM

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