Nuclear Science Timeline

by Rick Maltese

1898 Polish born Marie and French born Pierre Curie publish paper on new elements Polonium and Radium

1906 Albert Einstein’s famous formula first appearance E=Mc2

1911 – Ernest Rutherford of New Zealand and Frederick Soddy of England while in Montreal’s McGill University explained isotopes and theory of the makeup of elements and radioactivity affecting changes in isotopes. Rutherford also named “alpha”, “beta” and “gamma” rays.

1914 H.G. Wells inspired by essays of Frederick Soddy predicts Nuclear Age in his novel “The World Set Free”

1915 Albert Einstein published the General Theory of Relativity

1919 November 7, leading British newspaper The Times printed a banner headline that read: “Revolution in Science – New Theory of the Universe – Newtonian Ideas Overthrown”. In an interview Nobel laureate Max Born praised general relativity as the “greatest feat of human thinking about nature”; fellow laureate Paul Dirac was quoted saying it was “probably the greatest scientific discovery ever made”.
1921 Frederick Soddy gets Nobel Prize in Chemistry
1922 Einstein receives Nobel Prize in Physics
1932 first artificial nuclear disintegration in history. John Douglas Cockcroft and Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton proving E=Mc2 using first particle accelerator Partcle Accelerator
1933 Concept of nuclear chain reaction conceived of by Leó Szilárd a student of Einstein.

1938 Henrico Fermi won Nobel Prize for work on induced radioactivity

1939 Germany started Nuclear Energy Project

1939 Leó Szilárd (hungarian jew) and Fermi (Italian) prove a hypothesis that fission is possible by chain reaction.

1939 Aug 2nd – The Einstein-Szilárd letter was a letter sent to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt that was signed by Albert Einstein but largely written by Leó Szilárd in consultation with fellow Hungarian physicists Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner. The letter advised Roosevelt that Nazi Germany might be researching the use of nuclear fission to create atomic bombs and suggested that the U.S. should begin studying the possibility itself.

1942 – Sites “X” and “Y” are set up for Manhattan Project which later become the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico

1942 December 2nd -The first human-controlled chain reaction occurred

1945 August 6 – Bombing of Hiroshima with gun type uranium bomb

1945 August 9 – Bombing of Nagasaki with implosion plutoniium bomb

1950 Alvin Weinberg’s first liquid reactor created by ORNL team called Homogeneous Reactor Experiment (HRE) was affectionately dubbed “Alvin’s 3P reactor” because it required a pot, a pipe, and a pump.

1954 Alvin Weinberg developed first Molten Salt Reactor which was meant as the experimental aircraft engine called Aircraft Reactor Experiment or the ARE reactor. It would later be abandoned in 1961 but the Molten Salt Reactor concept continued until 1974

1958 – Alvin Weinberg coauthored the first Nuclear Reactor textbook, The Physical Theory of Neutron Chain Reactors, with Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner.

1958 – China started their first Nuclear Reactor in Peking with the help of the Russians.

1964 October – First Nuclear Bomb tested by China

1969 One quarter of US electricity produced by 100 nuclear reactors
1973 Weinberg was fired by the Nixon Administration from ORNL after 18 years as the lab’s director because he continued to advocate increased nuclear safety and Molten Salt Reactors against the Republican Party’s selected Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (LMFBR) that the AEC’s Director of Reactor Division, Milton Shaw, was tasked to promote.

Mini Bio’s
Mari Curie 1867-1934
Ernest Rutherford 1871-1937
Frederick Soddy 1877-1956
Albert Einstein 1879-1955
John Douglas Cockcroft 1897-1967
Leó Szilárd 1898-1964
Enrico Fermi 1901-1954
Eugene Wigner 1902-1995
Robert Oppenheimer 1904-1967
Edward Teller 1908-2003
Stanislaw Ulam 1909-1984
Alvin Weinberg 1915-2006
Ralph Moir 1940-present

Various pages on Wikipedia helped in assembling this information

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:09

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