In 1942, uranium enrichment plants were first established in the United States to make atomic bombs, and plutonium was produced in a separate nuclear reactor. The bomb made from enriched uranium was thrown into
Scientific developments in front of nuclear energy
When Becquerel radioactivity was found in 1896, work on this subject was accelerated. Irene Curie and his partner placed the aluminum particles in front of the aluminum particles from the radium, changed the structure of the aluminum atoms. Aluminum atoms turned into radioactive phosphors that are not found in nature. This was called “artificial radioactivity” (1933).
E. What happened when Fermi collided the neutron with the uranium atom?
The discovery of artificial radioactivity was very influential to the Italian physicist E. Fermi. In the same year, they started doing similar experiments, but in Italy the gram of radium was 34,000 dollars. Roman University had no budget to buy radium. Fermi also decided to use radon gas. Because he knew that radon gas produced neutrons, interfering with beryllium dust. He built a simple system that produces neutrons. He put the different materials in front of the neutron source and made new discoveries by examining the changes in the materials. But when uranium collided with neutron particles, uranium gave strange results. Uranium showed radioactivity far above normal. Uranium’s atomic number is 92. Fermi believed that the neutron impinging on the uranium atom was transformed into element 93, which was not yet known at the time, but this was wrong
Hitler’s disintegration of Germany and uranium
It was proved in 1938 that neutrons multiplying uranium atoms did not produce element number 93. The German chemist O. Hahn and the Austrian physicist L. Meitner have repeatedly tried to collide uranium atoms with the neutron. But he saw that uranium did not turn into element number 93. L. Meitner had to flee from Germany to Sweden in 1938 because he was of Jewish origin. Hahn continued with the experiments and discovered that the neutrons that hit the uranium smashed the uranium atom. However, the physicists did not believe that the atom was broken and claimed that it was made mistake. When L. Meitner learned from Hahn that the atom had disintegrated, he told the well-known physicist N. Bohr. Bohr believed that the atom had disintegrated and suggested a new experiment. Meitner experimented and proved that the divided uranium atoms emit energies. At that time Bohr had gone to the US to meet Einstein. Scientists in the United States have learned from Bohr that the Germans have broken the atom.
Beginning of atom bombing in the USA
E. Fermi won the Nobel Prize in 1938, but Mussolini, who held the administration, did not allow him to receive his award. Fermi, whose wife is of Jewish origin, already wanted to escape from Europe. He won awards and fled to the US. When he learned that the uranium atom had disintegrated, he was at Columbia University in the USA and understood his old mistake. Columbia University decided to collide uranium atoms with slow neutrons. Because he found that slow neutrons were more effective when he was in Italy. He used graphite as a neutron retarder and smashed uranium atoms. The fractured atoms also produced new neutrons. When a neutron divides a uranium atom, if two more neutrons are separated, these two neutrons divide the other two atoms and four neutrons are formed. Thus, the reaction is accelerated and can initiate a “chain reaction” to release nuclear energy. Fermi thought that way. For this purpose, he made a small “nuclear reactor” consisting of graphite blocks, neutron source, and uranium. The results are very good.
The world’s first nuclear chain reaction (December 2, 1942)
Roosevelt assigned a board called the “uranium committee” to take Einstein’s letter and the atom bombing work officially started. Fermi passed through the University of Chicago and built a nuclear reactor with a team of nuclear physics there. The nuclear reactor was made by putting uranium fuels between blocks of briquettes made of graphite. The reactor filled the small gym in college up to the pit. The Chicago Nuclear Reactor was operated under control on December 2, 1942, and for the first time in the world, a nuclear chain reaction took place.