1942 to 1943: Early Manhattan Project

1942 to 1943: Early Manhattan Project

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Chicago Pile Argonne

1943 Dec

Emilio Segre measures the spontaneous fission rate of U-235 at Los Alamos, NM, and finds it lower than expected. This allows a substantial reduction in performance of the planned gun assembly method for uranium.

1943 Dec

After attempts to bring the first Alpha racetrack into operation fail, the Y-12 Plant is shut down for equipment rebuilding.

1943 Nov 4

The X-10 Graphite Reactor pile goes critical at Oak Ridge, TN. This air-cooled experimental pile begins producing the first substantial (gram) amounts of plutonium to assist research into its properties. The world supply of plutonium at this time is 2.5 mg, produced by cyclotrons. Also, a Manhattan Project Governing Board meeting approves an ambitious implosion research program, intended to develop it to the point of usability in six months.

1943 Nov

The Navy approves Philip Abelson's plan to build a liquid thermal diffusion pilot plant for enriching uranium, the S-50 Plant.

1943 Nov

The top experts in England on fission weapons, many former members of the MAUD committee, depart England for the US to assist the atomic bomb project. Included are Niels Bohr, Otto Frisch, Rudolf Peierls, James Chadwick, William Penney, George Placzek, Philip B. Moon, James Tuck, Egon Bretscher, and Klaus Fuchs.

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