Who Invented the Bomb?
“The Manhattan Project had a conflict with Leo Szilard, when he wanted financial compensation for the patent he had on nuclear chain reactions (that did not work) before the U.S. began working on the bomb.”
The Nuclear Fission Fiasco
The worthless official version by Wiki: Otto Hahn OBE, ForMemRS (8 March 1879 28 July 1968) was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as one of the most significant chemists of all times and especially as “the father of nuclear chemistry”.
The problem here is that “the father of nuclear chemistry” got it wrong on almost every count, even though he was given the correct solution by a woman and it took yet another woman to convince him that she was right. Note that neither of the women were acknowledged for their contribution to physics.
Hahn, following the misguided instructions of Enrico Fermi was barking up the wrong tree for years before finally and reluctantly, accepting the ideas of Ida Noddack second hand from Lise Meitner. He was a sceptic who would not recognise an original idea if it bit him in the ass. He duplicated and recorded the experiments of other physicists like Fermi and had he found anything new or original, he would have ignored it for fear of ridicule from his peers. This is how the science game is played. Anyone who knows a good reason why he was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry is duty-bound to inform the rest of us.
Ida Noddack and Nuclear Fission
Wiki gets it right: “Noddack correctly criticized Enrico Fermi’s chemical proofs in his 1934 neutron bombardment experiments, from which he postulated that transuranic elements might have been produced, and which was widely accepted for a few years. Her paper, “On Element 93” suggested a number of possibilities, centering around Fermi’s failure to chemically eliminate all lighter than uranium elements in his proofs, rather than only down to lead. The paper is considered historically significant today not simply because she correctly pointed out the flaw in Fermi’s chemical proof but because she suggested the possibility that “it is conceivable that the nucleus breaks up into several large fragments, which would of course be isotopes of known elements but would not be neighbors of the irradiated element.” In so doing she presaged what would become known a few years hence as nuclear fission.”
Hahn of course, followed Enrico Fermi’s lead and ignored Noddack:
Wiki: 1938, Enrico Fermi’s accidental Neutron Transmutation
“The 1938 (Nobel) prize went to Enrico Fermi in part for “his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation”. However, in this case, the award later appeared to be premature: Fermi thought he had created transuranic elements (specifically, Hesperium a mixture of barium, krypton and other elements), but had in fact unwittingly demonstrated nuclear fission (and had actually created only fission products—isotopes of much lighter elements than uranium). The fact that Fermi’s interpretation was incorrect was discovered shortly after he had received his prize.”
Note: As the author of these pages, I try to keep to the original quotes, but in this case the obfuscation and misdirection is so thickly applied that it’s impossible. Both Fermi and Hahn received Nobel prizes for things they had completely failed to achieve. But in physics it is not uncommon for the incompetent to be rewarded. See transistor
Wiki informs us: “But no physicist or chemist really took Noddack’s speculation seriously or tested it… The idea that heavy atomic nuclei could break down into lighter elements was regarded as totally inadmissible by all physicists, (but obviously not by all chemists)… The Hahn group was indeed able to establish the presence of multiple isotopes of at least four such elements and (mistakenly) identify them as elements with atomic numbers 93 through 96…
..The idea of turning uranium into barium (by removing around 100 nucleons) was seen as preposterous (but was, in fact, what had happened). On 10 November during a visit to Copenhagen, Hahn discussed these results with Niels Bohr and Lise Meitner. Further refinements of the technique, leading to the decisive experiment on 16-17 December 1938… produced puzzling results: the three isotopes consistently behaved not as radium, but as barium.” (because they were barium) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Hahn
The bottom line, for those who don’t understand the above – and that includes most of us non physicists, – is that Hahn, Meitner and Strassmann, encouraged by Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr, wasted five years labouring under the self-imposed misconception that barium was either radium or one of the another transuranic elements. The Nobel prize was awarded for a titanic catastrophe.
Yet we still read today: “He (Hahn) is regarded as one of the most significant chemists of all time and especially as “the father of nuclear chemistry”.See Wiki.
Both Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr were recruited for the Manhattan Project after helping create this monumental fiasco.
It gets ever more bizarre:
Meitner supports Hahn on TV
Wiki: “And in an interview on West German television (ARD, 8 March 1959), Lise Meitner said:
“Hahn and Strassmann were able to do this by exceptionally good chemistry, fantastically good chemistry, which was way ahead of what anyone else was capable of at that time. The Americans learned to do it later. But at that time, Hahn and Strassmann were really the only ones who could do it. And that was because they were such good chemists. Somehow they really succeeded in using chemistry to demonstrate and prove a physical process.”” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Hahn
You could not make this stuff up!
The Pioneers of the Bomb
The history of science is embellished with propaganda, that it may appear, to those ignorant of true science history to be the well-oiled machine of discovery by those made of the right stuff, like Hahn.
It’s mostly lies.
The pioneers of the atomic bomb (and it’s the bomb that all this fuss is about) had much in common: Most were German or Jews or both, they all worked together in Germany at one time or another and they certainly all knew each other very well. The idea that nuclear fission was the culmination of years of theoretical hard work is baloney. It was about sex discrimination, desperation and grasping the final straw; that a female chemist, Ida Noddack, may just, have the right answer.
Lise Meitner et alii
jwa.org: “She led several courses in quantum physics with her outstanding graduate students (such as Leo Szilard) as assistants, until Adolf Hitler’s racist decrees in April, 1933 stripped Jewish academics of their professorial positions.”
Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch 13 January 1939
Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch realised that the impact of a neutron must have distorted the uranium nucleus in such a way that it became elongated. (as Ida Noddack had predicted) If the drop became elongated the electric forces could dominate, allowing the nucleus to tear in two. Frisch suggested the term ‘fission’ to describe this splitting of a heavy nucleus into two pieces of roughly equal size…
Frisch and Meitner calculated that the energy would be surprisingly large at 200 MeV.
Basically, Frisch applied the word “fission” and they did some math.
But, apparently no, that is not the way it happened.:
Otto Frisch “Meitner’s and Frisch’s paper explained the physics behind the phenomenon. Frisch went back to Copenhagen, where he was quickly able to isolate the fragments produced by fission reactions. As Frisch himself later recalls, a fundamental idea of the direct experimental proof of the nuclear fission was suggested to him by George Placzek.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Robert_Frisch
We now have another unsung hero who gives the answer to Meitner and Frisch who then pass the info on to Hahn.
…he suggested a direct experimental proof of nuclear fission. Together with Niels Bohr and others, he was instrumental in clarifying the role of Uranium 235 for the possibility of nuclear chain reaction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Placzek
But we see that Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi above, assured Otto Hahn that he was correct in assuming that radium was barium? Can it be that the sceptics also ignored the work of George Placzek? Or is there something else going on here that we unscientific pleb’s are not capable of understanding?
Yes, that must be what it is!
There are those who think that Meitner should have had a Nobel prize?: http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow.cfm?id=10-nobel-snubs
Surely they mean The Ig Nobel prize for balls-up
Wiki: “Delbrueck returned to Berlin in 1932 as an assistant to Lise Meitner, who was collaborating with Otto Hahn on irradiation of uranium with neutrons.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Delbr%C3%BCck
Delbrueck played no part in the discovery of nuclear fission, it’s a name-dropping game that Wiki plays.
1934 Leo Szilard (or Dr. Strangelove his alter ego) patents the fission reactor before nuclear fission had been observed.
Provisional Specification No. 7840 1934
Improvements in or relating to the Transmutation of Chemical Elements
Accepted Dec 12 1935.
collinsdictionary.com says: “US physicist, born in Hungary, who originated the idea of a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (in 1934 whilst working as an assistant to Lise Meitner).”
Had Szilard been talking to Ida Noddack and did he get the patent idea from her?
chemheritage.org: “In 1938 Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, and Fritz Strassmann (1902–1980) became the first to recognize that the uranium atom, when bombarded by neutrons, actually split.”
world-nuclear.org tells us: “These 1939 developments sparked activity in many laboratories. Hahn and Strassman showed that fission not only released a lot of energy but that it also released additional neutrons which could cause fission in other uranium nuclei and possibly a self-sustaining chain reaction leading to an enormous release of energy. This suggestion was soon confirmed experimentally by Joliot and his co-workers in Paris, and Leo Szilard working with Fermi in New York.” http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Current-and-Future-Generation/Outline-History-of-Nuclear-Energy/
We see above that George Placzek suggested a direct experimental proof of nuclear fission.
Note: Leo Szilard is always on the scene when something patentable is in the offing.
Letter on discoveries of Uranium Fission
From: Leo Szilard
To: Lewis L Strauss
Date: January 25, 1939 …I see, however, in connection with this new discovery potential possibilities in another direction. These might lead to a large-scale production of energy and radioactive elements, unfortunately also perhaps to atomic bombs. This new discovery revives all the hopes and fears in this respect which I had in 1934 and 1935, and which I have as good as abandoned in the course of the last two years. At present I am running a high temperature and am therefore confined to my four walls, but perhaps I can tell you more about these new developments some other time. Meanwhile you may look out for a paper in “Nature” by Frisch and Meitner which will soon appear and which might give you some information about this new discovery.
With best wishes,
Szilard’s had applied for chain reaction patents 440,023 & 630,726 in 1934
Leo Szilard – Nuclear Fission Reactor :
Leo Szilard was the co-inventor with Enrico Fermi of the first nuclear reactor (U.S. Patent 2,708,656).”
Szilard’s chain reaction patents 440,023 & 630,726 lodged 1934
Provisional Specification No. 7840 1934
Improvements in or relating to the Transmutation of Chemical Elements
Accepted Dec 12 1935.
Provisional Specification No. 19157 1934
Accepted March 30, 1936 (but withheld from publication under Section 30 of the Patent and Designs Acts 1907 to 1932)
Date of publication 1949.
Szilard first attempted to create a chain reaction using beryllium and indium, but these elements did not produce a chain reaction. In 1936, he assigned the chain-reaction patent to the British Admiralty to ensure its secrecy (UK Patent 630726). Szilárd also was the co-holder, with Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, of the patent on the nuclear reactor (U.S. Patent 2708656).
In 1938 Szilard accepted an offer to conduct research at Columbia University in Manhattan, and moved to New York, and was soon joined by Fermi. After learning about nuclear fission in 1939, they concluded that uranium would be the element capable of sustaining a chain reaction.
The Manhattan Project
inventors.about.com “The Manhattan Project had a conflict with Leo Szilard, when he wanted financial compensation for the patent he had on nuclear chain reactions before the U.S. began working on the bomb. (that did not work)
Ida Noddack Wiki
(25 February 1896 – 29 October 1978), Ida Noddack ne Ida Tacke, was a German chemist and physicist. (She was a chemist) She was the first to mention the idea of nuclear fission in 1934. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_Noddack
Leo Szilard’s patent is dated 1934.
Ida Noddack again
rsc.org: “When heavy nuclei are bombarded by neutrons, it would be reasonable to conceive that they break down into numerous large fragments which are isotopes of known elements but are not neighbours of the bombarded elements”(Noddack said). Thus Ida Noddack had appreciated, before anybody else, the idea of nuclear fission. She had argued that when atoms are bombarded by protons or ?-particles, the nuclear reactions that take place involve the emission of an electron, a proton, or a helium nucleus and the mass of the bombarded atom suffers little change. When, however, neutrons, which carry no electric charge are used to bombard atoms, different types of nuclear reaction from those previously known would take place.
Fermi’s experiments were immediately repeated by Otto Hahn and his co-workers in Berlin. They confirmed his conclusions and published a series of papers on extensive radiochemical separations of the so-called trans-uranium elements. (They were not trans-uranium and both Fermi and Hahn were completely wrong) The results, however, became so contradictory that after five years of intensive research and extensive publication the concept of trans-uranium elements had to be abandoned. Hahn then announced in January 1939 the formation of barium during the bombardment of uranium and started speculating about the mechanism of its formation.
At that time Hahn was 55 and director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry (now Max Planck Institute). A well-established scientist, he had travelled abroad on numerous scientific missions, had discovered protactinium with his associate Lise Meitner (1878-1968) in 1918, and had written a textbook on radiochemistry. But, he apparently could not accept Ida Noddack’s idea that the uranium atom was split into two fragments. It was Lise Meitner who in 1939 finally explained the results (After the explanation had already been given to her by Ida Noddack) of the work as fission, a few months later she was forced to leave Germany and move to Stockholm.
(Note: Most important ideas are made by non scientists or by scientists of other disciplines, in this case by a non physicists. The ideas are intuitive and free from scientific methodology and restricting theory. This is so common in science history as to have become the rule.)
In October 1969 Ida Noddack was invited by the former USSR Academy of Sciences to the Mendeleev’s Periodic Table centennial celebrations in Leningrad (now St Petersburg). She was then the only living chemist who had discovered a naturally occurring element. (Among those who attended was Emilio Segr (1905-89), who discovered the synthetic element technetium. Although Noddack was unable to attend because of sickness, her paper The periodic system and the search for the eka-manganeses was translated into Russian and read at the conference. In this paper she told of the circumstances of her discovery and had the last word regarding the controversy on the trans-uranium elements which she believed tainted her scientific career. http://www.rsc.org/Education/EiC/issues/2009March/ida-noddack-rhenium-nuclear-fission.asp
Who Found the Missing Link?
DVD, Who Found the Missing Link? (Uranium), Films for the Humanities & Sciences (2004)
chemteach.heartrockranch.net: “While (sic) student teaching spring semester AP Chemistry, my sponsoring teacher suggested I show this movie. It tells the tale of Lise Meitner, her role in the discovery of nuclear fission, and shares perspectives on sex discrimination. We viewed the film (26 min) and students wrote a one-page reflection.”
The discovery of nuclear fission Hans Bethe Scientist
Leo Sziland “invented” an updated version of the nuclear fission reactor in 1955? http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blnuclearfission.htm