A Comprehensive Look At Atomic History, World Atomic History
If we take a look at history, it becomes pretty evident that one of the most important, revolutionary, and life-changing incidents that the world has witnessed is the development of the first atomic bomb and the nuclear fission reaction back in 1942. The world has never been the same after the first atomic bomb was created during the World War II. In this article, we take you on a journey through the atomic history back in time. We will take a look at all that happened back then and how it remains to be revolutionary till present date.
Quick Overview of the Atomic History
The first ever nuclear fission atomic reaction was carried out in a vacant squash court in the basement of Chicago University. Italian-born physicist Enrico Fermi carried out the demonstration for the very first time. This was the first time ever in history that an atomic reaction was carried out and the experiment had turned out to be successful.
Prediction Made by Fermi, Einstein and Szilard
Some two years before this experiment was carried out, Fermi along with Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard had predicted that the atomic weapon development would turn out to be very harmful during the Nazi development. The prediction was made in a written letter to the President of United States at that time, Franklin Roosevelt. The letter was written to predict the inflicting danger and harm that would come as a result of it. This is what led to Roosevelt approve the atomic program of the United States.
Atomic ‘Manhattan’ Project
The atomic project was named the Manhattan project and developments on this project began in early 1942. The main aim was to build an atomic bomb successfully. Fermi who is also the recipient of the Noble Prize in Physics in 1938 was the only one who managed to successfully demonstrate a nuclear reaction in the early ventures of the project. The project however, was to continue for quite some time and required a lot of patience. The world had eyes on this project of the century. It was not until July of 1945 that the United States of America managed to test its first ever atomic bomb successfully.
Use of Atomic Bombs in Japan
It was in the same year when two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that impaired generations of the country to come. Fermi died soon after. However, his heroic development of the atomic bomb won him an element of chemistry ‘Fermium’ to be named after him. The element was named after him in 1946 i.e. one year after his death.
Advent of The Atomic Age in History
The atomic age in history started on December 1942 at around 4 pm in the afternoon. The location for the experiment was in the basement of University of Chicago. A vacant and empty squash court was chosen for this purpose – just for safety reasons. Even today the sculpture of nuclear energy of Henry Moore still stands in the area to mark the advent of the atomic age from this zone. Today known as the Ellis Avenue and the 57th street, this is exactly the place where Fermi along with his experimental partners carried out the first ever nuclear fission reaction in history of atom and science.
This event took place some 70 years ago and marked a revolution in the world of science ever since. The world was claimed to change after the successful completion of this experiment and so it did.
This experiment also holds a key position and played a pivotal role in the Manhattan project.
This project was later going to have the credit to develop the atomic bomb that played an imperative role during the World War 2.
1st Nuclear Fission Chain Reaction
The first initial nuclear fission chain reaction that was carried out did not go to well. It is believed that the first reaction was not even powerful enough to light up an electric bulb. The power generated from this reaction was so weak and feeble. Although the first chain reaction might not have been as successful as imagined, but still it marked a great transformation and revolution in the world of science. Even back in the year 1942, the impact of this chain reaction was felt and acknowledged. It was the beginning of something mighty and great and this was not even possible to deny back then.
Moreover, the first nuclear chain reaction greatly revolutionized various fields of study including physics, chemistry, nuclear medicine and policy analysis.
An American physicist who was involved in the nuclear fission reaction back in 1942 Samuel K. Allison wrote a memoir at that time. He mentions in his memoir that the world would greatly evolve and never be the same once after this chain reaction was done with. This proved to be 100% true in the long run and has made the impact of nuclear fission and atomic bomb development even greater. The influence of it was on a very large scale and too widespread.
Legacy of First Nuclear Chain Reaction
The legacy of the first nuclear chain reaction continues to last even after all these years. Although the first chain reaction was not mega or mighty and in fact very feeble – it still did not go to be disregarded and was noted down in history as a success. Hence, the success of the first ever successful nuclear fission chain reaction makes the legacy of it long-lasting and continue in the long run. If we choose to look at the bigger picture, there have been three consequences of the first nuclear fission reaction.
- Multiple uses of nuclear energy
- Mighty and lethal power of nuclear weapons
- Revolutionary developments in science and technology
Multiple Uses of Nuclear Energy
The first thing that needs to be acknowledged as a result of the first nuclear reaction was a series of other chain reactions that carried out consequently. This gave rise to multiple uses of nuclear energy that have only grown and expanded over the years. The following are some of the highlight uses of nuclear energy in modern day and time.
- Radioisotopes are important elements of nuclear energy. These radioisotopes are used today in the agricultural field to improve the overall food production and eliminated malnutrition from the world.
- Plant mutation breeding is also a common phenomenon that has followed the development and revolution of nuclear energy. Irradiated materials are used for this purpose. These elements are used to artificially create plantation that grows with carefully selected desirable traits and characteristics.
- Radiation is used to synthetically mutate genes to generate desirable traits as well. Hence, it is actively being used these days to grow plantlets of desirable characteristics.
- Radioactive elements are also used in modern day fertilizers. These chemically boosted fertilizers are very helpful to kill all pesticides and insects that attack agricultural crops and damage them. A popular technique that is used for this purpose is known as SIT technique.
- The use of radiation is much common in the field of health and medicine as well. Radioactive elements and rays are used to carry out X-rays, ultrasounds and other similar tests.
- Radiation is also used as part of chemotherapy process that is a popular choice of treatment to treat cancer. However, very controlled amount of radiation is allowed during this process and it takes place in carefully controlled environment as well.
- Radiation and radioactive elements are also a very important part to diagnostic techniques and procedures. These are used to diagnose physical problems and to cut throw the body muscles to reveal what happens inside.
Lethal Power of Nuclear Weapons
The truth behind the lethal and deadly power of nuclear weapons is no secret to anyone. The atomic bomb that was created during the World War II was a result of the lethal nuclear fission reactions that carried out. The impact of the atomic bombs was deadly when it was used in Japan during the WW2 and it adversely impacted the generations to come. There are many countries that today are known as nuclear power countries because they possess one or more nuclear weapons. War is greatly feared in today’s time as the harm that will come as a result of war including nuclear power and weapons is unimaginable.
Developments in Fields of Science and Technology
The first nuclear chain reaction not only marked the beginning of atomic history almost 70+ years ago but also highlighted many developments that were to be made in the field of science and technology as a result of it all. The developments in science and nuclear medicine are undeniable and mighty. Nuclear energy has drastically contributed to the field of science and many scientists as well as physicists have come on board on the bandwagon to contribute to the developmental researches that are carried out in order to explore other horizons of science and technology.
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