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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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Start of the Nuclear Era
26 January 2000 6:00 pm
Today marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most remarkable--and certainly one of the most fateful--scientific achievements of the 20th century: nuclear fission.
Renowned physicist Niels Bohr announced at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on 26 January 1939 that German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman had inadvertently produced nuclear fission while bombarding uranium with neutrons to produce heavier elements. The duo produced barium, a lighter element, and they quickly realized that they had split the uranium atom into two roughly equal parts. Calculations suggested that this process could generate tremendous energy; scientists later found that the fission of 1 gram of uranium releases a whopping 100 million kilojoules. Moreover, this process was capable of self-propagation by a chain reaction.
Hahn and Strassman's discovery led to the development of the atomic bomb, which the United States used against Japan in August 1945. A few months later, Hahn received the belated news that he had been awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on nuclear fission.