- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.