First nuclear reactor radiation, 1942

First nuclear reactor radiation, 1942

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Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, courtesy EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: First nuclear reactor radiation. Trace obtained by a Lindemann electrometer of the radiation produced by the world's first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1). This historic event took place at 15:22 local time on 2 December 1942, at the University of Chicago, USA. The reactor, using uranium fuel, was built under the supervision of Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. The traces represent the motion of the electrometer needle for a fixed time interval, the slope showing the current resulting from gas in an ion chamber ionised by gamma rays. The recording unit was located on the balcony (see T162/0120). Recording provided by US physicist Ernest Omar Wollan (1902-1984).

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