Atomic Quest

Eschenburg Press, 12 janv. 2017 - 316 pages
Dr. Compton’s book gives the reader an inside view of history in the making of the weapon that changed the world – the atomic bomb. As director of the Metallurgical Laboratory of the Manhattan Project he was a major participant in the research, production and testing of the bomb.

From the vantage point of the key position he held from 1941 until 1945, Dr. Compton tells the whole story of the bomb’s progress from the presentation of the project to President Roosevelt, through its planning, research, and building phases, to its use in Japan. He depicts the project as a tremendous group effort enlisting the knowledge and talents of countless scientists, industrialists, and administrators, all of whom were working for the greater good of a nation in need of their help.

“an absorbing and eminently readable account...It is packed with new information and enlivened with precious detail and illuminating insights into the minds and personalities of the chief actors in the drama.”—Henry Guerlac, The New York Times Book Review

“Dr. Compton is a thinking man whose reflections range far beyond the confines of his scientific work: indeed, the distinctive quality of his book lies in his ability to reconcile the atomic bomb and similar operations with his belief as a practicing Christian.”—John Barkham, Saturday Review Syndicate

“It should be required reading for every American, for the free world...The narrative alone makes the book worth reading; its hopeful philosophy makes it mandatory reading.”—Robert S. Kleckner, Chicago Sunday Tribune

“For those who were in the project, it will mean many recollections. For those who were not, it should give an inkling of the character and capacity of many of the individuals, including Arthur Compton, who made success possible.”—Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves, U.S. Army (Retired)

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À propos de l'auteur (2017)

Arthur Holly Compton (September 10, 1892 - March 15, 1962) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his 1923 discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation.

Born in Wooster, Ohio in 1892, the son of Elias and Otelia Catherine Compton, he graduated from the University of Wooster with a Bachelor of Science degree and entered Princeton, where he received his Master of Arts degree in 1914. He earned his PhD in physics in 1916 and then spent a year as a physics instructor at the University of Minnesota in 1916-1917, followed by two years as a research engineer with the Westinghouse Lamp Company in Pittsburgh.

In 1919 Compton was awarded a National Research Council Fellowships for study abroad and chose Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he studied the scattering and absorption of gamma rays, which led to the discovery of the Compton effect. He used X-rays to investigate ferromagnetism, concluding that it was a result of the alignment of electron spins, and studied cosmic rays, discovering that they were made up principally of positively charged particles.

During World War II, Compton was a key figure in the Manhattan Project that developed the first nuclear weapons. In 1942, he became head of the Metallurgical Laboratory, oversaw Enrico Fermi’s creation of Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor, and was also responsible for the design and operation of the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Plutonium began being produced in the Hanford Site reactors in 1945.

After the war, Compton became Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. During his tenure, the university formally desegregated its undergraduate divisions, named its first female full professor, and enrolled a record number of students after wartime veterans returned to the United States.

He died in Berkeley, California in 1962, aged 69.

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