By Alvin M. Weinberg (auth.), Alvin M. Weinberg (eds.)
Eugene Wigner is likely one of the only a few scientists that can competently be describedas creators of 20th-century physics. This quantity of his amassed Works is dedicated to his contributions to nuclear strength. In his advent and Annotations A.M. Weinberg surveys Wigner's contributions to nuclear-reaction physics and nuclear engineering, whilst giving a glimpse of the early background of nuclear-reactor expertise. Wigner himself gave a full of life and important account, that's released during this quantity for the 1st time. moreover the booklet comprises forty-two experiences and memoranda from 1941 to 1945 and twelve of Wigner's many patents in relation to nuclear energy.
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Szilard was very strongly opposed to this as he felt that Compton 40 Memoir of the Uranium Project should give a good example in making a sacrifice and leave his accustomed surroundings. In addition, both he and I were afraid that Compton would not be able to devote full attention to the project if he were at the University where he would be called upon so frequently for advice and help. Not everybody was very enthusiastic for the concentration. I was rather swept away by Szilard's enthusiasm but secretly I agreed pretty much with Fermi who thought that the atmosphere for quiet and thorough work would be more favorable if the work were not centralized to such a large extent.
The most lasting effect of their work was the establishing of a Reference Committee under Breit's chairmanship. This committee was to review papers before publication and thus prevent important information from being available to potential enemies of the country. The membership of the committee was, as I remember it, Breit, Condon, Fermi, Approaching the Government 29 Urey, Beams, Pegram and myself. This committee continued to function for about a year. Papers which were received for publication were sent by the Editor of the Journal to Breit who circulated them among the members of the committee.
On the whole, one would hesitate little to call the early months of 1942 the golden time of the project. The projected scale of operations was not yet a very large one. We considered the enterprise as an experimental one which had a considerable chance to shorten the war and bring about victory. However, we thought that our work would not be permitted to interfere with the production of the ordinary weapons of warfare and we tried to make only demands which were compatible with this idea. I can quote as an example that we were perturbed when we found that about 4,000 tons of steel would be needed eventually for construction and shielding of a pile.