Self-Sustaining Nuclear Chain Reaction Demonstration

Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi created the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction demonstration on December 2, 1942 at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA for a 40 person audience. Neutrons, spontaneously released by atoms of metallic uranium that were embedded in a suitable pattern throughout a block of graphite, collided with neighboring atoms of uranium oxide, causing these atoms to split. The split atoms released additional neutrons, causing multiple reactions with other uranium atoms at a rapidly increasing rate.

      December 2, 1942
      Enrico Fermi
      Chicago, IL, USA

Additional Information:

  • Chicago Pile-1 – Wikipedia
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