A memorandum that changed the world

  title={A memorandum that changed the world},
  author={Jeremy Bernstein},
  journal={American Journal of Physics},
  • J. Bernstein
  • Published 15 April 2011
  • Materials Science
  • American Journal of Physics
We present an analysis of both the content and the influence of the 1940 memoir by Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls that showed that nuclear weapons were possible. 

Revisiting The Los Alamos Primer

A concise packet of lecture notes offers a window into one of the turning points of 20th-century history.

Comments on the Physics of the Frisch-Peierls Memorandum

  • B. Reed
  • Physics
    Nuclear Technology
  • 2022
Abstract This technical note offers comments and suggestions regarding four issues involved with the Frisch-Peierls memorandum of 1940: (1) Propagation of transcription errors in subsequent

The Discovery and Interpretation of Nuclear Fission

  • B. Reed
  • Physics
    The History and Science of the Manhattan Project
  • 2019
If the story of the four-year progression from Enrico Fermi’s discovery of neutron-induced radioactivity to the discovery of fission were cast as a suspense novel, it would probably be considered too

“Francis Perrin’s Early-1939 Analysis of Uranium Criticality: A Look Back”

In the May 1, 1939, edition of Comptes Rendus, the weekly journal of the French Academy of Sciences, physicist Francis Perrin (1901-1992; Fig. 1) of the Collège de France published a 3-page paper

A physicists guide to The Los Alamos Primer

In April 1943, a group of scientists at the newly established Los Alamos Laboratory were given a series of lectures by Robert Serber on what was then known of the physics and engineering issues

Nuclear Science for the Manhattan Project and Comparison to Today’s ENDF Data

Abstract Nuclear physics advances in the United States and Britain from 1939 to 1945 are described. The Manhattan Project’s work led to an explosion in our knowledge of nuclear science. A conference

Critical Mass and Efficiency

This chapter investigates the issue of the amount of fissile material needed to make a workable nuclear weapon—the so-called critical mass—and what efficiency one might expect for a fission bomb.

Misinterpreted Documents and Ignored Physical Facts: The History of 'Hitler's Atomic Bomb' needs to be corrected.

  • Manfred Popp
  • History, Medicine
    Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
  • 2016
A detailed analysis of all preserved documents on the German atomic bomb research during the ‘Third Reich’ reveals considerable mistakes by the authors due to incomplete analysis of documents, misinterpretations of scientific explanations and ignoring of physical facts.



Heisenberg and the critical mass

An elementary treatment of the critical mass used in nuclear weapons is presented and applied to an analysis of the wartime activities of the German nuclear program. In particular, the work of Werner

The Scattering by Uranium Nuclei of Fast Neutrons and the Possible Neutron Emission Resulting from Fission

The work to be described concerns only fast neutrons, and its object is the study of their scattering by uranium and the possible neutron emission which accompanies the fission of the nucleus.

Nuclear Fission of Separated Uranium Isotopes

SOME recent accounts in the daily Press referring to the separation of uranium (235) would suggest developments arising from a letter in the Physical Review (57, 546), by Dr. A. O. Nier. Nier there

Zur Trennung der Chlorisotope

Es ist unumg~ngl ich nStig, dieses Znsammenwirken welter auszubauen, da so die jeweiligen Untersuchungen den prakt ischen Bedtirfnissen immer mehr angepag t werden.

Critical conditions in neutron multiplication

  • R. Peierls
  • Physics
    Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 1939
It is well known that a single neutron may cause a nuclear reaction chain of considerable magnitude, if it moves in a medium in which the number of secondary neutrons which are produced by neutron

Calcul relative aux conditions éventuelles de transmission en chaine dl ’ uranium

  • C . R . Acad . Sci . URSS