AUTHORHeisenberg, Werner
TITLEResearch in Germany on the Technical Application of Atomic Energy
PERIODICAL TITLENature
DATE PUBLISHED1947
VOLUME NUMBER160
ISSUE NUMBER16 August
PAGE NUMBERS211-215
ISSN0028-0836


In this seminal article, prominent nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg presents an overview of German efforts during World War II to produce a nuclear reactor. The article, an abridged English language version of an earlier German article in the scientific journal Die Naturwissenschaften, covers the wartime experiments and findings of key German nuclear scientists, including their work on isotope separation, experiments with different moderators, theoretical work on plutonium, and Heisenberg’s own attempts to create a nuclear chain reaction. The article also describes administrative aspects of the German nuclear program including the agencies running the program and a 1942 meeting between Armaments Minister Albert Speer and top nuclear scientists. Finally, Heisenberg compares German nuclear efforts with the more successful Anglo-American advances that led to the atomic bomb. He concludes by claiming that the Germans did not try to make an atomic bomb because of the impracticality of such a task in the wartime conditions of Germany.


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