AUTHORBethe, Hans A.
TITLEThe German Uranium Project
PERIODICAL TITLEPhysics Today
DATE PUBLISHED2000
VOLUME NUMBER53
ISSUE NUMBER7
PAGE NUMBERS34 ff.
ISSN0031-9228


This brief article by physicist Hans Bethe tries to reconcile contradictions in published views of the position of Werner Heisenberg, a physicist who led the German atomic bomb project during World War II. Bethe asserts that Heisenberg had not worked on producing an atomic bomb, as evidenced by the fact that he did not know the value of the critical mass in 1945, although he was capable of making the calculations. Also, the Germans mistakenly concluded that graphite would not be a suitable moderator for a reactor and chose heavy water instead, but were unable to produce the amount necessary. However, the fact that the Germans were trying to build a reactor, not a bomb, does not absolve them from attempting to produce an atomic bomb through a longer-term plan, because plutonium produced in a reactor can be converted into fissionable bomb material.


Find in a Library with

creative commons - some rights reserved
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.