AUTHORWells, H. G.
TITLEThe World Set Free
PUBLISHERBilling and Sons, Ltd.
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Available online from Project Gutenberg

In this novel, written in 1913, H. G. Wells offers a compelling scenario of a world first cursed, then blessed by atomic energy. It is an interesting tale of the interaction of science and society, told at a time when science was thought to have the answers to the world's problems. Drawing on his familiarity with the work of chemists William Ramsey and Frederick Soddy and physicist Ernest Rutherford, Wells introduces the reader to the scientist who discovers the physics required for atomic bombs as well as power plants. The world goes to war, with atomic bombs destroying many of the major cities. After the war, the leaders of the world convene to establish a world government that will guarantee peace. Leo Szilard read this work in 1933 and it appears to have had an influence on his vision of the uses of nuclear energy.

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