AUTHORBohr, Niels / Wheeler, John Archibald
TITLEThe Mechanism of Nuclear Fission
ISSUE NUMBER5 (1 September)
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In this seminal paper, Niels Bohr and John Wheeler give an account of nuclear fission based on the liquid drop model of atomic nuclei. Six months prior to the publication of this paper, Hahn and Strassmann had discovered that neutron bombardment of uranium results in the production of elements of much smaller atomic weight. Meitnerand Frisch gave the name "fission" to this new kind of nuclear reaction. In this paper, nuclear deformation resulting in fission is presented by comparing the nucleus and a drop of liquid in order to make an estimate of the energy for different nuclei to undergo fission. The authors admit that current nuclear theory limits their ability to predict accurately many of the quantities involved in fission, but state that their estimates of the quantities allow a reasonable picture for the mechanism of nuclear fission. The introduction and conclusion are written in more general terms while the bulk of the paper contains advanced concepts of physics and mathematics.

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