Neutrons for Peace and Neutrons for War

in The Pontecorvo Affair

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780226816647
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226816661 | DOI:
Neutrons for Peace and Neutrons for War

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This chapter shows Bruno Pontecorvo's pioneering contributions to wartime research in nuclear physics, illustrating how they propelled industrial and military endeavors. Pontecorvo had become one of the most prominent scientists in the Western nuclear research establishment. His presence in the Soviet Union was far more problematic than what a few government officials led the public believe. Pontecorvo's recent work on neutron well logging had caused him to consider the interaction of neutrons and hydrogen-baring or fissionable substances. The development of innovative counters marked a progress in the neutron well logging program. Pontecorvo's expertise in nuclear geophysics helped him in shaping trajectories of nuclear reactor research, which in turn allowed the beginning of a research program on neutrinos that eventually fed into both neutron well logging and pile physics.

Keywords: nuclear physics; Bruno Pontecorvo; Western nuclear research; Soviet Union; neutron well logging; neutrons; nuclear geophysics; pile physics; neutrinos

Chapter.  10086 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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