Additional reading and links
Unless otherwise noted, the level is appropriate for middle-school students and above.
Students and teachers can find a wealth of related materials on the Web. An investigation of what is available may include searches for:
- Names of the scientists involved: Meitner, Hahn, Strassman, Bohr, etc.
- Nobel speeches of Fermi, Compton, Einstein, Bohr, Hahn, Curie, etc.
- Key words: Nuclear fission, transmutation
Alsos History of Fission
An excellent scientific review, mainly 1932-1945.
Trinity Nuclear Weapons
Online archive of documents, mainly from 1945 forward
Fission Movie (QuickTime animation)
Federation of American Scientists
Founded by atomic scientists in 1946, the FAS provides a gateway to current nuclear arms issues.
History of Physics Syllabi
Includes reading lists for courses on 20th-century physics and nuclear affairs.
More History of Physics Links from the Center for History of Physics
Many of these are out of print, but your local library may be able to get them through inter-library loan.
- Anderson, David L. Discoveries in Physics: Supplemental Unit B of Project Physics Course. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973. Chapter 3 reviews the discovery of fission at the high school level (a good companion to the voices in the exhibit). The book's prologue and epilogue discuss different models for scientific discovery.
Lawrence. Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons : from
Fission to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, 1939-1963. Atlantic Highlands,
N.J. : Humanities Press, 1995. A fine compact account at the advanced high school
- college level.
Laura. Atoms in the Family: My Life with Enrico Fermi. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1954 (reissued by American Institute of Physics,
A biography of Fermi by his wife, with excellent accounts
of the personal accounts of his work and insights on the lives of other
- Graetzer, H.G., and D. L. Anderson. The Discovery of Nuclear Fission. New York: Van Nostrand-Reinhold, 1971. A complete historical account using excerpts from original scientific papers. For advanced high school students and above.
- Hahn, Otto. Otto Hahn: A Scientific Autobiography. New York: Scribner's, 1966. Includes an informative account of Hahn's part in the discovery of fission.
Helge. Quantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth
Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.
A solid and readable survey at the high school - college
level by a historian of science.
Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. New York : Simon &
The best popular history from the 1930s through the Manhattan Project, well-written but long.
- Segrè, Emilio. From X-rays to Quarks : Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1980. Popular history of 20th-century physics, by a Nobelist from Fermi's group.
- Shea, William R., ed. Otto Hahn and the Rise of Nuclear Physics. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1983. Detailed scholarly articles on the history of Hahn's work and fission.
- Smyth, H. D. A General Account of the Development of Methods of Using Atomic Energy for Military Purposes. Washington, DC: Superintendent of Documents, 1945. The official account of the work on the atomic bomb, including popular-level descriptions of physical problems as well as project administration.