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The German Atomic Bomb Project. A Timeline. January 1993: Hitler came to power December 1938: Hahn, Meitner, and Strassmann discovered fission September 1939: WWII started and German military started uranium project with subsequent active participation by Heisenberg and other physicists

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Presentation Transcript
a timeline
A Timeline
  • January 1993: Hitler came to power
  • December 1938: Hahn, Meitner, and Strassmann discovered fission
  • September 1939: WWII started and German military started uranium project with subsequent active participation by Heisenberg and other physicists
  • 1941: German physicists discussed plutonium bomb, speculated critical mass (10-100kg); Heisenberg visited Bohr in Copenhagen
  • 1945: War in Europe ended without Germans succeeding in building a bomb
key debates
Key Debates
  • Why did the Germans fail to make the bomb?
  • Did Heisenberg and his colleagues deliberately sabotage the German bomb project?
  • What was Heisenberg trying to tell Bohr in their meeting in Sept. 1941?
michael frayn s copenhagen
Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen
  • Key point: both historical and epistemological
  • What did happen in Copenhagen?
  • Can we ever know what actually happened?
  • Release of Bohr letters: http://www.nba.nbi.dk/release.html
most recent developments
Most Recent Developments
  • Farm Hall Transcript of conversations of Heisenberg and other German physicists upon hearing the news of Hiroshima:
    • http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=2320
  • Claim of Germans testing a crude nuclear device during WWII:
    • http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=2320
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