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Physics/Library Seminar: Nuclear New Jersey: Princeton and the Atomic Bomb, 1939-45

October 20, 2021, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location Zoom:
SponsorPhysics Club, Sprague Library, Physics & Astronomy DepartmentPosted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
Michael Gordin

Talk Title: Nuclear New Jersey: The Atomic Bomb and Princeton, 1939-1945

Speaker: Prof. Michael Gordin (Princeton University)

Location: Zoom:

The American development of nuclear weapons during the Second World War often conjures up the design laboratory on the isolated mesa of Los Alamos, New Mexico, the first nuclear reactor underneath Stagg Field in Chicago, and of course the Manhattan Engineering District. However, the small university town of Princeton, New Jersey, was far from removed from these momentous developments. This presentation will address three aspects of Princeton’s interventions in the Manhattan Project: Albert Einstein’s ambiguous involvement in these efforts throughout the war; the heavy participation of faculty and students in various aspects of the research; and the penning of the first official history of the Manhattan Project by physics department chair Henry DeWolf Smyth, which became the basis for the immediate postwar understanding of these weapons.

(Prof. Gordin will deliver his lecture over Zoom (see link above). You will also be able to view the lecture in Richardson 201.)