Chicago Pile-1

Chicago PileCP-1Chicago Pile 1Chicago Pile-2first nuclear reactorSite of First Self-Sustaining Nuclear ReactionChicago Pile OneChicago Pile One (CP-1)Chicago Pile team memberChicago pile – 1
Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1) was the world's first artificial nuclear reactor.wikipedia
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Enrico Fermi

FermiE. FermiFermi, Enrico
On 2 December 1942, the first human-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1, during an experiment led by Enrico Fermi.
Enrico Fermi (29 September 1901 – 28 November 1954) was an Italian–American physicist and the creator of the world's first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1.

Manhattan Project

Manhattan Engineer DistrictThe Manhattan ProjectManhattan District
The secret development of the reactor was the first major technical achievement for the Manhattan Project, the Allied effort to create atomic bombs during World War II.
After the feasibility of the world's first artificial nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1, was demonstrated in 1942 at the Metallurgical Laboratory in the University of Chicago, the Project designed the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge and the production reactors at the Hanford Site in Washington state, in which uranium was irradiated and transmuted into plutonium.

Metallurgical Laboratory

Met LabUniversity of Chicago Metallurgical LaboratoryChicago Met Lab
It was built by the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, under the west viewing stands of the original Stagg Field.
In August 1942 the lab's chemical section was the first to chemically separate a weighable sample of plutonium, and on 2 December 1942, the Met Lab produced the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, in the reactor Chicago Pile-1, which was constructed under the stands of the university's old football stadium, Stagg Field.

University of Chicago

The University of ChicagoChicagoChicago University
It was built by the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, under the west viewing stands of the original Stagg Field. In April 1941, the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) created a special project headed by Arthur Compton, a Nobel-Prize-winning physics professor at the University of Chicago, to report on the uranium program.
Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory produced the world's first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction in Chicago Pile-1 beneath the viewing stands of the university's Stagg Field.

Leona Woods

Leona MarshallLeona Marshall LibbyLeona Woods Marshall
The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
At age 23, she was the youngest and only female member of the team which built and experimented with the world's first nuclear reactor (then called a pile), Chicago Pile-1, in a project led by her mentor Enrico Fermi.

Walter Zinn

Walter Henry ZinnWalter H. Zinn AwardWalter H. Zinn
The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
He worked at the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory during World War II, and supervised the construction of Chicago Pile-1, the world's first nuclear reactor, which went critical on December 2, 1942, at the University of Chicago.

Stagg Field

Marshall FieldbleachersNew Stagg Field
It was built by the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago, under the west viewing stands of the original Stagg Field. In Chicago, Samuel K. Allison had found a suitable location 60 ft long, 30 ft wide and 26 ft high, sunk slightly below ground level, in a space under the stands at Stagg Field originally built as a rackets court.
The site of the first artificial nuclear chain reaction, which occurred within the west viewing stands structure, received designation as a National Historic Landmark on February 18, 1965.

George Weil

George Leon Weil
The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
On December 2, 1942, he removed the control rod from the Chicago Pile-1 nuclear reactor, initiating the first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

Leo Szilard

Leó SzilárdLeo SzilárdSzilard
The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
He was present when this was achieved within the Chicago Pile-1 on December 2, 1942.

Nuclear reactor

nuclear reactorsreactorreactors
Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1) was the world's first artificial nuclear reactor.
Eventually, the first artificial nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, was constructed at the University of Chicago, by a team led by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, in late 1942.

Neutron

neutronsfree neutronn
Szilard realized that if a nuclear reaction produced neutrons or dineutrons, which then caused further nuclear reactions, the process might be self-perpetuating.
These events and findings led to the first self-sustaining nuclear reactor (Chicago Pile-1, 1942) and the first nuclear weapon (Trinity, 1945).

Uranium

UU 2 U(VI)
The reactor contained 45,000 ultra-pure graphite blocks weighing 360 ST, and was fueled by 5.4 ST of uranium metal and 45 ST of uranium oxide.
On 2 December 1942, as part of the Manhattan Project, another team led by Enrico Fermi was able to initiate the first artificial self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, Chicago Pile-1.

Nuclear fission

fissionfission reactionfissionable
The discovery of nuclear fission by German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann in 1938, and its theoretical explanation (and naming) by their collaborators Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, opened up the possibility of creating a nuclear chain reaction with uranium or indium, but initial experiments were unsuccessful.
In this case, the first experimental atomic reactors would have run away to a dangerous and messy "prompt critical reaction" before their operators could have manually shut them down (for this reason, designer Enrico Fermi included radiation-counter-triggered control rods, suspended by electromagnets, which could automatically drop into the center of Chicago Pile-1).

Red Gate Woods

Argonne Forest
In 1943, CP-1 was moved to Red Gate Woods, and reconfigured to become Chicago Pile-2 (CP-2).
In the preserve is the original site of Argonne National Laboratory and the Site A/Plot M Disposal Site, which contains the buried remains of Chicago Pile-1, the world's first nuclear reactor.

Arthur Compton

Arthur H. ComptonArthur Holly ComptonCompton
In April 1941, the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) created a special project headed by Arthur Compton, a Nobel-Prize-winning physics professor at the University of Chicago, to report on the uranium program.
Compton oversaw Enrico Fermi's creation of Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor, which went critical on December 2, 1942.

Herbert L. Anderson

Herb AndersonHerbert Anderson
The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
When, as part of the Manhattan Project, the Metallurgical Laboratory (Met Lab) was started up at the University of Chicago, in February 1942, Fermi and Anderson, along with Walter Henry Zinn from Columbia, became leaders in the design and construction of Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1), which achieved the first manmade nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942.

Nuclear graphite

graphiteAGX graphitegraphite moderator core
With a neutron absorption cross section of 4.97 mbarns, the AGOT graphite is considered as the first true nuclear-grade graphite.
(See also Haag [2005].) By November 1942 National Carbon had shipped 250 tons of AGOT graphite to the University of Chicago where it became the primary source of graphite to be used in the construction of Fermi's Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor to generate a sustained chain reaction (December 2, 1942).

List of Chicago Landmarks

Chicago LandmarkChicago Landmarkslandmark
The stands at Stagg Field were demolished in August 1957; the site is now a National Historic Landmark and a Chicago Landmark.

Chain reaction

chain reactionschemical chain reactionchain
The idea of chemical chain reactions was first suggested in 1913 by the German chemist Max Bodenstein for a situation in which two molecules react to form not just the final reaction products, but also some unstable molecules which can further react with the original substances to cause more to react.
Demonstration of a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was accomplished by Enrico Fermi and others, in the successful operation of Chicago Pile-1, the first artificial nuclear reactor, in late 1942.

Eugene Wigner

Eugene Paul WignerWignerEugene P. Wigner
With the help of Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller, he approached his old friend and collaborator Albert Einstein in August 1939, and convinced him to sign the letter, lending his prestige to the proposal.
Wigner was present at a converted rackets court under the stands at the University of Chicago's abandoned Stagg Field on December 2, 1942, when the world's first atomic reactor, Chicago Pile One (CP-1) achieved a controlled nuclear chain reaction.

Herbert G. MacPherson

H. G. MacPherson
In December 1940, Fermi and Szilard met with Herbert G. MacPherson and Victor C. Hamister at National Carbon to discuss the possible existence of impurities in graphite, and the procurement of graphite of a purity that had never been produced commercially.
By November 1942, National Carbon had shipped 250 tons of AGOT graphite to the University of Chicago where it was used in the construction of Fermi's Chicago Pile-1, the first nuclear reactor to generate a sustained chain reaction.

Nuclear chain reaction

chain reactionpredetonationreactivity
On 2 December 1942, the first human-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1, during an experiment led by Enrico Fermi. The reactor was assembled in November 1942, by a team that included Fermi, Leo Szilard (who had previously formulated an idea for non-fission chain reaction), Leona Woods, Herbert L. Anderson, Walter Zinn, Martin D. Whitaker, and George Weil.
On December 2, 1942, a team led by Fermi (and including Szilárd) produced the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction with the Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1) experimental reactor in a racquets court below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

Rackets (sport)

racketsracquetsracket
In Chicago, Samuel K. Allison had found a suitable location 60 ft long, 30 ft wide and 26 ft high, sunk slightly below ground level, in a space under the stands at Stagg Field originally built as a rackets court.
A vacant rackets court built into the University of Chicago's Stagg Field served as the location of the first artificial nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942.

Scram

automatically shut downshut down automaticallyAZ-5 (scram) button
They also fabricated the control rods, which were cadmium sheets nailed to flat wooden strips, cadmium being a potent neutron absorber, and the scram line, a manila rope that when cut would drop a control rod into the pile and stop the reaction.
A persistent alternative explanation posits that scram is an acronym for "safety control rod axe man", which was supposedly coined by Enrico Fermi when the world's first nuclear reactor was built under the spectator seating at the University of Chicago's Stagg Field, which had an actual control rod tied to a rope, with a man with an axe standing next to it.

South Side, Chicago

South SideSouth Side of ChicagoChicago's South Side
She also helped Anderson locate the large number of 4 by timbers required at lumber yards in Chicago's south side.
The University of Chicago is one of the world's top universities, with 22 Nobel Prize winners working at the university at the time of the award announcement, placing it 3rd among U.S. institutions (behind Harvard and Stanford.) At Chicago Pile-1 at the university, the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was achieved under the direction of Enrico Fermi in the 1940s.