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By Per F Dahl

Heavy water (deuterium oxide) performed a sinister position in the race for nuclear power in the course of the moment international battle. It was once a key consider Germany's bid to harness atomic strength essentially as a resource of electrical energy; its acute scarcity was once an element in Japan's determination to not pursue heavily nuclear weaponry; its very lifestyles used to be a nagging thorn within the part of the Allied powers. Books and flicks have dwelt at the Allies' efforts to disclaim the Germans heavy water by means of army capacity; in spite of the fact that a historical past of heavy water in itself has now not been written.

This publication fills that hole. It concentrates at the situations wherein Norway turned the pre-eminent manufacturer of heavy water, and at the medical function the infrequent isotope of hydrogren performed within the wartime efforts through the Axis and Allied powers alike. rather than a in simple terms technical treatise on heavy water, the e-book could larger be defined as a social heritage of the topic.

The publication covers the invention and early makes use of of deuterium prior to global battle ; its large-scale construction through Norsk Hydro in Norway, in particular less than German regulate; the French-German race for the Norwegian heavy-water shares in 1940; its value for the next German uranium undertaking, together with Allied sabotage and bombing of the Norwegian crops; likewise its lesser position in Allied initiatives, specially, the USA and Canada. The publication concludes with an total evaluation of the significance, or perceived value of heavy water for the German application, which by myself staked every thing on heavy water in its quest for a nuclear chain response.

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Two conclusions were inescapable. First, electrolysis by itself, the process employed at Vemork for heavy-water production, was much too inefficient to meet likely German demands for the rare isotope, even with the full plant capacity brought to bear. Second, the economics of producing heavy water ruled out establishing a production plant in Germany, even if the necessary coal-fired electrical generators had been up to the task. A new production process was urgently needed to augment Hydro's standard production process.

This is all the more curious since Harteck, as he goes on to point out in his interview with Ermenc at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967, had himself been preparing a parallel 39 40 experiment, a little earlier, with dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) as a moderator [9-45]. For this purpose he had obtained a massive block of dry ice from I G Farben free of charge, including rail transport from Farben's Leuna ammonia works at Merseburg, courtesy of Paul Herold, the firm's Nazi director of research [9-46].

That same year, fortified with his own version of the new 45 46 counter, Chadwick looked again for spontaneous radiation from hydrogen, but still found nothing. Might the Geiger counter not yet be up to the task? For the next development in the saga of the neutron, we again switch back to the Reichsanstalt. Walther Bothe, 'a real physicist's physicist' in the opinion of Emilio Segrè [ 3-10], had, we recall, joined Geiger in Berlin in 1914. What happened to Bothe next is very reminiscent of Chadwick's wartime experience.

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