Nuclear Power

Where the atomic age began

Where the atomic age began

Though the Atomic Age was born under the stands of the University of Chicago's football stadium on Dec. 2, 1942, that milestone wasn't reported in the next morning's Tribune, or any other newspaper. Only after an atom bomb was dropped on Japan, nearly three years later, did the world learn of the breakthrough experiment conducted by a team headed by the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi under the strictest of World War II security.

Until then, even those involved in the project spoke of it cryptically. By telephone, an associate of Fermi's gave the director of America's military-research program the first news that things had gone well in Chicago. "The Italian navigator has...

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