Robert Oppenheimer

The famous and "enigmatic" Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, was the real Father of the Bomb in his role as shepherd to a flock of wandering physicists between the two World Wars. The Copenhagen University's Institute for Theoretical Physics was established at the end of WWI (between 1918 and 1920), with Bohr as its director, to become a clearinghouse for nuclear development and the idealization of Bohr's "open world", paid for by the Carlsberg Brewery and Rockefeller Foundations. "Bohr was God and Oppie [Oppenheimer] was his prophet" said Los Alamos scientist Robert Serber. Edward Teller was in awe of Bohr. Werner Heisenberg was inspired, developing the "uncertainty principle" with Bohr. John Wheeler was his devoted student. Eustace Mullins called the Bomb project "the most far-reaching conspiracy of ALL TIME". (1). Due to his living-legend status, Bohr was assigned the pseudonym of Nicholas Baker when he came to work for the Manhatten Project. The staff called him "Uncle Nick".

Niels Bohr was born in the mansion of his maternal grandparents, banker/politician David Baruch Adler and Jenny Raphael, situated across the street from Christianborg Palace, seat of the Danish Parliament and official site of royal receptions. Grandfather David died before Niels' birth and passed his business, D.B.Adler & Co., to his eldest son Bertel. According to an oral history given by Niels' wife Margrethe, life for the Bohr children was centered in the activities of the Adlers under the guidance of grandmother Raphael-Adler, who hosted the brood of cousins together in her summer home "Naerum Gaard". (2). Niels' mother Ellen was the youngest of six, and it was her next older sister Hannah Adler who took extreme interest in the activities of Niels and his younger brother Harald, arranging travel with them and an endless stream of cultural activities. The oldest Bohr child, Kristen (Jenny), and her mother shared a more retiring personality and seldom participated with Hannah and the boys. At home, Professor Christian Bohr included the children in adult meetings for intellectual discussion befitting the progressive education in which he was engaged. Margrethe Norlund Bohr reports hardly knowing of the Bohr side of the family although Niels' uncle, grandfather Bohr, and great-grandfather were well-known Danish education reformers.

The Adlers were English, according to Margrethe. The English Raphaels came to Britain by way of Amsterdam in the 1780s along with the Rothschilds and Schroders as merchant-cum-bankers who established businesses in Manchester and later moved to London. In time, the Raphaels also set up banking houses in the major European capitols. David Baruch Adler joined the London firm of Martin, Levin & Adler and married his Adler/Meyer heritage (3) to that of R. Raphael & Sons, early investor in railroads like the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O), America's first railroad that also played a key role in the Civil War. With the backing of Raphael & Sons, D.B. Adler contracted for the Danish and Swedish public loan in his time as manager of Privatbanken and Handelsbanken in Copenhagen. D.B. Adler and other Adler relatives like his son-in-law Hermann Trier, were liberal politicians and free-traders, as D.B.Adler was the outspoken founder of the Free Trade Society.

Niels, born in 1885, attended an elite school for the length of his boyhood, graduating in 1903 and going on to Copenhagen University where his father taught physiology. Raised "on campus", both Niels and Harald were privileged to participate in the family visits from Denmark's social and intellectual luminaries. At the Gammelholm school, Niels joined in a special group of twelve boys called the Ekliptika Circle under the direction of his professor Harald Hoffding. The boys were tightly knit and remained lifelong friends, among them his second cousin Edgar Rubin (the mothers were first cousins) who went on to become a gestalt psychologist of renown and was Niels' closest friend and counsel next to his brother. The Rubin family patriarch, Marcus Rubin, was Director General of the Danish Treasury and the Danish National Bank, attaining his treasury position in 1902, the same year the Zionist movement officially came to Denmark and established the Zionistforening. The Jewish community of Copenhagen at the time was small, perhaps 1,500 people in the years prior to WWI.

In 1911, Niels received his doctorate in physics, having proved himself in 1908 with an original publication in the new physics of Quantum Theory. He was set out immediately to Oxford for post-doctoral work under J.J. Thomson at the Cavendish Lab, moving to Manchester within the year to study with Ernest Rutherford. Possibly, Bohr had kinship with Thomson through a cousin-in-law, the husband of Ada Sara Adler, though in the memoirs Niels was not fond of J.J. Thomson. Thomson was shortly replaced by Rutherford. In 1912, on a visit home, he married Margrethe Norlund whose brothers were part of the Ekliptika. In Copenhagen that same year of 1912, the B'nai B'rith opened its first Danish Lodge. In 1913, Marcus Rubin was elected to direct the National Bank and during the War, as of 1914, the World Zionist Organization moved its entire headquarters to Copenhagen and presumably its assets as well. The careful administration of Marcus Rubin at the Danish National Bank is said to have preserved the wealth of the Danes, the Bank itself being Denmark's largest "industry".

The Nobel Prize was awarded to Bohr in 1922 for describing the structure of hydrogen, after which he embarked on a lecturing junket that took him to Harvard University among other places. In these years he would meet young American students who "followed" him for the rest of their careers and perhaps also Harvard's famous law professor Felix Frankfurter. By 1932 the 47-yr old Bohr was Denmark's greatest citizen. He was offered a princely home to live in called "The House of Honor". And what had Denmark's greatest citizen accomplished? Copenhagen had become the world center for physics research. Recent breakthroughs had proven that the entire periodic table of elements could become radioactive. After Hitler gained the Chancellery in 1933, Niels and Harald Bohr created the "Danish Committee for the Support of Refugee Intellectuals". At the same time, the British formed the Academic Assistance Council and the Americans chartered the Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars. (4). An invitation went out to Jewish physicists and academics in Europe to come to Denmark. Teller reports his own experience in his autobiographical "Memoirs" as being "recruited" by the British and paced through a lengthy interview and application process. The American Committee received over 6000 applicants during its operation and accepted roughly 330. Noting at the time a lack of German anti-semitism, which persisted even to Teller's last journey through Germany in 1936, the "refugee" process appears to be a selective pre-war brain-drain. The British claimed to be "saving science".

Later, during the height of WWII, Niels Bohr had an obviously intimate friendship of some kind with Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter whom he may have met after receiving the Nobel during his 1923 U.S. lecture tour. Frankfurter had an institutional home at Harvard Law where he taught for decades. Bohr and Frankfurter were suspected within the U.S. intelligence community of collaborating to funnel atomic secrets to the Russians, and Bohr himself was an openly persistent advocate for doing so. As a Manhatten Project "consultant" with an international base of cohorts, Bohr would hardly have needed the collaboration of anyone for passing secrets. In Copenhagen where Bohr remained until 1943, Russians, communists, Indians, Britons, and Chinese all shared in the most current theories of physics. The American government invited his participation as a "refugee" in 1943 and ignored a recommendation that Bohr be interned. By then, all the necessary physics had been worked out anyway and the project was in the hands of engineers. The questions remaining were whether or not a "Super" (thermonuclear H-bomb) was in the pipeline.

In the midst of building the Atom Bomb, Niels Bohr inspired the Los Alamos team of J. Robert Oppenheimer to plow ahead in spite of their flagging spirits, struggling with the moral implications of nuclear weapons. Many of these men were "intellectual communists" if not political ones. Bohr convinced the scientists that a weapon too dangerous to use would force the nations to unite for mutual security. His dream of an internationally unified and "open world" could be realized by the Absolute threat then being posed --meaning nothing, of course, without "the gadget". Bohr had said in 1939 that it would take the resources of a whole country to make the Bomb --or more literally, turning the country into a bomb factory. In the reminiscence of Teller at Los Alamos in 1943, Bohr ran up to him on arriving and exclaimed, "Teller, didn't I tell you that you could not make a nuclear explosive without turning the whole country into a huge factory? Now you have gone ahead and done it." Teller relates that "from that day on [Bohr] participated diligently in the effort...". (5).

Favored son of Zionist world bankers, Bohr nurtured every nuclear development for over two decades and knew the hearts and minds of the scientists who made them --Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi, Werner Heisenberg, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and more.. The "intelligence" provided by Bohr was the rubber-meeting-the-road; he gave the impression that the superbly able Germans under Heisenberg were persevering as well as they could. Samuel Goudsmit, the scientific head of Operation ALSOS to assess the Germans' Bomb status, said in 1947 that they were not even close to producing a nuclear weapon. But then, Bohr knew all this. He, Goudsmit, and a few others had sent reams of correspondence to each other for over 20 years. Goudsmit, career professor at the University of Michigan, officially invited Heisenberg to "emigrate" to the U.S. before the war during a visit. Heisenberg declined. The appearance of a neck-and-neck race for the Bomb is remarkably timed in sync, but within the physics community a few of the scientists themselves were aware that the German effort was a hoax. Heisenberg would see to it. More than a year after Denmark was invaded and occupied by the Nazis (April of 1940), Heisenberg came calling on Bohr and stayed with him for one week, Sept.15 to Sept.22, 1941. Jews had been forbidden to leave Germany four months previously. Among the "last" scientists to make it to the U.S., Fritz Reiche carried a message about the status of the German Bomb-- Reiche reported they were delaying. (6). Months later, only Bohr and Heisenberg would know the content of their week-long meeting.

The Cold War began on August 6, 1945 according to physics professor Patrick Blackett at Cambridge University Oxford. Blackett claimed the "show" at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was really aimed at the Soviets. The scientists who resented the military control over Bomb development went into gear for international disarmament. Bohr as a leader among them would launch his own speaking campaign for world government, disarmament, and the "peaceful" uses of nuclear power. In 1955 he organized the Geneva convention on "Atoms for Peace" with 1,200 delegates attending. The Ford Motor Company lauded Niels Bohr as the first recipient of the "Atoms For Peace Award". He also helped to found CERN at that time. Located just outside Geneva, CERN is an international consortium of member-states that paid in one billion dollars towards its 2008 budget for high-energy nuclear research. Bohr's longtime lab assistant, Hendrick Kramers, became the Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Nuclear Policy.


Among the committees and distinctions of Niels Bohr lifetime achievements are the following:President of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, President of the Danish Cancer Committee, and Chairman of the Danish Atomic Energy Commission. He was a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (London), the Royal Institution, and Academies in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Boston, Göttingen, Helsingfors, Budapest, München, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Uppsala, Vienna, Washington, Harlem, Moscow, Trondhjem, Halle, Dublin, Liege, and Cracow. He was Doctor, honoris causa, of the following universities, colleges, and institutes: (1923-1939) - Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Kiel, Providence, California, Oslo, Birmingham, London; (1945-1962) - Sorbonne (Paris), Princeton, McGill (Montreal), Glasgow, Aberdeen, Athens, Lund, New York, Basel, Aarhus, Macalester (St. Paul), Minnesota, Roosevek (Chicago, Ill.), Zagreb, Technion (Haifa), Bombay, Calcutta, Warsaw, Brussels, Harvard, Cambridge (Mass.), and Rockefeller (New York). (Nobel Lectures, Physics 1922-1941)Niels Henrik David Bohr died in Copenhagen on Nov. 18, 1962


Notes and references

(1) Eustace Mullins in "Secrets of the Atomic Bomb". Mullins says the U.N. decision-makers were determined to test the A-bomb on a living population, read it here

(2) 1963, with interviewer Thomas Kuhn, Margrethe Norlund Bohr gives an oral history to the American Institute of Physics in conjunction with her son Aage Bohr (who accompanied his father Niels to Los Alamos), and Leon Rosenfeld

(3) David Baruch Adler genealogy, in Danish. In the general search for Meyer relatives, D.B. Adler appears to have an uncle Saul Meyer who was a banker, and an unconfirmed relation to Dr. Kirstine Meyer, physicist. Hannah Adler and Kirstine Meyer were the first women doctorates in physics from the University of Copenhagen. Margrethe Bohr states that Kirstine Meyer was not "of the family" however Dr. Meyer was a special and personal advocate of Niels Bohr and in the small Jewish population of Copenhagen it seems unlikely that she is not a relative also

(4) Refugee assistance from the British AAC was paid for by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), the UK arm of I.G. Farben. In the U.S. the Committee for Aid to German Scholars ("German" was changed to "Foreign") was ostensibly a philanthropy chaired by lawyer Bernard Flexner.

(5) Edward Teller, "Memoirs", page 186, Pershing books 2001(6) Fritz Reiche carried a message from Friedrich Houtermans, a devout communist who was working in the Soviet Union 1935-37 and later in Britain and Berlin. At the time of the message, Houtermans worked in the private lab of Manfred Baron von Ardenne. There are several versions of this message. Author Thomas Powers, "Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb" quotes the message as "a reliable colleague [Houtermans] who is working at a technical research laboratory asked [Reiche] to let us know that a large number of German physicists are working intensively on the problem of the uranium bomb under the direction of Heisenberg, that Heisenberg himself trys to delay the work as much as possible, fearing the catastrophic results of a success." The "us" being informed by Reiche were a dozen Princeton physicists who were first to get this news. Reiche stayed in the home of Albert Einstein through the summer of 1941.

Fathers of the Bomb  Part II                                             TOP

Leo Szilard

article by Jennifer Lake

The "Hungarians" who came to work on the Manhattan Project were called the "Martians" by their peers, according to Edward Teller in his Memoirs. They ascribed to themselves a unique "Hungarian Genius" that set them apart from their scientific cohorts. Choosing the god of War in nicknaming this oddfellow foursome, coworkers and associates may have insightfully understood something about the nature of these men. Foremost among the Manhattan Engineer District's Martians was Leo Szilard, known for his eccentric and demanding behavior. Born with the surname "Spitz" which the family would change in 1900 while Leo was a toddler, the Szilards were descendants of "lesser nobility" who emerged as a small, wealthy, and overwhelmingly Jewish "middle class" in a land of agricultural peasants. Leo's parents are described as nonreligious Jewish freemasons; his father worked as a civil engineer and his grandfather was an "agricultural entrepreneur". Similar backgrounds are seen among the other Hungarian "polymaths" like Michael Polanyi, who grew up in the political environment of Balkanized eastern Europe. Researcher Tibor Frank writes that "The Hungarian intellectual diaspora was huge and not confined to German-speaking Europe [but] was scattered all over the Continent."(1). Perhaps more than others, the Jewish sons of the Austro-Hungarian empire considered themselves the premier internationalists, following in the footsteps of Theodore Herzl, a scion of Budapest..

As a schoolboy, Leo Szilard and his younger brother 'Bela' created the Hungarian Association of Socialist Students for the purpose of distributing a pamphlet on tax and monetary reform purportedly written by Leo. The Szilards were also inducted into the Galilei Circle (founded in 1908 by the Polanyi brothers, Michael and Karl, at the University of Budapest) to discuss and design the nationalistic future of Hungary. Compare this to the indoctrination of Niels Bohr and his brother in Copenhagen, through the Ekliptika Circle. Tibor Frank records that Leo was otherwise not political, but in the characterization of his life, biographers affirm that Szilard was exceptionally political to his last day and onwards into his legacy. Schooling was interrupted by the necessities of war and Leo was drafted as an officer candidate in 1917, but he contracted severe influenza (Spanish flu?) and was discharged before ever giving service. In the rising social tension of Budapest that was soon to erupt, Szilard displayed a turnabout that marked his personal nature. As Tibor Frank describes it "on July 24, 1919, he converted from Judaism and was baptized into the Calvinist the Calvinist church on the street where he lived with his family...the date of his baptism, however, reveals a sense of urgency: The Hungarian Council Republic would exist for just one more week, and the signs of an anti-semitic wave of revenge for what was generally viewed as a Jewish takeover of the government were evident." Showing a certificate of baptism to the boys who pushed him around in the streets brought only more derision, adding perhaps to Szilards lifelong "anxiety neurosis". In time, as a mature man, even his friends called him the "General" for his dictatorial behavior. They said that he liked to "startle" people with unexpected pronouncements, effecting an off-balancing of friend and foe alike.

Szilard left Budapest in 1919 and centered his life in Berlin around the activities of his mentors; Einstein, Max Planck, and Max von Laue. Famous for his role behind-the-scenes in organizing the 1933 relocation of Jewish scientists, Szilard is notorious for crafting the "letters from Einstein" that were passed to FDR urging the creation of an atomic bomb. The first letter is credited to the 3 Martian physicists --Szilard, Eugene (Paul) Wigner, and Edward Teller. (2). Teller says he only gave Szilard a ride over to Einstein's house in Princeton, and that Szilard was prepared with a ready document from his pocket. This letter was signed by Einstein and given to Rothschild agent Alexander Sachs, subsequently reaching the hand of the President in August of 1939. According to an article by William Lanouette, FDR responded by tasking an investigative committee to look into it, promising funds for Szilard and Enrico Fermi to establish an experimental chain-reaction laboratory at Columbia in New York. When the funding failed to show, a second letter in the spring of 1940 from "Einstein" threatened to publish the working details of a nuclear device for the world community of physicists. Lanouette reports, Szilard got his funding. (3).

1933 was the year Szilard claims to have thought of the "chain-reaction" while walking in London and waiting on a traffic light. He had landed a job at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in radiology, but he was also deeply engaged in the creation and administration of the Academic Assistance Council that maintained an office at the headquarters of the London Royal Society. (4). Szilard came to London following on the heels of Sir William Beveridge who happened to meet him in Vienna. Szilard resigned his post in Berlin-Charlottenburg at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute after the Reichstag Fire (Feb.27) and drifted back into Austria looking for a new position. Under British patronage, the likes of William Beveridge and Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell), Szilard spearheaded the nuts-and-bolts effort from London to coordinate the exodus of science out of Germany. He took it upon himself to weave the actions of other rescue organizations together and provide a claimed "even distribution" of job applicants among receiving nations. For his own personal contribution, Szilard was looking for a sponsor to fund his chain-reaction experiments, an effort that his friends at the University of Manchester, Michael Polanyi and Chaim Weizmann, engaged in the years 1936 to 1938 when the emergence of atomic power was a certainty. (5). Szilard patented his ideas for atomic chain-reactions in 1934 and signed them over "in trust" to the British Admiralty in '36. In 1934, Chaim Weizmann was occupied with the opening of the Weizmann Institute for Science (as it was renamed in 1949). Niels Bohr, a participant in the creation of the Academic Assistance Council as well as mirror organizations elsewhere, was downplaying the feasibility of atomic power and is noted for saying it would take the resources of a whole country to produce a nuclear weapon. In 1936, as Szilard, Weizmann,, were exploring their options, Einstein was giving reassurances to the American government that nukes were next to impossible. By 1938, as the main activities of the relocation committees were drawing to a close, Szilard himself would emigrate out of Britain as a refugee and come to Columbia in New York where he reunited with his friend Enrico Fermi. (6). As far as the public knew, no one had yet conceived of how to build superweapons.

The first inklings of New Age weaponry were forecast by the work of Samuel Tolver Preston in his 1875 publication of "Physics of the Ether". H.G. Wells picked up the ideas and demonstrated them as science-fiction in 1908 and 1914, most notably in a story called "The World Set Free". By this time in history, the available nuclear technology of X-rays and "radium emanations" was well employed and known to be deadly. The dangerous medical applications of radiation were subversively buried along with the victims but known to the researchers themselves and reflect the overriding mindset that "safe" use was a technical determination that was not yet understood but attainable with sufficient experimentation. In the coming years, Leo Szilard would read Wells' stories and decide to be first among scientists to harness the atom. The parallel inventions of particle accelerators (including Szilard's) before 1930 enabled fission experiments to operate concurrently in the U.S. and Europe, and the production of radionuclides for medical use was ostensibly creating a need for reactors. In this milieu of 1930, Abraham Flexner founded the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton as a "haven where scientists may regard the world and its phenomena as their laboratory". Offering huge salaries for the time, with no requirements to teach or publish, Flexner contracted for Albert Einstein to come in 1932, although Einstein didn't actually arrive until October of 1933 when he qualified as a "refugee" eligible for relocation grants. Einstein was a jewel in the IAS crown, and would follow the Hungarians, mathematician John von Neumann and physicist Eugene Wigner, who were recruited in 1930. The flambuoyant and reckless von Neumann, as he's been described, offered invaluable "intel" to the relocation enterprise.

When Szilard and Fermi finally got funding for chain-reactions, the University of Chicago became the new home of the Metallurgical Lab division of the Manhattan Project. The Met Lab developed the critical function of sustainable and controllable fission based on a U.S. patent that the Szilard/Fermi team had registered in 1939. The two men were apparently collaborating in Europe to produce a chain-reaction in 1934, years before the "Germans" Hahn, Strassman, Meitner, and Frisch. (7). Accomplishing the task late in 1942 on the record, the Manhattan Project became official. Oppenheimer and his team were sequestered in New Mexico under the Army's guardianship at Los Alamos, a situation that brought great tension to the participating scientists, but one that nearly all would look back on as the greatest time of their lives. Teller relates that the whole Manhattan Project was a reunion for "international science". Szilard, having already made his major contribution to the war effort, now began to agitate against the military interference, which he perceived as a takeover threat to marginalize the preeminence of the scientists. As the reality of the Atomic Bomb was nearing fruition, Szilard mounted an all out campaign to prevent it from being used, circulating a petition to stage a "demonstration" in place of a hostile strike. William Lanouette reports that there was another, little known letter from "Einstein" written by Szilard "seeking to influence post-war arms control" that went ignored. The petition, called the Franck Report (named for physicist James Franck), was circulated among the Project scientists, but that too was suppressed and never reached President Truman for whom it was intended. The "demonstration" came after the war as Operation Crossroads in the Marshall Islands. Szilard turned away from physics then and began a career in the field of molecular biology. (8).

For the other physicists, things were just heating up. Edward Teller had been a relatively unhelpful presence in Los Alamos due to his obsession with building a "Super", but the way was soon cleared after the McMahon Bill created the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946. The higher-ups in military and government circles were enthusiastic about the Super, and so was Ernest Lawrence at the University of California's Berkeley Rad Lab. Lawrence was a golden boy who was brought into the Bohemian society on his ascendancy into Berkeley in the late '20s. Thermonuclear Super supporters squared off with the disarmament faction over the next three years, but the Soviet A-bomb test of August 1949 would tip its development in their favor. Despite the appearance of debate and delays, the H-bomb was a sure thing, backed by the empirical Lewis L. Strauss who took his efforts behind closed doors. It took less than 2 years to set the stage for thermonuclear tests, which were performed in the Marshalls in the spring of 1951 and unleashed in full terrifying splendor during Operation Ivy, November 1952. Over the course of that year, the United States recorded an all-time high of epidemic polio. The "Mike" shot on November first was a 10.4 megaton surface blast that sucked one million tons of contaminated soil into the mushroom cloud. By the end of '52 and from then on, "summer" polio became a year-round affliction. Oddly, Leo Szilard the biologist, had proposed at the start of thermonuclear testing that an increase in the killing power of H-bombs could be accomplished by cladding the plutonium core with "dirty" cobalt, an act that he said could "wipe out all life on the planet". (9). As Teller explains it, an explosive yield beyond 10 megatons (10 million tons of TNT) is blown into space and therefore "wasted" as unusable firepower. Szilard, it seems, still had a contribution to make. He married his longtime girlfriend, health physicist Dr. Gertrude Weiss, and in the coming years he helped Jonas Salk organize the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and sat on the Board of Directors.

In his pursuit of scientific hegemony, Leo Szilard learned the hard way how to become an "insider" and better use his influence and other people's money. He gave up writing letters and circulating petitions. He joined the effort in 1954 with Niels Bohr to found CERN in Geneva. He created numerous organizations and used them to gain political leverage, like The Council For A Livable World that shrewdly stretched its money by "buying" a Senator from the sparsely populated state of South Dakota, helping George McGovern to take a seat. It was among the last worldly actions that he took. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1960, Szilard designed his own radiation treatment at Sloan-Kettering, requiring a second course in 1962. The claim is he was cured. In May of 1964, Leo Szilard died of a heart attack in his sleep.


A theory on aging was put forward by Szilard, (reproduced in brief by Tibor Frank at  where he "postulates that different individuals age at different rates, and the rate of aging of an individual is determined by the number of 'faults' inherited. These 'faults' are mutants of what he dubbed 'vegetative genes' that are inherited through the chromosomes containing them and whose number increase with age and cause some people to be relatively old even before they are born. He derived mathematical formulae for aging based upon this hypothesis of 'aging hits' on the human cell, from which he interpreted the shape of a mortality curve of the U.S. population and predicted the decrease in life expectancy of children who are exposed to ionizing radiation. He concluded that the inherited faults increase the death rate 'in conjunction with the hits of time, and they increase it appreciably only above 40 (years of age)' and 'thus in its crudest form, the theory postulates that the age at death is uniquely determined by the genetic make-up of the individual'. Further, he concluded that his theory of aging would illuminate scientific issues involved in the practice of birth control....Szilard's theory was received warmly in England. John Lear suggested in the New Scientist that it was 'inevitable that this latest of the Hungarian-born theorist's long line of brilliances will in time be recognized as a major contribution to human thought.' "

Before Szilard in 1932, Hermann Muller, who worked at inducing mutations in fruit flies with X-rays, made a similar prediction and went even further, offering his view of disease conditions that would plague the population. Muller suggested that radiation induced mutations would cause human extinction and denounced the practice of Eugenics as fraudulent. William Lanouette wrote about Szilard's brand of science as "subversion...He advanced by infiltrating and negating and reformulating what was already known by other scientists..."

Notes and References,

(1) contemporary Hungarian researcher, Tibor Frank, gives favorable reviews of the scientists in the migrations of 1919 to 1933   Research selections are from the "Recent Articles" page at

(2) from the Princeton archives on Einstein, documenting the Hungarian influence behind the "Einstein" letter to FDR In 1945, Einstein published "Atomic War or Peace" and wrote, "I do not consider myself the father of the release of atomic energy". Szilard and Einstein collaborated closely for many years and famously share a refrigerator patent.

(3) William Lanouette, writing for the Pugwash archives The Pugwash Conferences came about after the publication of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto.

(4) the Academic Assistance Council, HQ at the Royal Society on Piccadilly, documented by Tibor Frank in reference (1). The Royal Society history and Fellows are listed here – Versions of the Royal Society motto allude to secrecy, as it was called the "invisible college" with a modern interpretation of the motto given as "nothing in words".

(5) Michael Polanyi* and Chaim Weizmann at the University of Manchester, also called Victoria University. Niels Bohr had a post-doctorate teaching appointment here (Victoria U) at the same time that Weizmann began teaching chemistry in 1913. Within a decade, Weizmann became the President of the World Zionist Organization.

(6) Szilard and Fermi seemed to have had a fertile friendship --it's possible that the original suggestion made by Fermi to Oppenheimer (at the start of the Manhattan Project) about using a weapon to irradiate the Germans' food and water could have come from Szilard. The idea is in keeping with his "cobalt" bomb.

(7) Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman joined the German program under Heisenberg. Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch fled to Scandinavia. This very brief bio of Frisch locates these scientists before the war

(8) in molecular biology, Szilard collaborated with Aaron Novick at Argonne Nat'l Lab outside Chicago (9) the "Cobalt" bomb, couched in the light of a "warning" as what others might do.

*Michael Polanyi formed a "study group" in 1928 with Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and John (Jansci) von Neumann to analyze Soviet affairs, and appears to have had a strong influence over the careers of the "Martians". Read a bio of Polanyi here . Szilard's communist activities after his youth are obscured, but during WWII and his "agitation", Gen. Leslie Groves requested Szilard's internment as an "enemy alien". His World Government endeavors never ceased. On JFK's election, Szilard moved to Washington, DC in an effort to intervene with the Soviets on the President's behalf. He is credited with suggesting a special "hotline" for the superpower leaders to speak directly.

Frans Boas at Columbia Univ.  was the main source of contact for Szilard. Boas was receiving his "intel" from Benjamin Liebowitz who was traveling around Europe and writing letters after the first Nazi "ban" in April 1933 (Restoration of the Professional Civil Service). Franz Boas is the "father" of modern anthropology, a nephew by marriage to Dr. Abraham Jacobi, the "father" of pediatrics. Dr. Jacobi immigrated to New York City in 1853 after release (or escape) from jail for armed insurrection in the communist Revolutions of 1848-- he married the daughter of publisher and Bonesman George Putnam.

Fathers of the BombPart III                           TOP

Enrico Fermi

article by Jennifer Lake

Enrico Fermi became a hub at the University of Chicago around which a crucial part of the Manhattan Project was spun, wholly dependent on the success of Fermi and his team to produce a controlled nuclear 'reactor'. This feat was accomplished December 2, 1942, a year after the U.S. joined the war and set the race for a weapon in motion with the creation of Chicago Pile #1 (CP-1). Leslie Groves called it "the single most important scientific event in the development of atomic power" and later historians remarked that the "gamble", lacking shields and adequate safety, was a risk of "a possibly catastrophic experiment in one of the most densely populated areas of the nation". The Chicago locale, called the Metallurgical Lab, was a wartime relocation of the project originally at Columbia University in midtown New York City. For our eternal posterity, CP-1 sustained a 28 minute chain reaction that was jubilantly communicated by Arthur Compton as "the Italian navigator has landed in the New World" where the natives were "friendly". Team member Leo Szilard noted his personal remembrance as a "black day in the history of mankind" but one for which the highest honor in science given by the DoE, is remembered. In 1956, more than a year after Fermi's death from stomach cancer (Nov.28 1954), the Fermi Award became the physics prize of lifetime achievement. Only days before his death, Fermi received his own recognition from President Eisenhower for his life spent in atomic research.

Born in 1901, Fermi graduated from the University of Pisa in 1922 in the same year the Fascists took control of the Italian government. Tattered by decades of civil strife in a war of attrition for 'independence' and the devastating losses of WWI, the Italians were looking to the new sciences of chemistry and physics to rebuild their ruined economy. Under the patronage of powerful sponsors, including the famous Guglielmo Marconi and the Volpi di Misurata family, the brilliant Enrico Fermi was poised at the forefront of Italy's new technology renaissance, leading a team of young research physicists at the University of Rome. Helped by the wealthy and well-connected politician Orso Maria Corbino, himself a physicist, the Italian team pooled the academic talents of Italy's best and brightest by all accounts, among them the sons of prominent entrepreneurs and 'freedom fighters'. (1).

Fermi met his wife Laura at the University of Rome while he was a professor of chemistry and she was his student, marrying in 1928. Within 3 years, in 1931, Laura's father, Admiral Augusto Capon, became the head of Italy's Naval Intelligence. Other close associates and friends of the Fermis, like physicist Emilio Segre, also had family of high military rank that had served the revolutions and transferred their loyalty to the Mussolini regime. (2). In the gathering storm of war to come, emergent in the 1930s, the Jewish families of Capon and Segre were among many whose members sought an exit --- Italy enacted its race laws in 1938, designed to dismiss 'undesirables' from positions of influence as had Germany before it. Enrico and Laura with their two small children, baptized as Catholics on the advice of Laura's mother Costanza, stayed until the end of 1938 and used the opportunity of a Nobel Prize to travel to Stockholm and subsequently pay their passage to the United States with the prize money. Fermi had secured a teaching post at Columbia after turning down several other offers at American schools and thus 'fled' to his new home in New York.

Fermi always looked upon the years of the 20s and 30s as a time of isolation for himself from the active center of physics. After graduation from Pisa in '22 he went to Gottingen in Germany to study with Max Born as did the central cadre of scientists who led the Manhattan Project. In 1924, he left for Leyden/Amsterdam to study under Paul Ehrenfest, working beside Samuel Goudsmit who later hosted him at the University of Michigan over the summer of 1935 while the Italian physicists were making business deals with American companies. Still, meeting and making such friends as Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, and Edward Teller, Fermi felt out of the loop, perhaps because internal nationalist expectations may have weighed upon him as much as they supported and propelled him. Fermi was among the first, along with Szilard, to register patents for radio-pharmaceutical isotopes in multiple countries. By 1934, as the physicists on his team were taking their leave for further study, Fermi was demonstrating the fundamentals of chain-reaction that he helped to perfect at the University of Chicago in 1942. Edward Teller, who worked beside Fermi in Rome for a time in 1932 and 33 said that Fermi "suspected...that he had opened the door to the transuranic elements...He had the right theory but the wrong experimental information. Had he guessed the right result, the hunt for chain reactions would have started sooner." Teller reports that Fermi dismissed the results of one Dr. Noddack, who wrote to inform Fermi of observations regarding the potential of chain reactions with transuranics (3). In the years between 1932 and 1936, the entire physics community was applying itself to the fission of transuranics.

By 1935 Fermi's representative and buyer of his patents, Gabriello M. Giannini, who had been his former student, established a company in New York City for the purpose of marketing nuclear property. Giannini and Co. took an office at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the central establishment of the Rockefeller complex where 2 years before (1933) a gilt statue of Prometheus was commissioned to reign above the promenade. (4). Gabriello Giannini was the son of Torquato Giannini, credited with being a co-founder of the Dante Alighieri Society (DAS, 1889) which promoted Italian language, art, and culture abroad to its constituent diaspora. There is no obvious connection between Giannini's DAS and another DAS literary society formed first at Harvard in 1881 (5), as one can speculate on the presence of the DAS near the Jersey City harbor terminal. Years earlier in 1916, with the U.S. on the cusp of joining WWI, the Jersey DAS was a comfortable stroll from the Black Tom Island shipping jetty that served as the caching station for European bound war materiel. On July 31, 1916, Black Tom Island was overloaded with railcars of munitions that were blown sky-high in the middle of the night, standing as the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history before the bombing of the Oklahoma City Murrah building. The crime was never solved though the prosecutor, John J. McCloy, made his reputation as a lawyer on the case; in time Germany was held accountable by the railroad companies and finally settled its due for reparations in 1953 for 50 million dollars while McCloy went on to serve as the U.S. High Commissioner of occupied Germany in post-WWII. (6). During and after WWII, Giannini and Co. was never satisfactorily compensated for the nuclear patents it owned due to the rules imposed by the Manhattan Project authorities but the company became a U.S. defense contractor just the same, making engines for Lockheed. In the 1950s Giannini pressed for a high-dollar lawsuit against the U.S. government for failing to pay on an agreed amount and then upped the figure punitively to over 10 times that amount. The suit was eventually withdrawn amid fears of anti-communist reprisals, Giannini and Fermi were paid less than the originally negotiated sum and much murmuring ensued among scientists thereafter about working for governments. Giannini's involvement with the Jersey Dante Alighieri Society and the true nature of its activities are a matter of speculation.

By 1936, according to scientist/historian Simon Turchetti (7), Fermi and Giannini had patented 60 isotopes intended for use in medicine and private industry. Successful agreements and contacts had been made with Philips Fabriken in Amsterdam, Sharp and Dohme pharmaceutical, and General Electric X-ray Corporation. In this year also the Italians physics team was breaking up. By the time Fermi was preparing to leave Europe in 1938, Giannini's business had "improved substantially" countering somewhat the effects of having his patron mentors, Corbino and Marconi, die in 1937. Fermi claimed to have felt unsupported after their loss. The Jewish team members were well abroad; Bruno Pontecorvo was in France (since 1933) and Emilio Segre had been hired at UC Berkeley where he later participated in the 'discovery' of plutonium. The others, Franco Rasetti and Edouardo Amaldi were routine travelers to the U.S.-- Rasetti landed a job in Quebec, and Amaldi was perched on the edge of spending the war in the U.S. (he did not). Regardless, they were all to meet Fermi again in America as they had many times in the course of their studies and travels. In the small and active society of quantum physics, world travel was common and expected. It reflected the "open world" as Niels Bohr called it, and the world of academics was eager and hungry to devour the moment to moment discoveries of physicists. After the Nobel ceremony in December of 1938, Enrico, Laura and the children sailed for New York and in less than a year's time to come, the world of physics and the world at large irrevocably changed with the outbreak of open war and the announcement of the 'chain reaction'; controlled fission that unlocked and harnessed the power of the atom.

The Fermis' departure came nine months after one of Italy's more enduring mysteries in the academic community; the disappearance of Ettore Majorana. Majorana was described as a devout Catholic, perhaps the only religious man on the Fermi team, and a rising star with a brilliant mind that Fermi himself compared to a paradigm-shifting genius like "a Galileo or Newton". (8). In the early 30s, as physicists applied themselves to the theoretical problem-solving of technical challenges, Ettore Majorana contributed key insights that made breakthrough applications possible for the struggling young team. According to the testimony of his teammates, Ettore foresaw the discovery of 'neutrons' (he called them neutral protons) before anyone else was guessing at their existence, and yet his name appears nowhere on the shared patents that later came to prove contentious in the burgeoning marketplace of nuclear development. He was last seen at the end of March 1938, known to have boarded a ship from Sicily on a routine ferry run to Naples. Speculation of foul play and a report that he may have been seen in Argentina all came to naught. The more popular theory contends he was kidnapped by Nazis and murdered.

For the scientists who had escaped Europe, the U.S. had ample room and opportunity, even for dedicated foreign communist-socialists like Bruno Pontecorvo on Fermi's team, who was helped by Emilio Segre to get a job in Oklahoma at Wells Surveys, Inc. in 1940. (9). In the escalating Cold War anti-communism that was directly fostered by nuclear weaponry and charges of espionnage, the Jewish Pontecorvo fled the United States, returning to Italy from where he then "defected" to the USSR. Franco Rasetti, who received a teaching post in Quebec, avoided the fray and became a staple member of American academia. Rasetti never worked for the military-complex by his own account and got a professorship at Johns Hopkins from 1947 to his retirement in 1970. (10). More insight was given about Fermi and the various fates of his team by Edouardo Amaldi who gave his loyalty to his native Italy in the aftermath of the wars. Amaldi noted that Fermi was bitter about fascist policies and had been willing to leave Italy forever. Ironically, Amaldi said that it was those years together in fascist Rome, with the comings and goings of the world's brightest young physicists, that were the most free of them all. When Amaldi saw Fermi again after the war, his manner and speech about physics work in the U.S. was measured and constrained, the product of classified research, Amaldi speculated.

Fermi's contributions were not merely classified but key operations in creating nuclear weapons. He spent uncounted days at Los Alamos, became a co-director of the Manhattan Project alongside J. Robert Oppenheimer and continued in succeeding roles as a lead scientist and advisor. According to the Oppenheimer biographers, it was Fermi who brought up a suggestion in 1942 that the Allies forego the process of building a bomb and figure instead how to mass irradiate the enemy and contaminate the food supply, a suggestion that was secretly and seriously considered. (11). Despite emphatic rhetoric against it, Fermi committed unswervingly to development of the H-bomb after the war. Fermi's wife Laura became an official history "maker" herself, contracted by the Atomic Energy Commission to write its "official history" following her husbands death. Laura Capon Fermi wrote six books, many short stories and manuscripts, published and unpublished, and kept an active correspondence registered in her papers at the University of Chicago archives. (12). Among her correspondents was the famed neo-con idealogue Leo Strauss, and family members of Oppenheim and Warburg. She is noted for becoming an activist in support of gun control, on the board of the Civic Disarmament Committee, and "conservation" on the Chicago Air Pollution Control Board 1959-1968, winning a victory against the local soot that dirtied up the hanging wash and windowsills.

Notes and References

The quotes in the opening paragraph provided at

(1)the sons of prominent entrepreneurs, Fermi's team at the University of Rome and patent co-registrants :
Emilio Segre, son of hydro-electric and paper-making manufacturer, family of Segre/Treves
Bruno Pontecorvo, son of a textile manufacturer
Franco Rasetti, Edoardo Amaldi, Ettore Majorana, Giovanni Gentile, Giulio Trabacchi, and Oscar D'Agostino.
Giulio Trabacchi became the Director of Italy's Higher Health Institute

(2)Admiral Capon, Admiral Segre, and the independence wars in Italy

(3)from Teller's autobiographical 'Memoirs', Fermi dismisses Dr. Noddick's observations in 1934 about potential chain
reaction with transuranics, the by-products of uranium fission
(4)Statue of Prometheus, demi-god and bringer of fire to humanity, commissioned in 1933 for 30 Rockefeller Plaza by
John D. Rockefeller Jr., with the following inscription: "Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath
proved to mortals a means to mighty ends"

(5)Dante Alighieri Society at Harvard, its first 3 presidents: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

(2)James Russell Lowell, and (3) Charles Eliot Norton, to promote "universal humanism" or the DAS at 591 Summit  Ave. in Jersey City, NJ by NewYork Harbor and the rail lines to Communipaw Terminal and Black Tom Island.

(6)Black Tom Island , tunnnels in
place from Jersey City to the southern end of Manhattan were opened in 1908 and built by the Hudson and
Manhattan Company run by William Gibbs McAdoo, son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson and Sec. of the Treasury. John J.
McCloy, prosecutor of the Black Tom Island case, later with the firm Milbank,Tweed, Hadley and McCloy, was called
the 'Chairman of the American Establishment' for his many directing roles including Morgan/Chase Bank, the World
Bank, and High Commissioner of occupied Germany after WWII.

(7)Simon Turchetti, historical and biographical material on Enrico Fermi,

(8)Ettore Majorana disappeared, and
, and

(9)Wells Surveys, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma, an original concern of today's giant Baker Hughes Corporation

(10)Franco Rasetti,  spent his last years in a nursing
home in Belgium. Edoardo Amaldi who returned to Italy, was offered a 'chair' at the Univ. of Chicago recounted in this oral history produced by Charles Wiener in 1969

(11) ,irradiating the enemy, from 'American Prometheus: the Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer' authors
Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, page 221, "Fermi took Oppenheimer aside one day and suggested another way to kill large numbers of Germans. Perhaps, he said, radioactive fission products could be used to poison Germany's food supply..."

(12)Laura Capon Fermi, archived correspondence at the U Chicago library,Laura
and from memoirs of her daughter Nella Fermi Wiener and grandaughter Olivia Fermi

Fathers of the Bomb, Part IV                                 TOP

The British
article by Jennifer Lake

In 1943 a contingent of physicists from the "British Mission" headed for Los Alamos to join the collaborative Manhattan Project in the mountains of New Mexico. Only months earlier in August of '42, a formal pact had been signed between FDR and Winston Churchill, uniting the efforts of the governments of the U.S., England and Canada in producing an atomic bomb. The Quebec Agreement induced a palliative spirit of cooperation among the uneasy allies but issues of security and technology-trading divisively remained throughout the Project's duration, overshadowed by the expeditious demands of wartime. These issues erupted in the Cold War that followed, exposing the guiding hand of the British as the enablers of global espionage and a clearinghouse for the new Order of the ages. As the combatants of WWII took up their positions in 1933, certain Britons launched a campaign to "save science" and safeguard their imperialistic hegemony in a post-colonial world. To that end, the Academic Assistance Council was established by national economist William Beveridge and physicist Lord Ernest Rutherford on May 24, 1933. William Beveridge, himself made a Lord in the 1950s, recruited physicist Leo Szilard in Vienna as a co-founder of the AAC. Through the eager administrations of Szilard, a massive recruitment of 'displaced' Jewish scientists and scholars found material support among the institutions that prosecuted the attack upon Germany and brought forth the most destructive weapons in existence.

According to the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in an article posted February 2009, the British economists, William Beveridge and Lionel Robbins, met Leo Szilard and Englishwoman Esther Simpson in a hotel in Vienna where the Austrian Ludwig von Mises informed them of the Nazi dismissals of Jewish academics. "On the spot" Beveridge laid out his outline for the Academic Assistance Council, convening a special meeting back home at the London School of Economics which was under his directorship. By July of '33, forty of Britain's most eminent scholars had signed a letter published in the Times championing the rescue of international scholarship and culminating in a media event on October 3 "in front of a packed audience in the Albert a speech by Albert Einstein." (1). Despite the economic hard times everywhere of the Great Depression, room and quarter were made for the influx of 'refugees' in a system that did not have room for its own. Counterpart organizations and institutions were created in Britain, France, USA, Switzerland, and elsewhere to handle the unemployed. The AAC reported that at the outbreak of war, 2000 scholars had registered and prospered through its office. The AJR claims this figure to be two-thirds of the total displaced academics. (2). In 1933, year of the first wave of dismissals, 1,400 were said to have lost their jobs and the "recipient countries, principally the USA but also Britain, benefited hugely".

"Britain was the first country to seriously study the feasibility of nuclear weapons" according to the Perhaps with the homegrown talents of Ernest Rutherford and James Chadwick it was a continuation of a role previously well-mapped. Rutherford was called the "Father of the Atom" and sometimes the "Crocodile". Born and raised by Scottish émigrés in New Zealand, young Ernest returned to Cambridge for his post-doctoral work at the Cavendish Lab. In 1898 he was appointed to the chair of physics in Canada at McGill University where he pursued a study of newly discovered radioactivity. In 1907 he returned to England again to receive the chair of physics at Manchester University from Arthur Schuster, a Frankfurt born immigrant who used his family wealth to finance labs and equipment at the fledgling Owens College. Schuster relinquished his chair on the conditional acceptance of Rutherford taking his place. (3). Over the next several years, Rutherford worked alongside his assistants Hans Geiger and Niels Bohr, and other science luminaries at Manchester, adding a key to the theory of atomic structure in 1918 by defining the proton and complementing his countrymen, J.J. Thomson (electron discovery in 1897) and James Chadwick (neutron discovery in 1932). In 1919, Rutherford became the director of the Cavendish Lab at Cambridge having previously received a knighthood and serving the Crown during WWI in submarine detection. His scientific and experimental excellence earned him a place in the royal peerage in 1931 when he became 'Ernest, Lord Rutherford of Nelson'.

Lord Rutherford became the president of the Academic Assistance Council and by the end of 1933, the AAC's activities centered around Cambridge, necessarily at the Cavendish Lab and in and around the lives of other British physicists such as the Lindemann brothers. Frederick A. Lindemann appears to have recruited more displaced scientists than any other single individual. As an Oxford University chair holder since 1919, F.A. Lindemann had a golden opportunity to recruit for Oxford's Clarendon Lab, taking a central role in what Winston Churchill called the "Wizard War". In 1941, F.A. Lindemann sat in Parliament as a member of the peerage, Lord Cherwell, becoming a Cabinet minister and science advisor to Churchill. Charles Lindemann, the elder brother, formerly served as a science advisor to the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. and took up his wartime role as a diplomatic liaison, first to Paris (site of family estates) and then to Washington, D.C. Their youngest brother, Septimus Lindemann, joined British Intelligence. (4). The Lindemanns' position and nouveaux riche wealth gave them enormous influence over policy and procurement of military technology. Albert Einstein became a lifetime friend to Frederick Lindemann. It was Frederick, Lord Cherwell, bachelor vegetarian and tea-totaller, who recommended later in the war that the RAF carpet-bomb German cities and civilians.

In 1939, hopes were high for cooperation with the United States. At the end of 1938, the chain reaction of nuclear fission had been decisively demonstrated; first by the German team of Hahn and Strassman, and again by their former colleagues Meitner and Frisch in Denmark. The confirmed experiments were reported immediately to Niels Bohr who by January of 1939 had booked passage and was on his way to America where he brought the message to Princeton and Columbia. The ensuing activity by the displaced-to-America scientists generated excitement about the prospects of weaponry for the handful who understood the implications. Leo Szilard, in London through 1938, and then on to Columbia in New York, worked with Enrico Fermi and Walter Zinn successfully in achieving a chain reaction at Columbia's Pupin Lab. In August of '39 he composed his famous letter from 'Einstein' and Bohr's colleagues, Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls, further demonstrated to the British the feasibility of the atom bomb, called the "Frisch-Peierls Memorandum" which resulted in the creation of the MAUD Committee (Military Application of Uranium Detonation) in April of 1940. Sir Henry Tizard and physicist John D. Cockroft took the leadership of the MAUD Committee and arranged for the existence of the "British Mission", a delegation that initially came to Washington, D.C. to persuade the Americans to supply the needed resources for developing weapons technologies as a mutually beneficial economic boon.

Hitler's summer invasion of Paris in 1940 caused the 'heavy water' reactor project underway at the College de France to be relocated to the Cavendish in Cambridge along with its team, minus its leader, the avowed communist Frederic Joiliot-Curie. (5). Of this new Cavendish team which would soon transfer to Canada, perhaps only one member was a native Briton. The others were displaced Jewish scholars and objections were anticipated about placing the team directly in the U.S. At the end of the year that it took the MAUD Committee to issue its final reports, arrangements to send a 'heavy water' team were focused on McGill and Montreal Universities. The stated object of the heavy water work was to initiate the building of nuclear reactors for the purpose of creating new isotopes for bomb cores. The British dubbed this program "Tube Alloys" which became its codeword for the very substance it was striving for --plutonium. At a future point, Brigadier Charles Lindemann and Rutherford's son-in-law and lab assistant, Ralph Fowler (emissary for MAUD), joined the Canadians in hopes of gathering secret technology to carry home to Britain, the real purpose of the "British Mission". A native Canadian, George Craig Laurence, who had spent years under Rutherford's tutelage at Cavendish, was already ahead of the 'reactor' teams elsewhere. By March of 1940 Laurence had completed a "miniature" reactor design using graphite which was secretly built over the following months and finished in September. According to one of his biographies "At this time Dr. J.D. Cockroft visited Ottawa [and] was so impressed with Laurence's work that he persuaded Imperial Chemical Industries of Britain to send a contribution...In Dec. 1940, Laurence was asked to visit the United States where he met Lyman J. Briggs, head of the Uranium Commission, and other scientists including Fermi. An exchange of relevant secret reports lasting nearly two years resulted." (6). Fermi's team at Chicago achieved sustained nuclear chain reaction with a graphite design in December of 1942, precisely two years later.

Attainment of a reactor was the momentous event switching the Manhattan Project into high gear. The U.S. Army took control of the Project and the various teams were assembled to take up residence at Los Alamos. The British sent dozens of scientists; 19 came to Los Alamos, 35 went to the University of California Berkeley and more were placed at other Project locations not including Canada. James Chadwick and William G. Penney led the UK's Los Alamos team that included Rudolf Peierls, Otto Frisch, Egon Bretscher, and Klaus Fuchs. (7). Under British auspices, Niels Bohr and his family were helped out of Denmark and then brought to Los Alamos to join in. Somewhere in this time period, the MAUD reports that were issued in 1941 and contained the speculative strategy and pertinent technical achievements to date, came into the possession of the USSR's Joseph Stalin. Klaus Fuchs, convicted in the 50s of spying for the Soviets, presumably had nothing to do with the MAUD reports though he was a refugee to Edinburgh Scotland where he studied under refugee Max Born. (8). Wherever the leaks were coming from, they could easily have been high-level subterfuges with so many of the British patrons advocating the "open world" concept. The scientists themselves, familiar travelers of international scope, were equally invested in these ideas, many of them having shadowy questions and doubts about loyalties and allegiances in their own deeper relationships; to each other, to science, and to their sponsors. (9). In their world a fierce competitiveness and opportunism was the stark reality they sought to publicly deny.

In the wake of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Britain's 'heroes' were well rewarded and some were eventually knighted such as Sir Rudolf Peierls. William Beveridge, organizer of the AAC, was elevated to the peerage and under postwar Prime Minister Attlee, Lord Beveridge instituted the socialist Welfare State that had won him the support of the Fabians decades before. Rutherford's assistant, Marcus Oliphant from Australia, who endured an uncomfortable trans-Atlantic flight to pressure the Americans into hastening bomb development after the MAUD reports, became the Governor of South Australia. (10). Lord Cherwell, Frederick Lindemann, maintained his close ties to Winston Churchill and served the Atomic Energy Authority until his death. Cherwell's brother Charles kept his close ties also, to friends in New York's Knickerbocker Club and Jupiter Island Club. (11). Others under the British wing returned to their home countries and secured top jobs in the nuclear industry, and still a few, like Klaus Fuchs, joined the British atomic energy program at Harwell. It was many years after Los Alamos that accusations and convictions of espionage surfaced, coinciding with the McCarthy hearings in the U.S. The most severely and publicly punished Briton was Allan Nunn May who served a term of hard labor and was forced to later seek work as a physicist in Ghana. A Soviet defector to the West, Igor Gouzenko, who worked secretly for the KGB in Canada gave the testimony that led to the arrests of Fuchs and Nunn May. (12). Gouzenko's indictments of a spy-ring he claimed was based in Britain netted over 30 individuals from several countries who were purportedly passing atomic secrets.

Notes and References

Many sources favorably document the fates of 'displaced scholars' in 1933 and enumerate the organizations and individuals who assisted, among them this piece by Bill Williams on the University of Manchester (aka Owens College and Victoria University)     Tibor Frank, cited in the article on Leo Szilard (part II) contributes an essay, "Cohorting, Networking, Bonding: Michael Polanyi in Exile" profiling the career of Michael Polanyi who relocated to U Manchester, and was turned down at a later application to move to the University of Chicago    Sir Henry Tizard, chairman of the Aeronautical Research Committee who led the first official delegation of the  MAUD Committee in 1940, made many successful contacts which led to technology development, notably in the advancement of RADAR, supplying Bell Telephone and Dr. Alfred Loomis (chair of the Microwave  Committee) with contracts for the "magnetron" and MIT's Radiation Lab.

(1) Oct. 3, 1933, speech by Albert Einstein, cited in a London School of Economics article of the meeting
between Beveridge and Szilard in Vienna:

(2) AJR article quotes from

(3) Ernest Rutherford takes the chair given by Arthur Schuster. Franz Arthur Friedrich Schuster was born in Frankfurt to a Jewish family of textile merchants that converted to Unitarianism, as did the extended family of  relatives in Britain. Arthur's brother, Felix Otto Schuster was a well-known banker in London and received a  Baronet from the Crown that passed as far as his grandson's lifetime, to 1996. His cousin Claud Schuster  joined the Civil Service as a barrister, and though noted for incompetence, acted as secretary and counselor for several Parliamentarians in the House of Lords. see the wikipedia.

(4) Lindemann family background, the 3 brothers and one sister by their parents (Prussian) Adolphus F. Lindemann and (American) Olga Noble who was a Connecticut banker's widow. Olga Noble inherited English property in the aristocratic enclave of Sidmouth. Adolphus' mother came from the shipping wealthy Cyprien-Fabre family.for more on Frederick,

(5) French heavy water team, (without) Joliot, included Hans von Halban, Lew Kowarski, and Francis Perrin,
all displaced Jewish scientists. Von Halban and Kowarski went to Montreal and Perrin went to NYC's Columbia.
Francis Perrin's father, Jean Baptiste Perrin, was a noted physicist who was given the directorship of
Rothschild Institute of Biophysics in Paris when it was newly opened in 1929. In 1941, J.B. Perrin joined his
son in New York and opened the French University of New York, ostensibly a networked institution with the
New School of Social Research that sponsored his son.

(6) Canadian George Laurence, from the Transactions
of the Royal Society of Canada, series V, vol. IV, 1989

(7) the British team to Los Alamos: Penney, Chadwick, Peierls, Frisch, Bretscher, Fuchs and many unnamed. --William Penney participated in Sec. of War Stimson's "Target Committee" and witnessed the bomb drop on Nagasaki. --James Chadwick presumably beat his contemporaries to the drawing board in the neutron 'discovery',  publishing first in the British science journal, Nature, which was founded originally by Thomas Huxley. --the others had all worked together over the years. Frisch, Peierls, and Fuchs were likely present company  to a confirming chain reaction experiment sometime (or multiple times) between Jan. of 1939 and Mar of  1940. Chadwick would write years later that in these days (1939-40) he realized that a nuclear bomb was "inevitable". --Egon Bretscher, originally from Zurich, became a division chief at Harwell where he worked again with Klaus Fuchs and Bruno Pontecorvo, among others. He tells a story in his recollections and memoirs of nearly sliding over a cliff in the Swiss Alps while tied to friend Felix Bloch who had fallen. Bretschers two sons, Mark and Tony, are both cell biologist and biophysicist with ties to Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell.

(8) Max Born at Edinburgh, where he was relocated in 1933 was a physicist's teacher of teachers, formerly at Gottingen

(9) A controversy and case of suppression among the physicists regarding plagiarism is addressed here as
speculation based on facts

(10) Marcus Oliphant, claimed to have instigated the Manhattan Project

(11) Charles Lindemann, listed with the Knickerbockers, died at Jupiter Island Florida and for a lengthy treatment, here Charles' role in his Secret Service capacity (believed to be Charles and not Septimus)

(12) Soviet KGB defector Igor Gouzenko: and


Lake's articles
Fathers of The Bomb.  Part I Niels Bohr
article by Jennifer Lake