London: Macmillan, 1939. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITIONS, FOUR LANDMARK PAPERS DOCUMENTING THE DISCOVERY OF NUCLEAR FISSION, including Meitner and Frisch's "Disintegration of Uranium by Neutron", the first announcement of the new process.
Building upon the work of many before him, including Rutherford, Chadwick, Corbino, Pontecorvo, Curie and Joliot, Enrico Fermi wanted “to patent a process they had perfected for the production of artificial radio-activity by slow neutron bombardment. This process was a by-product of repetitions and enlargements of a discovery [by Curie and Joliot] that the bombardment of certain light elements with alpha particles induced radio-activity.
“Experiments conducted in 1938 at Berlin by Hahn and Strassman were reported to Lise Meitner, an Austrian scientist who had fled to Copenhagen to escape religious persecution. She and her nephew, O. R. Frisch, working in Niels Bohr’s laboratory, found the true explanation of these phenomenon. The interpolation of a neutron into the nucleus of a uranium atom caused it to divide into two parts and to release energy amounting to about 200,000,000 electron volts. This process bore such a close similarity to the division of a living cell that Frisch suggested the use of the term ‘fission’ [in these papers] to describe it… Halban, Joliot, and Kowarski established the theoretical possibility of a self-perpetuating reaction…Halban, Joliot and Kowarski [had] established the theoretical possibility of a self-perpetuating reaction chain” (PMM 422).
ALSO present in this volume are two other important papers by Joliot, Halban, and Kowarski “showed that fission, induced by thermal neutrons, led to the production of fast neutrons and that several of such fast neutrons – they give an average number of 3.5 ± 0.7 – were produced in a single fission process” (Brandt, Harvest of a Century, 278): “Number of Neutrons Liberated in the Nuclear Fission of Uranium” p. 680 and “Energy of Neutrons liberated in the Nuclear Fission of Uranium induced by Thermal neutrons” p. 939. Item #467
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Macmillan. Complete volume. 4to (Quarto). 10.5 x 7.5 inches (262 x 187mm). [liv], 1080, . Ex-libris bearing a pictorial bookplate on the front paste down, a small stamp and blind stamp on the title page; small unobtrusive darkened square area at the foot of the spine showing where a spine label has been removed. Bound in a nice green cloth, gilt-lettered at the spine. Very tightly bound; minor rubbing at the edges and spine. Bright and clean throughout.