, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 8–25 | Cite as

Dr Smith goes to Los Alamos

Cyril Stanley Smith, plutonium metallurgy, and the Manhattan project
  • S. G. Srinivasan
  • S. S. Hecker
  • P. S. Follansbee
  • M. I. Baskes
General Article


Long before the complex pressure-temperature phase diagram of plutonium (shown below) was determined, Cyril Stanley Smith’s suggestion that adding small amounts of some impurity atoms to liquid plutonium might retard its undesirable transformation to the brittle alpha phase enabled the fabrication of the world’s first nuclear device tested successfully in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.


Cyril Stanley Smith plutonium Manhattan project 


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Suggested Reading

  1. [1]
    Cyril Stanley Smith, Some Recollections of Metallurgy at Los Alamos, 1943–45,Journal of Nuclear Materials, Vol. 100, No. 1, pp. 3–10, 1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Necia Grant Cooper, Challenges in Plutonium Science,Los Alamos Science, Vol.26, Volumes I and II, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Edward F Hammel, Taming of“49”-Big Science in Little Time,Los Alamos Science, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 48–55, 2000.Google Scholar
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    W H Zachariasen and F H Ellinger, The Crystal Structure of Alpha-Plutonium Metal,Acta Crystallographica, Vol. 16, pp. 777–783, 1963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Cyril Stanley Smith, Metallurgy at Los Alamos: 1943 -1945,Metal Progress, Vol. 65, No. 5, pp. 81–89, 1954.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Siegfried S Hecker, Plutonium and its Alloys-From Atoms to Microstructure,Los Alamos Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, p. 290–335, 2000.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Siegfried S Hecker and Michael F Stevens, Mechanical Behavior of Plutonium and its Alloys,Los Alamos Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 336–355, 2000.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Edward F Hammel:Plutonium Metallurgy at Los Alamos, 1943–194S, Los Alamos Historical Society, 2000.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Siegfried S Hecker and Lidia F Timofeeva, A Tale of Two Diagrams,Los Alamos Science, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 244–251, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. G. Srinivasan
    • 1
  • S. S. Hecker
  • P. S. Follansbee
  • M. I. Baskes
  1. 1.Los Alamos National LaboratoryUSA

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