Dr Smith goes to Los Alamos
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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.
KeywordsCyril Stanley Smith plutonium Manhattan project
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