Apr 18, 2013

Did a WWII nuclear experiment make the University of Chicago radioactive?

Um, No. But did the Manhattan Project’s Enrico Fermi consider the risk to Chicago?

APRIL 16, 2013


(WBEZ/Logan Jaffe)
This monument at the University of Chicago lies near the site where scientists first created a sustained nuclear chain reaction.

"In 1942 Enrico Fermi and a team of physicists at the University of Chicago built a nuclear reactor in a squash court under the South Side university’s football field. Their successful experiment was a key step toward the creation of the first atomic bomb and, eventually, nuclear power. Impressive, but numerous accounts say the primitive test reactor was constructed with little shielding to protect the outside world from radiation."
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Thanks to Mirjana Bartl Sampos for sharing on Facebook.

* Extra note - While in Boy Scouts we hiked around the Forest Preserve where the U of C stored some of their material. We found a large metal shed, unlocked, with large piles of strange black dirt. 

Naturally we had to climb and jump in it.  I guess it was ok.