[ The Discovery of Nuclear Fission ] IN Die Naturwissenschaften Volume 27, 1939 "Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle" ; “Nachweis der Entstehung aktiver Bariumisotope aus Uran und Thorium durch Neutronenbestrahlung; Nachweis weiterer aktiver Bruchstuke bei der Uranspaltung” ; “Ueber die Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Urans” ; “Zur Frage nach der Existenz der “Trans-Urane” I. Endgultige Streichung von Eka-Platin und Eka-Iridium” ; “Weitere Spaltprodukte aus der Bestrahlung des Urans mit Neutronen” ; “Über einige Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Thoriums”. Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassman, S. Flugge.
[ The Discovery of Nuclear Fission ] IN Die Naturwissenschaften Volume 27, 1939 "Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle" ; “Nachweis der Entstehung aktiver Bariumisotope aus Uran und Thorium durch Neutronenbestrahlung; Nachweis weiterer aktiver Bruchstuke bei der Uranspaltung” ; “Ueber die Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Urans” ; “Zur Frage nach der Existenz der “Trans-Urane” I. Endgultige Streichung von Eka-Platin und Eka-Iridium” ; “Weitere Spaltprodukte aus der Bestrahlung des Urans mit Neutronen” ; “Über einige Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Thoriums”
[ The Discovery of Nuclear Fission ] IN Die Naturwissenschaften Volume 27, 1939 "Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle" ; “Nachweis der Entstehung aktiver Bariumisotope aus Uran und Thorium durch Neutronenbestrahlung; Nachweis weiterer aktiver Bruchstuke bei der Uranspaltung” ; “Ueber die Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Urans” ; “Zur Frage nach der Existenz der “Trans-Urane” I. Endgultige Streichung von Eka-Platin und Eka-Iridium” ; “Weitere Spaltprodukte aus der Bestrahlung des Urans mit Neutronen” ; “Über einige Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Thoriums”
The Discovery of Nuclear Fission

[ The Discovery of Nuclear Fission ] IN Die Naturwissenschaften Volume 27, 1939 "Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle" ; “Nachweis der Entstehung aktiver Bariumisotope aus Uran und Thorium durch Neutronenbestrahlung; Nachweis weiterer aktiver Bruchstuke bei der Uranspaltung” ; “Ueber die Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Urans” ; “Zur Frage nach der Existenz der “Trans-Urane” I. Endgultige Streichung von Eka-Platin und Eka-Iridium” ; “Weitere Spaltprodukte aus der Bestrahlung des Urans mit Neutronen” ; “Über einige Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Thoriums”

[ Berlin ]: Julius Springer 1939. First Edition. [1]-862, [i]-XVIII pages. 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. Cloth spine over marbled boards. Pasted on paper spine label and pasted down copied portion of volume title on front board. Apparently assembled from individual issues which were later bound into this volume. The XVIII pages in rear include the volume title, contents and index pages. Individual issue wrappers and advertisements appear to have been discarded (as often the case). Signatures were apparently lightly trimmed, and then glued together against rear cloth with minimal stitching (which is starting to come loose in a few places). The advantage? Easy to read with nice margins in the gutter. The disadvantage? The binding will likely split with continued use and require rebinding at some point (one such split is starting at pp 184/5). The volume number '27' inked on front board label. Very Good. Boards. [26351]


This volume of "Die Naturwissenschaften" is very important, containing 6 papers related to the Discovery of Nuclear Fission, the first of which documents the experimental realization of the new element barium by bombarding uranium with neutrons. Otto Frisch suggested the name "nuclear fission" after the biological example of binary fission where cells split into 2 separate cells.

"In 1938 Otto Hahn (1879–1968), Lise Meitner (1878–1968), and Fritz Strassmann (1902–1980) became the first to recognize that the uranium atom, when bombarded by neutrons, actually split...Meitner, Hahn, and another chemist, Fritz Strassmann, who had worked with the partners since 1929, were deeply involved in identifying the products of neutron bombardment of uranium and their decay patterns. It was generally expected that elements close in atomic number—quite possibly elements with higher atomic numbers than uranium—would be produced.

In 1938 Meitner had to leave Berlin because the Nazis were closing in on all people of Jewish ancestry. She soon found a congenial setting for her research at the Nobel Institute in Stockholm. Her nephew, the physicist Otto Frisch, was located at Niels Bohr’s institute in Copenhagen. Meanwhile, Hahn and Strassmann found that they had unexpectedly produced barium, a much lighter element than uranium, and they reported this news to Meitner. She and her nephew worked out the physics calculations of the phenomenon based on Bohr’s “droplet” model of the nucleus and clearly stated that nuclear fission of uranium had occurred.

It was quickly recognized that barium was among the stable isotopes that were the products of the radioactive decay of transuranic elements that must have been initially formed after neutron bombardment of uranium. News of the splitting of the atom and its awesome possibilities was brought by Bohr to scientists in the United States and ultimately resulted in the Manhattan Project.

Hahn, Meitner, and Strassmann were not engaged in nuclear weapons research during World War II. At the end of the war Hahn was astonished to hear that he had won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944 and that nuclear bombs had been developed from his basic discovery. Later, as director of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (the postwar successor to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft), he spoke vigorously against the misuse of atomic energy. Meitner—who many thought should have received the Nobel Prize with Hahn—continued to do nuclear research in Sweden and then England. Strassmann nurtured the study of nuclear chemistry in Mainz, Germany." (Chemical Heritage Foundation website)

The six papers are "Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle" (pp. 11-15); “Nachweis der Entstehung aktiver Bariumisotope aus Uran und Thorium durch Neutronenbestrahlung; Nachweis weiterer aktiver Bruchstuke bei der Uranspaltung” (pp. 89-95); “Ueber die Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Urans” (pp. 163-164); “Zur Frage nach der Existenz der “Trans-Urane” I. Endgultige Streichung von Eka-Platin und Eka-Iridium” (pp. 451-453); “Weitere Spaltprodukte aus der Bestrahlung des Urans mit Neutronen” (pp. 529-534); “Über einige Bruchstucke beim Zerplatzen des Thoriums” (pp. 544-547).

Partington's History of Chemistry, Vol IV page 966-7 also gives a brief overview of "Atomic Fission" and notes some of the intermediate papers necessary for the eventual results. Chadwick's work on the discovery of the neutron in 1932 was a major enabling research component to Hahn, Strassman, and Meitner's work.

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