The Making of the Atomic Bomb Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is nuclear physics?

Nuclear physics is the study of atomic nuclei and their energy.

2. Why is the neutron important to nuclear physics?

Most nuclei are strongly positively charged and repel attacking particles. Since the neutron has no atomic charge, it passes through the nucleus' surrounding electrical barrier and opens the atomic nucleus for examination.

3. When Szilard enrolls in the University of Berlin, the physics faculty includes three Nobel Laureates in physics. Who are two of these three and what is one scientific discovery they are famous for?

Two of the three Novel laureates at the University of Berlin are Albert Einstein and Max Planck. Einstein is known for his theory of relativity and Planck discovers a universal constant. (The third is Max von Laue who founds the science of X-ray crystallography.)

4. What is a cyclotron, who patents it, and who produces the first working model?

The cyclotron is a device for accelerating nuclear particles in a circular magnetic field. Szilard patents it, but Ernest Lawrence produces a working model.

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