Winston Churchill’s role in the history of nuclear energy is both limited and significant. Britain’s subsidiary, but occasionally pivotal, role in the Manhattan Project’s successful atomic bomb quest occurred while he was leader. Never comfortable with technicalities, he delegated most of that work, but in the later years of WWII, he did pursue (quite unsuccessfully). . .
If words not images are foremost
It’s not often I recommend something unreservedly but if you’re a non-WordPress-expert and want something beyond the generic themes (not that there’s anything wrong with them), the theme underlying this blogsite, Typology from Meks, is sweet. Choosing a WordPress theme is a minefield and amateurs like me struggle with both understanding a theme’s specific features and then. . .
Hinton and Suez
British engineer Christopher Hinton commenced his diary entry for Tuesday, October 29, 1956 thus: “Israel has attacked Egypt . . . [hard to decipher] . . . that Suez Canal is kept open.” I am of course obsessively fascinated by Hinton, father of the British gas-cooled Magnox and AGR reactor programs, and its decades-long breeder program. (Clearly I over simplify, as indeed many others. . .
On June 24, 1940, John Cockcroft, who would be the British scientist with most responsibility for the early English reactors, met up with two French scientists, Hans von Halban and Leo Kowarski, who had just fled Nazi-conquered France. Kowarski in particular would be key to the very early days of the Canadian reactor program, and the wartime work they would do, in England and later Canada, would. . .
A new biography of Attlee scoops a prize
Thanks David Honeybone for alerting me to this Guardian article, announcing that John Bew’s Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee has won this year’s Orwell Prize. It’s odd that this should pop up in my field of view right now. For my project, Attlee presided over Britain over one of the most crucial nuclear periods, that is, from mid-1945 to the end of 1951. He doesn’t seem. . .
Is the movie “Viceroy’s House” useful history?
Anyone examining the history of nuclear energy checks out India. I won’t discuss this in detail right now but there is no doubt that the nation’s turbulent formation in 1947 reverberates down the decades (for Pakistan as well). Hoping to capture some background feel for that period, this week I saw Gurinder Chadha’s movie Viceroy’s House, which covers Lord Mountbatten’s hurried organization of. . .
I wish I knew what this letter signified . . .
In 1969 Glenn Seaborg, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, faced not only an increasingly disenchanted public but also the coal industry, mobilising against nuclear energy in particular via the National Coal Association. I haven’t processed all my material on this struggle yet, but found this peripheral yet intriguing letter from Brice O’Brien of the NCA (I don’t as yet. . .
Zinn and the rabid dogs
At the beginning of 1954, the Director of the Argonne National Laboratory, Walter Zinn, may well be one of the busiest scientists in America. Just weeks earlier, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his epochal “Atoms for Peace” speech and Zinn is the country’s point person for development of reactors for peaceful purposes. He is also crucial in a never-ending push to build. . .
Nuclear power’s history – the history of reactors producing electricity – has held me in thrall for over a decade. Besotted, I’m writing a book on the subject. In addition I take delight in announcing this blog as my means of presenting some of that book’s offcuts: unneeded engrossing snippets from my data or words, peripheral aspects shallowly treated, and beguiling. . .