A sparkling article about the first reactor

Alex Wellerstein is a consummate researcher with an eloquent writing style, so it’s no surprise that The New Yorker published his 75th-anniversary article on December 2. He really brings the first reactor to life but I especially enjoyed the twist at the end (my own more limited archival research didn’t pick up the evocative coda):

After the war had ended and the world had come to appreciate the power that had been unleashed, the University of Chicago installed a bronze plaque commemorating the Pile. It read, “On December 2, 1942, man achieved here the first self-sustaining chain reaction and thereby initiated the controlled release of nuclear energy.” In a rejected suggestion, the university press director proposed that a phrase be added to the end: “for better or worse.”