The web of linkages

Another of those fascinating interconnections between the reactor pioneers, of little import but fascinating anyway. Samuel Untermyer, a protégé of one of my main characters, reactor pioneer Walter Zinn, left Zinn’s laboratory in the early 50s to join General Electric. Here in 1958, he writes a polite letter to British reactor pioneer John Cockcroft, asking:

Our European representative sent us the attached copy of a clipping from the November 5 issue of The London Financial Times. While we had some very pleasant and mutually profitable dis­cussions with your colleagues at Geneva, I had no idea that your plans had progressed to this point, and I would be most interested in any further details which you can provide.

The article claimed the United Kingdom would launch a Boiling Water Reactor, which Untermyer had effectively invented, so naturally he was interested. Cockcroft had to inform him he had no such plans, writing that “I think their Scientific Correspondent has anticipated events somewhat.”

What interested me most was that until I read this, I had no idea Untermyer ever met or had contact with Cockcroft.


Untermyer, Samuel. 1958. Untermyer to Cockcroft, Nov. 10, 1958. AB 6/2170, National Archives, Kew, United Kingdom.