Catalogue


Heavy water and the wartime race for nuclear energy /
Per F. Dahl.
imprint
Bristol [England] ; Philadelphia : Institute of Physics, c1999.
description
xvi, 399 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0750306335 (hbk.)
format(s)
Other
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Bristol [England] ; Philadelphia : Institute of Physics, c1999.
isbn
0750306335 (hbk.)
catalogue key
3562952
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 358-364) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-07-01:
Harold Urey's "haphazard" discovery of heavy water in 1932 was first viewed as an interesting oddity--the two hydrogen atoms in each water molecule contained within each nucleus an unanticipated neutron. In less than a decade, this scientific curiosity found itself playing a "sinister" role in "the wartime race for nuclear energy," the book's apt subtitle. Heavy water became central to the highly secret quest to extend uranium fission, already observed in the laboratory, to the design and fabrication of weapons of mass destruction. With a history replete with stories of secrecy, jealousy, even international intrigue surrounding these sensitive developments, Dahl (retired, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) has written a quasi-spy novel that sacrifices little or no technical accuracy. He brings to lay readers a readily understandable 50-year history of nuclear developments--science and technology information that continues to carry so important a role in our lives. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. J. G. Morse; Colorado School of Mines
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, July 2000
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Summaries
Back Cover Copy
Heavy water (deuterium oxide) played a sinister role in the race for nuclear energy during the World War II. It was a key factor in Germany's bid to harness atomic energy primarily as a source of electric power; its acute shortage was a factor in Japan's decision not to pursue seriously nuclear weaponry; its very existence was a nagging thorn in the side of the Allied powers. Books and films have dwelt on the Allies' efforts to deny the Germans heavy water by military means; however, a history of heavy water has yet to be written. Filling this gap, Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy concentrates on the circumstances whereby Norway became the preeminent producer of heavy water and on the scientific role the rare isotope of hydrogen played in the wartime efforts by the Axis and Allied powers alike. Instead of a purely technical treatise on heavy water, the book describes the social history of the subject. The book covers the discovery and early uses of deuterium before World War II and its large-scale production by Norsk Hydro in Norway, especially under German control. It also discusses the French-German race for the Norwegian heavy-water stocks in 1940 and heavy water's importance for the subsequent German uranium project, including the Allied sabotage and bombing of the Norwegian plants, as well as its lesser role in Allied projects, especially in the United States and Canada. The book concludes with an overall assessment of the importance and the perceived importance of heavy water for the German program, which alone staked everything on heavy water in its quest for a nuclear chain reaction.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text covers: the discovery and early uses of deuterium before WW2; its large-scale production; the French-German race for the Norwegian heavy-water stocks; its importance for the German uranium project; and its role in Allied projects.
Main Description
Heavy water (deuterium oxide) played a sinister role in the race for nuclear energy during the Second World War. It was a key factor in Germany's bid to harness atomic energy primarily as a source of electric power; its acute shortage was a factor in Japan's decision not to pursue seriously nuclear weaponry; its very existence was a nagging thorn in the side of the Allied powers. Books and films have dwelt on the Allies' efforts to deny the Germans heavy water by military means; however a history of heavy water in itself has not been written.This book fills that gap. It concentrates on the circumstances whereby Norway became the pre-pre-eminent producer of heavy water, and on the scientific role the rare isotope of hydrogren played in the wartime efforts by the Axis and Allied powers alike. Instead of a purely technical treatise on heavy water, the book may better be described as a social history of the subject.The book covers the discovery and early uses of deuterium before World War Two; its large-scale production by Norsk Hydro in Norway, especially under German control; the French-German race for the Norwegian heavy-water stocks in 1940; its importance for the subsequent German uranium project, including Allied sabotage and bombing of the Norwegian plants; likewise its lesser role in Allied projects, especially, the United States and Canada. The book concludes with an overall assessment of the importance, or perceived importance of heavy water for the German program, which alone staked everything on heavy water in its quest for a nuclear chain reaction.
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
List of illustrations
Prologuep. 1
Fornebu airport, 12 March 1940p. 1
Manchester and Paris, 1919p. 3
Manchester: how it beganp. 3
Paris, and the Joliot-Curiesp. 7
The Neutronp. 11
Prelude to 1932: Chadwick and Bothe on the huntp. 11
A discovery narrowly missed, and the neutron at lastp. 17
Heavy Waterp. 22
Deuterium: a comedy of errorsp. 22
Gilbert Lewis and Leif Tronstad: the promise of deuteriump. 27
Birkeland and his gun; Eyde and Birkelandp. 33
Tronstad and Norsk Hydro: an auspicious unionp. 41
Artificial Radioactivityp. 49
Another French miss, and triumph at lastp. 49
Rome: another discovery, and a discovery missedp. 57
Meanwhile, back in Parisp. 63
Escape, in the nick of timep. 66
Nuclear Fissionp. 73
Berlin: December 1938p. 73
More neutrons?p. 78
Prospects for a chain reaction on the eve of warp. 89
A moderator of choicep. 99
Heavy Water Revisitedp. 104
The Allier missionp. 104
Attack on Norwayp. 110
The battle for Rjukan; Tronstad goes into actionp. 113
The British Initiativep. 118
Maudp. 118
Broomparkp. 123
German Army Ordnance Takes Chargep. 130
The Uranium Club; a tritium episodep. 130
A serious errorp. 138
Joliot's guestsp. 143
Heavy Water Takes Center Stagep. 147
Pressure on Norsk Hydro mountsp. 147
SIS, SOE, and the Galtesund affairp. 156
Mild sabotage; frank talkp. 158
Exit Jomar Brunp. 165
America Joins the Questp. 170
Stirrings in the new worldp. 170
'Graphite versus deuterium' once morep. 173
North American heavy water in abundancep. 178
Action Vemorkp. 186
Germany's uranium machines: off to a promising startp. 186
Freshman: an unqualified disasterp. 192
Gunnerside: a qualified successp. 197
Neutrons Despite Bombsp. 206
Aftermath at Vemork; neutrons in Berlin-Gottowp. 206
The Americans strikep. 211
Wavering Outlook for Heavy Waterp. 219
Penultimate pile experimentsp. 219
The ferryp. 224
Prospects for heavy-water production in Germanyp. 233
Canada Enters the Racep. 239
ZEEPp. 239
Fears and Facts on the Continentp. 247
Alsosp. 247
In the Haigerloch cavep. 253
Swabian Jura and Upper Telemark: Final Eventsp. 259
The rush for Haigerlochp. 259
Interrupted Sunshinep. 264
Hiroshima Revealed; Further Contestants for Nuclear Energyp. 271
Farm Hall: Operation Epsilonp. 271
Belated entries: Russia and Japanp. 275
Epiloguep. 282
Whither heavy water; what if?p. 282
A few of the personalitiesp. 287
Some Properties of Heavy Water (D[subscript 2]O) Compared to Water (H[subscript 2]O)p. 293
A Chronology of Heavy Waterp. 294
Abbreviationsp. 300
Notesp. 303
Select bibliographyp. 359
Name indexp. 365
Subject indexp. 385
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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