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Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy - Per Fridtjof Dahl

Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy

Hardcover Published: 1st January 1999
ISBN: 9780750306331
Number Of Pages: 416

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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.

"With his newest work of science history, ... Dahl pulls of the remarkable feat of delivering both a scholarly work and a nail-bitng thriller. ... Per Dahl recounts all these events and many more. There is wisdom in his judicious treatment of persistent historical debates, including the rancorous argument that still rages about the motivations of Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and the other members of the German "Uranium Club." His style is lively, his research thorough, his organization superb. Fortunately [the publisher] has matched Dahl's efforts by giving Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy the scholarly appratus and handsome production it deserves."^KPaul Preuss, Current "Dahl manages to combine scientific accuracy with a compelling storyline that keeps the pages turning. Like his cathode-ray book, the volume is meticiculously researched. It is a remarkable read." Gordon Fraser, CERN Courier "The story of heavy water during World War II may be a familiar one, if only from the 1962 movie 'The Heroes of Telemark'. But Dahl's book fills many of the gaps left in previous accounts by concentrating on the underlying technology and scientific arguments. The military adventure is cleverly interwoven with the scientific. The accounts of the commando raid on the Norsk Hydro plant and the bombing of the ferry are particularly gripping. Dahl also has a talent for sketching characters, and portrays a much more interesting and diverse cast than the 1962 movie's composite presentation of Kirk Douglas a the 'playboy scientist' and Richard Harris as the hotheaded Norwegian partisan." Chemistry and Industry "This is a superbly researched book ... and an excellent read. Even someone withlittle knowledge of those turbulent times will enjoy it. ...The story of D2O is very much alive, and this book tells vividly its distinguished pedigree." Neutron News .." a well-informed and up-to-date account of the history of nuclear physics up to 1945" Centaurus .." Per Dahl has produced a tour de force, leading the reader from the dawn of the nuclear era through the sabotage of the heavy water plants, and integrating those events with activities of British and American nuclear physicists." American Journal of Physics "Per Dahl's unique qualifications make Heavy Water a success. . . Dahl and his publishers also deserve praise for providing a good choice of unusual photographs, a 'Chronology of Heavy Water', and superb notes, bibliography and indices" Intelligence and National Security, vol. 16 is newest work of science history, ... Dahl pulls of the remarkable feat of delivering both a scholarly work and a nail-bitng thriller. ... Per Dahl recounts all these events and many more. There is wisdom in his judicious treatment of persistent historical debates, including the rancorous argument that still rages about the motivations of Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and the other members of the German "Uranium Club." His style is lively, his research thorough, his organization superb. Fortunately [the publisher] has matched Dahl's efforts by giving Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy the scholarly appratus and handsome production it deserves."^KPaul Preuss, Current "Dahl manages to combine scientific accuracy with a compelling storyline that keeps the pages turning. Like his cathode-ray book, the volume is meticiculously researched. It is a remarkable read." Gordon Fraser, CERNCourier "The story of heavy water during World War II may be a familiar one, if only from the 1962 movie 'The Heroes of Telemark'. But Dahl's book fills many of the gaps left in previous accounts by concentrating on the underlying technology and scientific arguments. The military adventure is cleverly interwoven with the scientific. The accounts of the commando raid on the Norsk Hydro plant and the bombing of the ferry are particularly gripping. Dahl also has a talent for sketching characters, and portrays a much more interesting and diverse cast than the 1962 movie's composite presentation of Kirk Douglas a the 'playboy scientist' and Richard Harris as the hotheaded Norwegian partisan." Chemistry and Industry "This is a superbly researched book ... and an excellent read. Even someone with little knowledge of those turbulent times will enjoy it. ...The story of D2O is very much alive, and this book tells vividly its distinguished pedigree." Neutron News .." a well-informed and up-to-date account of the history of nuclear physics up to 1945" Centaurus .." Per Dahl has produced a tour de force, leading the reader from the dawn of the nuclear era through the sabotage of the heavy water plants, and integrating those events with activities of British and American nuclear physicists." American Journal of Physics "Per Dahl's unique qualifications make Heavy Water a success. . . Dahl and his publishers also deserve praise for providing a good choice of unusual photographs, a 'Chronology of Heavy Water', and superb notes, bibliography and indices" Intelligence and National Security, vol. 16

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.

ISBN: 9780750306331
ISBN-10: 0750306335
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 1st January 1999
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.77 x 17.15  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.83
Edition Number: 1