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What was the Manhattan Project? The Manhattan Project was a secret project by America regarding the atomic bomb. It was America’s attempt to create the atomic bomb during WWII. The Manhattan Project started with a letter from Albert Einstein.Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt regarding the urgent need for an atomic research program. He was aware that the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb, so he decided we should beat them to it. He saw no need for it but agreed to slowly start funding in the later half of 1941. The research started at 3 college universities. They were the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and California at Berkeley University.Enrico Fermi was a physicist from Rome who worked and made breakthroughs on the Manhattan Project. He discovered that nuclear transformations can occur in almost every element. Fermi split Uranium’s atom and discovered nuclear fission. Fermi led a group of physicist to the start of a new age, the nuclear age. They ended up with the production of the first ever controlled nuclear chain reaction. This occurred on December 2, 1942 under the stands at Stagg Field at Chicago University. This breakthrough was an important step in the development of the nuclear bomb because this event led to increased funding and an understanding of how the nuclear chain reaction can be controlled. Plutonium is an important element in the nuclear bomb. Plutonium was discovered by Glenn Seaborg, Joseph Kennedy, Arthur Wohl, and Edward McMillan at California at Berkeley University. Glenn Seaborg got put in the lead of the Plutonium Production Lab at Chicago University. Glenn Seaborg and his team were able to create microscopic samples of pure plutonium. President Roosevelt ordered on December 28, 1942 that all research on the Manhattan Project was to be combined to figure out how to make nuclear energy a weapon. Seaborg’s team worked and worked until they could get enough plutonium to power the first ever atomic bomb. Plutonium is fissioned to create the energy in atomic bombs. This occurs when a neutron hits the nucleus of the plutonium-239 and splits it into fragments. This produces lots of energy and the nuclear chain reaction occurs when the neutrons from the splitting of the plutonium is spread to other plutonium atoms.

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