Secret fission papers were too hot to handle


By David Cohen “The paper is such that it would be inadvisable to publish it at the present time.” So ends a yellowed note dated 18 December 1941 from James Chadwick to the UK’s Royal Society. The note was attached to a batch of papers written by two French physicists, Hans Halban and Lew Kowarski. What was Chadwick, the discoverer of the neutron, so concerned about, and why did the Royal Society heed his request and seal the papers? To mark the 75th anniversary of Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron,
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