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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Foggy Bottom in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Announcement of the Atomic Age

[Niels Bohr]

 
 
Announcement of the Atomic Age Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 4, 2011
1. Announcement of the Atomic Age Marker
Inscription.
On this campus, January 26, 1939, Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr reported the splitting of the uranium nucleus with the release of two hundred million electron volts of energy, thus heralding the beginning of the atomic age. This announcement took place in the Hall of Government, Room 209, at the Fifth Washington Conference on Theoretical Physics organized by GWU Professors George Gamow and Edward Teller and jointly sponsored by the Carnegie Institution and the George Washington University.

Although the subject of the Fifth Conference was low-temperature physics and superconductivity, the importance of such a revolutionary event could not be ignored. Bohr said that his colleagues, Otto Robert Frisch and Lise Meitner in Copenhagen experimentally verified a suggestion of Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann. Nuclear fission by the bombardment of uranium and neutrons had been observed. From his work on the structure and excitation of nuclei, Bohr realized that a neutron-induced chain reaction of uranium-235 was possible. Physicist Leo Szilard at Columbia University had come to the same conclusion.

Being concerned about developments in Germany, Szilard pressed Bohr and his physics colleagues into secrecy and helped convince Albert Einstein to write President Roosevelt of the danger implied and the necessity for action. Bohr and
Announcement of the Atomic Age Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 4, 2011
2. Announcement of the Atomic Age Marker
- on the wall to the right of the entrance, Corcoran Hall.
Teller joined the war effort at Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1943. The world was not made aware of the atomic age until 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki. With the power of such mass destruction also came the promise of long-lasting energy for human activity. In 1950 Bohr wrote, “…widening of the borders of our knowledge imposes an increased responsibility on individuals and nations.”


The George Washington
University
Washington DC
2002

 
Erected 2002 by The George Washington University.
 
Location. 38° 53.943′ N, 77° 2.791′ W. Marker is in Foggy Bottom, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 21st Street, NW south of H Street, NW, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20037, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edward Teller (here, next to this marker); George Gamow (within shouting distance of this marker); GW's River Horse (within shouting distance of this marker); Ingrid Bergman (within shouting distance of this marker); George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Pembroke College, Oxford, Coat of Arms (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Marquis de Lafayette Hall (about 600 feet away); The United Church/Die Vereinigte Kirche (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Foggy Bottom.
 
Also see . . .  Niels Bohr "... physicist and natural philosopher ...". (Submitted on September 18, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional keywords. "Niels Henrik David Bohr"; Danish
 
Categories. 20th CenturyEducationScience & MedicineWar, World II
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 507 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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