Exhibit contents

Audio clips and accompanying text:

These are central to every format of presentation. Test trials of these materials showed that in classroom use, it is best to have students read the text simultaneously with listening to the audio, rather than listen to the audio alone. Reading the text helps students to

  1. understand the few voices that have foreign accents
  2. refer to helpful schematic illustrations
  3. appreciate photographs of the physicists set into the text.

Permission is granted to the instructor to make photocopies of the text for the purpose of providing every student or every pair of students with a copy, for classroom use.

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Articles reprinted here

Original research

O. Hahn and F. Strassman, "Concerning the Existence of Alkaline Earth Metals Resulting from Neutron Irradiation of Uranium," Naturwissenschaften vol.27, p. 11 (Jan. 1939), summary, translated by H. Graetzer in The Discovery of Nuclear Fission (N.Y.: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1971), p. 44-47.

O. Hahn and F. Strassman, "Verification of the Creation of Radioactive Barium Isotopes from Uranium and Thorium," Naturwissenschaften vol.27, p.95 (Feb.1939), summary, translated by H. Graetzer in The Discovery of Nuclear Fission, p. 48.

L. Meitner and O. Frisch, "Disintegration " Nature vol. 143, p. 239 (16 Jan. 1939).

N. Bohr, "Disintegration ," Nature vol. 143, p. 330 (25 Feb. 1939).

O. Frisch and J. Wheeler, "The Discovery of Fission," Physics Today, p. 43-48 (November)

J. Wheeler, "Mechanism ," Physics Today, p. 49-52 (November 1967).

Personal accounts

Laura Fermi, "Departure," a chapter from Atoms in the Family (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954), pp. 125-135. Reprinted from Atoms in the Family, published by the University of Chicago Press, Copyright © 1954 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

A historical account of the discovery of fission—
Esther Sparberg, "A Study of the Discovery of Fission," American Journal of Physics vol. 32, p. 2-8 (Jan. 1964).

A commentary on the teaching of history and physics—
Gerald Holton, "The Two Maps," American Journal of Physics vol. 48, p. 101-119 (Dec. 1980).

Chronology: A brief chronology is given, which may be used as a summary and reference for the events described in audio clips in this exhibit.

Exercises: Assorted activities, demonstrations, questions, problems, and experiments are suggested. These exercises are organized on an accompanying summary chart under the headings of History, Physics, Science and Society. They are also grouped in terms of applicability for use before or after listening to the audio.

Further, the History and the Science and Society exercises are indicated for Discussion, Investigation, or Research.

The physics exercises are identified as simple or complex.

Additional readings and links: An annotated bibliography for instructor and student use.