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Just before the beginning of World War II Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D Roosevelt Urged by Hungarian-born physicists Leo Szilard Eugene Wingner and Edward Teller Einstein told Roosevelt about Nazi German efforts to purify Uranium-235 which might be used to build an atomic bomb Shortly after that the United States Government began work on the Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was the code name for the United States effort to develop the atomic bomb before the Germans did The first successful experiments in splitting a uranium atom had been carried out in the autumn of 1938 at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in BerlinGroueff 9 just after Einstein wrote his letter So the race was on Major General Wilhelm D Styer called the Manhattan Project the most important job in the war an all-out effort to build an atomic bombGroueff 5 It turned out to be the biggest development in warfare and sciences biggest development this century The most complicated issue to be addressed by the scientists working on the Manhattan Project was the production of ample amounts of enriched uranium to sustain a chain reactionOutlaw 2 At the time Uranium-235 was hard to extract Of the Uranium ore mined only about 1500 th of it ended up as Uranium metal Of the Uranium metal the fissionable isotope of Uranium Uranium- 235 is relatively rare occurring in Uranium at a ratio of 1 to 139Szasz 15 Separating the one part Uranium-235 from the 139 parts Uranium-238 proved to be a challenge No ordinary chemical extraction could separate the two isotopes Only mechanical methods could effectively separate U-235 from U-2382 Scientists at Columbia University solved this difficult problem A massive enrichment laboratoryplantOutlaw 2 was built at Oak Ridge Tennessee H C Urey his associates and colleagues at Columbia University designed a system that worked on the principle of gaseous diffusion2 After this process was completed Ernest O Lawrence inventor of
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