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Einstein Got Roosevelt's Attention Regarding Uranium

8/9/2022 7:08 am |

Read this excerpt in Sleeper Agent, discussing the origins of nuclear weapons. It seems notable to me that the researchers at Columbus had to go to Einstein and get him to write a letter in an effort to get Roosevelt's attention about their concern that refining Uranium could be dangerous if not managed properly.

About three months later, in July, Szilard, Teller, and Wigner, perhaps motivated by such apparent indifference, visited Albert Einstein at his Long Island cottage to ask him if he would be willing to sign a letter written by Szilard, to President Roosevelt about the recent research in atomic energy at Columbia, about its potential, both good and bad, and about the unnerving possibility of such a powerful explosive being developed in Germany. Einstein, who was then teaching physics at Princeton, signed the letter on August 2. It read: “Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration.… In view of the situation you may think it desirable to have more permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America.”

President Roosevelt received the letter on October 11, and after reading it he reportedly said, “This requires action.” Ten days later the newly formed Advisory Committee on Uranium met for the first time.

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