Who Discovered Nuclear Power?


Quick Answer

The development of nuclear energy was a collaborative effort that spanned several decades and involved thousands of researchers and engineers. No single person can be said to have invented nuclear power, though some individuals stand out for their contributions to the field.

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Who Discovered Nuclear Power?
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Full Answer

Uranium, the element most used in nuclear power generation, was first identified in 1789 by the German chemist Martin Klaproth. Over a century would pass before ionizing radiation was described by Wilhelm Rontgen in 1895. Albert Einstein devised the equations and the theoretical framework of mass-energy conversions. Physicists Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi worked out a process for bombarding uranium atoms with slow-moving neutrons to initiate fission. This work culminated in the first controlled chain reaction being initiated in 1942 at the University of Chicago by a team of researchers under Arthur Compton.

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