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Atomic FragmentsA Daughter's Questions$
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Mary Palevsky

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520220553

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520220553.001.0001

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Prologue Broken Vessel

Prologue Broken Vessel

(p.1) Prologue Broken Vessel
Atomic Fragments

Mary Palevsky

University of California Press

This chapter introduces the author's memories of the atomic bomb when she was still a little girl. Her parents, both Chicagoans, fell in love and married while working on the creation of the atomic bomb. They were scientific workers, first at Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory and later at the bomb-building lab in New Mexico. The author's father, Harry Palevsky, worked on instrumentation at Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory, where Enrico Fermi and his colleagues had achieved the first man-made, controlled nuclear chain reaction. Harry later recommended Elaine Sammel for Los Alamos. Within three weeks of their wedding, the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the war ended. The chapter explores how the author's journey began in trying to understand the connection of her parents to the development of the atomic bomb.

Keywords:   atomic bomb, Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory, New Mexico, Harry Palevsky, Elaine Sammel, Los Alamos, Japan bombings

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