However, the most famous event at the conference came from Niels Bohr with the public announcement that the nucleus of uranium had been split by bombardment with neutrons, with significant energy release. This was the dawn of the atomic age.
Niels BohrGeorge GamowEdward Teller
The announcement occurred in the Hall of Government, Room 209, which is located across 21st Street from Corcoran Hall.
Another plaque was placed inside Room 209 of the Hall of Government commemorating the announcement along with a list of the physicists present.
In the Bremen area of St. Louis, Emil Mallinckrodt purchased land for a potato farm in 1840. By 1867, his three sons (Gustav, Otto, and Edward) had established a pharmaceutical company (Mallinckrodt Chemical Works) producing industrial, specialty chemical, and radiological chemical agents.
In 1942, Mallinckrodt was approached by the Metallurgic Laboratory to refine the uranium that would be part of the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at Chicago Pile-1 on December 2, 1942.
Mallinckrodt still has facilities in this area, although the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, 2020. Building 51, which refined the uranium for the early stages of the Manhattan Project, was demolished in 1996 as part of the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). This program, now operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, identifies, investigates, and cleans up or controls sites in the United States contaminated as a result of the Manhattan Engineer District or Atomic Energy Commission activities.
“In this building was refined all the uranium used in the world’s first self-sustaining nuclear reaction December 2, 1942”
As an aside, we contacted the public relations office of Mallinckrodt inquiring of the whereabouts of the plaque (see picture, above) that used to be on the building. The spokesperson said that it was “probably stored in archives” after the building was demolished. (Cue the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.)