The First Reactor The First Reactor The First Reactor chronicles the conception and implementation of the first self-sustaining nuclear pile. The booklet has three main sections to it. The first one tells of the history and background of the organizations and research that were used for the momentous experiment, as well as the actual proceedings that occurred on December 2, 1942. The second section is basically a brief synopsis of the first. The third section documents part of Enrico Fermis life and the secrecy surrounding his work, from his wifes perspective. Years of research went into the culmination of the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction.
Different preliminary experiments were done by many scientists to discover the properties and intricacies of neutron production and interaction. All leading up to the fateful day under the west stands of Stagg Field when the first successful self-sustaining reaction occurred, or as they cleverly say in the booklet, The Italian navigator has landed in the New World. The secrets of the nuclear projects were closely guarded. So close in fact, that not even Enricos own wife was allowed to know. In the section written by her, telling of her bewilderment, we get a sense of how strongly the classified information was kept from the people who didnt need to know. Science.