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How the First Man-Made Nuclear Reactor Reshaped Science and Society

It was 75 years ago, beneath the bleachers of a University of Chicago football field, that scientists took the first step toward harnessing the power of the nuclear fission chain reaction. Their research initiated the Atomic Age, and kicked off in earnest the Manhattan Project’s race toward a weapon of unimaginable might. Later, precisely the same technique would spur construction of the nuclear power plants that today supply 20 percent of America’s energy. From medicine to art, the awesome and terrible potential of splitting the atom has left few aspects of our lives untouched.
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