Rudolf Peierls

AZL flag holder TransparentSir Rudolf Ernst Peierls, CBE (5th June 1907 – 19th September 1995) was a Jewish physicist born in Germany who had a major role in Britain’s nuclear programme, and also had a role in many modern sciences. His obituary in Physics Today describes him as “a major player in the drama of the eruption of nuclear physics into world affairs…” The son of Jewish parents he was granted leave to remain in Britain in 1933 and worked in Manchester. In March 1940, he co-authored the Frisch–Peierls memorandum with Otto Robert Frisch. This short paper was the first to set out how one could construct an atomic bomb from a small amount of fissionable uranium-235. In 1941 its findings made their way to the United States through the report of the MAUD Committee, an important trigger in the establishment of the Manhattan Project and the subsequent development of the atomic bomb. Peierls joined the Manhattan Project in August 1943 where he played an important role in the development of the atomic bomb.

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