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Atomic Timeline

The Atomic Timeline has been developed to provide a 'snapshot' of the famous people and events relating to nuclear weapons.

The release of atomic energy in nuclear weapons and atomic bombs.

The discovery of nuclear fission

A full Atomic Timeline...

Atomic Timeline

  • Interesting Information via the Atomic Timeline - History and Chronology at a glance
  • Chronology of Key Names, Key Dates, Key People and Key Events in the Atomic Timeline



Atomic Timeline - Definition
This timeline relates to the events leading to the development of nuclear weapons which derive destructive energy from the release of atomic energy in nuclear weapons and atomic bombs. At the beginning of the 20th century scientists realized the atom could be split and the atom's elementary building blocks the electron, proton, and neutron were mapped which led to the discovery of nuclear fission transforming the atom into a new and powerful source of energy.



Isaac Newton: modelled the atom using billiard balls



Martin Heinrich Klaproth discovered Uranium.



Mechanical submarine invented by  Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol



Dynamite invented by  Alfred Nobel



Mendeleev produces the Periodic Table



James Clerk Maxwell: introduced the electro magnetic field around atoms



The Balmer series - light was shot through hydrogen and the light spectrum that came from it was studied



Heinrich Hertz: discovered radio (electric waves)



Roentgen discovers X-rays. Cloud chamber for tracking charged particles is invented



Henry Becquerel: finds radioactivity



J.J. Thompson: discovered electrons using cathode rays, showed that glowing matter wasn't light waves



Pierre and Marie Curie discover the first radioactive elements: radium and polonium



E. Rutherford: publishes discoveries on radiation, including alpha and beta particles



Planck develops quantum theory



Rutherford and Soddy work on spontaneous decay and radioactivity, half lives and the amount of energy released



Albert Einstein introduces his special theory of relativity and the mathematical formula E=mc2, or energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared, which demonstrates that mass can be converted into energy



George von Hevesy conceives the idea of using radioactive tracers



Niels Bohr introduced the first atom model, the mini solar system



Robert Goddard experiments with liquid-fueled rockets.



The Neutron is discovered. James Chadwick exposes the metal beryllium to alpha particles and discovers the neutron

Ernest O. Lawrence and M. Stanley Livingston publish the first article on "the production of high speed light ions without the use of high voltages."



Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie discover artificial radioactivity



5-million-volt Van de Graaff generator built and used as a particle accelerator in atom smashing

Alan Turing develops the concept of a theoretical computing machine



German scientists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman, demonstrate nuclear fission



1939 Atomic Timeline - September - WW2 starts September 1, 1939

1939-1945 Manhattan Project. The top-secret atomic energy program, known as the Manhattan Project, employed scientists under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer to develop the first transportable atomic bomb and produce the plutonium and uranium-235 necessary for nuclear fission



December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi achieves a controlled nuclear chain reaction with a demonstration reactor, called the Chicago Pile 1



Atomic Timeline August - 1945

  • August 6: The United States drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima - ( US B29 Super fortress bomber, called the 'Enola Gay') A 20 kiloton bomb 'Little Boy' kills 80,000
  • August 9: The United States drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki in Japan (US Superfortress 'Bockscar' bomb was called Fat -Man) The 22 kiloton 'Fat Man' bomb killed 70,000 people)



Atomic Energy Act of 1954 - The U.S. Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allowing the Atomic Energy Commission to license private companies to use nuclear materials and build nuclear power plants

First nuclear power plant begins operation in the Obninsk Scientific Center, Russia



The USS Nautilus SSN 571 - the first nuclear-powered submarine



The United States sets off first underground nuclear test in a mountain tunnel in the desert 100 miles from Las Vegas

Radiation is released when the graphite core of the Windscale nuclear reactor in England catches fire

The first U.S. large-scale nuclear power plant begins operating in Shippingport, Pennsylvania



The first nuclear reactor is operated from outer space



Three Mile Island incident resulted in a partial meltdown of the core but only a minor release of radioactive material into the atmosphere



Chernobyl - The Chernobyl nuclear disaster exposed millions of people to radioactive isotopes

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