IOP Institute of Physics

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Winston Churchill, his scientists and the bomb

17 February 2014

Our lecture on 11 February 2014 at the university of Kent was by Dr Graham Farmelo, from Churchill College, Cambridge, was based on his recent book with the same title.

Churchill was the only international leader who could claim to be a nuclear visionary. In the 1920s and 30s, he wrote several articles looking forward to the nuclear age. Later, he became the first leader to be presented by his nuclear scientists with a plan of action to build the bomb.

Britain played a major initial role in the development of fission to produce a bomb, encouraged by Winston Churchill. Many of the scientists involved were refugees from Nazi occupied Europe. However the USA was eventually persuaded, at great financial cost, and with the help of  ’British’ scientists, to construct bombs of unbelievable destructive power in order to end the war with Germany and its allies , before they could develop such a weapon.

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