Wednesday Open Line


One of the most important technological breakthroughs was made on this date in 1942, one that would for good or ill change the course of world history. At the University of Chicago, a group of scientists led by physicist Enrico Fermi succeeded in producing the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. This first simple reactor, built in great secrecy under the stands of the university’s football stadium, helped provide the knowledge that led to the development of the first atomic bombs less than three years later. Today in the U.S., there are 147 nuclear power generating establishments with over 50,000 employees. Nearly 800 billion kilowatt hours, or about one-fifth of the electricity consumed in the U.S. comes from nuclear power. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.