Louis Slotin file photo [13299]

Louis Slotin

SurnameSlotin
Given NameLouis
Born1 Dec 1910
Died30 May 1946
CountryCanada
CategoryScience-Engineering
GenderMale

Contributor:

ww2dbaseLouis Slotin was born as the first of three children to Israel and Sonia Slotin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He grew up in the North End neighborhood of Winnipeg among any Eastern European immigrants much like his parents. He attended the Machray Elementary School, St. Johns Technical High School, and the University of Manitoba; at the latter, he received a University Gold Medal in both physics and chemistry. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1932 and then a Master of Science degree in 1933. He then went on to study chemistry under Arthur John Allmand at the King's College in London, England, United Kingdom. At King's College, he won the college's amateur bantamweight boxing championship, and went on a brief tour to Spain (which he exaggerated into a volunteer service tour of military duty during the Spanish Civil War). He completed his studies at King's College in 1936, receiving a doctorate degree in physical chemistry. He spent 6 months working as a special investigator for Dublin's Great Southern Railways in Ireland testing the Drumm nickel-zinc rechargeable batteries used on the Dublin-Bray line. In 1937, he sought employment with the Canadian National Research Council, but was rejected. Later in the same year, he accepted a low-paying position as a research associate at the University of Chicago in Illinois, United States, and he was exposed to the field of nuclear chemistry. Between 1939 and 1940, together with colleague Earl Evans, they produced radiocarbon carbon-14 and radiocarbon carbon-11 from the newly constructed cyclotron at the university. His published papers caught the attention of the United States government, and he was soon invited to join the Manhattan Project to research the possibility of using nuclear fission as a weapon.

ww2dbaseWith the Manhattan Project, Slotin worked on the production of plutonium under Eugene Wigner at the University of Chicago and later the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States. In Dec 1944, he was transferred to the bomb physics group under Robert Bacher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, United States. Among his duties at Los Alamos was performing criticality testing, and in that role he helped determine the critical mass values of uranium and plutonium cores. On 16 Jul 1945, he assembled the atomic bomb Gadget for Operation Trinity, and received the nickname "Chief Armorer of the United States". Just after the end of hostilities in the Pacific, his colleague Harry Daghlian was accidentally exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, and Slotin spent many hours with the dying Daghlian in the hospital. After the war, Slotin expressed regret for having participated in the creation of such terrible weapons.

ww2dbaseAt 1520 hours on 21 May 1946, Slotin accidentally set of a prompt critical reaction when he allowed two beryllium hemispheres to touch with a plutonium core in the center. He realized his mistake immediately and lifted the upper hemisphere with his left hand, averting disaster, but not before he received 2,100 rems of radiation, which was about four times greater than what was considered to be lethal. He was rushed to the hospital. The plutonium core involved in this accident was the same one in the accident with Daghlian less than a year prior, thus it was soon nicknamed "Demon core". He was rushed to the hospital. He passed away nine days after the accident with his parents next to his hospital bed.

ww2dbaseAlthough many thought Slotin saved the lives of other scientists in the laboratory by his quick reaction during the accident, fellow physicist Robert Brode noted that it was Slotin's fault, by using improper procedures, which led to the accident in the first place.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Aug 2011

Louis Slotin Timeline

1 Dec 1910 Louis Slotin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
16 Jul 1945 Canadian physicist Louis Slotin assembled the atomic bomb Gadget for Operation Trinity, and received the nickname "Chief Armorer of the United States".
21 May 1946 Canadian Manhattan Project Louis Slotin accidentally set of a prompt critical reaction when he allowed two beryllium hemispheres to touch with a plutonium core in the center. He realized his mistake immediately and lifted the upper hemisphere with his left hand, averting disaster, but not before he received 2,100 rems of radiation. He was rushed to the hospital. The plutonium core involved in this accident was the same one in the accident with physicist Harry Daghlian in 1945.
30 May 1946 Canadian Manhattan Project Louis Slotin, after receiving a fatal dose of radiation during an accident on 21 May, passed away in a hospital.
2 Jun 1946 Louis Slotin was buried in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.




Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:

 Facebook
 Reddit
 Twitter

Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds




Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code
 

 

Note: We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Louis Slotin
Event(s) Participated:
» Operation Trinity and Manhattan Project



Famous WW2 Quote
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Winston Churchill, on the RAF