Alsos / Edition 1

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Overview

During the final weeks of World War II in Europe, as Allied armies swept across a chaotic, battle-torn Germany, two teams of the world's leading nuclear scientists were desperately at work. One team, sequestered in the New Mexican desert, hastened to assemble the atomic bombs that would shake the world later that summer. The other team, a group of Nazi-sponsored physicists and technicians in southern Germany, struggled to do something that, unbeknownst to them, the Allies had done two years earlier: build a critical, self-sustaining nuclear reactor. Meanwhile, a different kind of team was running its own race against time. Convinced (erroneously) that the Germans were close to creating their own superweapon, the Allies sent an American unit of scientists, soldiers, and secret agents established by Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves into Nazi Germany. Their orders: find the German scientific team before they could provide Hitler with atomic power. The scientific head of the mission: a Dutch-American physicist named Samuel A. Goudsmit. The mission code name: Alsos. As his small entourage moved closer to the German research camp, Goudsmit revisited familiar people and places now changed forever by the war. The first Allied scientist to interrogate the captured physicists, Goudsmit heard first hand about life in a Nazi Germany in which they had lived and worked for over a decade. Most importantly, as the last person to review German nuclear research papers before military classification barred them from the public eye, Goudsmit was uniquely qualified to answer the most puzzling question: why, after their spectacular early successes, did German nuclear research efforts fall so miserably? Goudsmit's insights into the errors and hindrances that frustrated the German scientists, as well as his penetrating character analyses, remain uncannily accurate, as proven a half-century later by the now de-classified documents.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Second reprint of this great story of scientific espionage (original, 1947, reprinted 1983). Goudsmit ran the Alsos Mission following Allied troops into liberated areas of Europe to glean (with glee) evidence of Nazi atom bomb accomplishments. Light science, heavier discussion of Germany's decline from preeminence in science to a distant loser to the U.S. New introduction by David Cassidy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563964152
  • Publisher: American Institute of Physics
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Series: History of Modern Physics and Astronomy , #1
  • Edition description: 1985
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 0.66 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: The beginning of the Alsos Mission and the failure of German physics
I The Fear of a German Atom Bomb 3
II We Prepare to Investigate German Science 14
III The Need for Secrecy 26
IV Operation Cellastic 34
V Operation Toothpaste 50
VI Operation Jackpot 66
VII We Meet Some German Colleagues 77
VIII The Breakthrough 87
IX Operation Humbug 101
X Hiroshima and the German Scientists 128
XI The Misorganization of German Science 140
XII The Uranium Club 160
XIII The Gestapo in Science 187
XIV The Efficiency of German Industry 214
XV It Can't Happen Here 232
Appendix An Outline of the Uranium Problem 247
Index 255
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