Chadwick, Liverpool and the bomb.
The author intends to set out in this thesis Chadwick's scientific and diplomatic
contribution to the development of the atomic bombs that ended World War Two. The
far-reaching consequences of Chadwick's efforts to establish a nuclear physics research
prograrmne, both academic and commercial, in austere post-war Britain are also shown.
A brief history of Chadwick's academic career, at Manchester, Cambridge and Liverpool
Universities is given, which indicate how his intimate knowledge of atomic and nuclear
physics culminated in the building of a state-of-the-art 37" pole diameter cyclotron at
Liverpool University. The help that Lawrence and his colleagues generously and freely
gave to Chadwick is also acknowledged.
The crucial role of the Liverpool cyclotron in determining the necessary nuclear fission
cross-section measurements needed to establish the feasibility of an atomic bomb, is also
discussed. Chadwick's precise and penetrating insight of the bomb's feasibility, was
presented in the final Maud Report that was sent, prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbour,
to the U.S.A. It was this Report that convinced the Americans that an atomic bomb was
a feasible and obtainable objective and started, as a matter of urgency, American fission
A brief history of fission and the events surrounding its discovery is also presented, as is a
comparative discussion on the German and Japanese progress in atomic bomb research
in World War Two.
It would not have been possible to give specific details of many of the above events
without primary source material to substantiate them The author has located a large
number of previously un-published letters, documents and photographs - only some of
which have been included - but all of which are being incorporated into a Chadwick
Archive at Liverpool University.