1905 Albert Einstein’s famous mass-energy equivalence equation E = mc2 describes how tiny masses “store” large amounts of energy.
1932 John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton’s experiments splitting lithium nuclei with protons hint at the enormous energy locked inside the nucleus.
1939 Leó Szilárd spots that a single fission event of uranium-235 releases three neutrons and suggests that a chain reaction is possible.
1954 The USSR’s Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant goes into operation. It is the first nuclear power station to generate electricity for a country’s national grid.
In 1938, the world stood at the threshold of the ...