Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

More than 30,000 photos of scientists and their work

University of Chicago H9

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University of Chicago H9

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Image title: 
Graphite blocks
Credit line: 
Argonne National Laboratory, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Graphite blocks. "Photograph shows the 10th layer of graphite blocks which contained pseudospheres of black (U3O8) and brown (UO2) uranium oxide. The brown briquets, slightly richer in uranium, were concentrated in the central area. Visible in the foreground and on either side are cavities filled with graphite, presumed to be an expedient measure dictated by shortage of fuel and, possibly, a last-minute change in the lattice arrangement. 

The entire reactor was assemble within a special balloon-cloth enclosure, part of which is shown in the background. Originally it had been intended to evacuate the air during the experiment to decrease neutron losses and thus make more effective use of the fuel. This proved to be unnecessary so the south side was left open. The completed structure was 57 layers high." 

 The first nuclear reactor was erected in 1942 in the West Stands section of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

Original format: 
1 photographic print (black and white; 8.5 x 11 inches)
University of Chicago. Department of Physics