Skip to main content

Plutonium

Voyager Spacecraft Interplanetary Explorers
Society: ASMEMain Category: MechanicalSub Category: Air and Space TransportationEra: 1970-1979DateCreated: 1972Pioneer RdFlintridgeState: CAZip: 91011Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/history/landmarks/topics-a-l/air-and-space-transportation/-171-voyager-spacecraft-interplanetary-explorers-%28Creator: NASA

The Voyager explorers, which provided scientists and the world with the first detailed pictures of faraway planets, were designed and tested during 1972 to 1977. The two most intelligent machines ever built in the NASA space program, the explorers were launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in 1977. Voyager 2 was launched first on August 20, followed by Voyager 1 on September 5.

YearAdded:
1993
Image Credit: Courtesy ASMEImage Caption: Voyager Spacecraft Interplanetary ExplorersEra_date_from: 1972
Hanford B Reactor
Society: ASMEMain Category: MechanicalSub Category: Minerals Extraction & RefiningEra: 1940-1949DateCreated: 1944Hanford SiteSunnysideState: WAZip: 98944Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/history/landmarks/topics-m-z/minerals-extraction-and-refining/-14-hanford-b-reactor-%281944%29Creator: Fermi, Enrico , E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

The Hanford B-Reactor was the first plutonium production reactor to be placed in operation. Its success made possible the subsequent development of atomic energy. The research work, engineering, and planning required to make the reactor operate is one of our most advanced achievements. Much of the reactor core, cooling system, shielding, and auxiliary systems were designed by mechanical engineers.

YearAdded:
1976
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/David Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Hanford B ReactorEra_date_from: 1944
Hanford B Reactor
Society: ASCEMain Category: CivilSub Category: BuildingsEra: 1940-1949DateCreated: 1944Near the Hanford SiteRichlandState: WAZip: 98944Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/Project/Hanford-B-Reactor/Creator: Fermi, Enrico , E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

In the first nine months of operation, the B reactor produced fissionable plutonium for the world's first atomic bomb (the Trinity test on July 16, 1945), and for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, killing 35,000 people.  This, and similar destruction at Hiroshima caused by the atomic bomb dropped three days earlier, hastened the end of World War II.

YearAdded:
1993
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/David Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Hanford B ReactorEra_date_from: 1944
Gilman Hall
Society: ACSMain Category: ChemicalSub Category: Cradles of ChemistryEra: 1910-1919DateCreated: 1917Gilman HallBerkeleyState: CAZip: 94720Country: USAWebsite: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/gilman.htmlCreator: Lewis, Gilbert , Howard, John Galen

Gilman Hall, built in 1916-1917, accommodated a growing College of Chemistry by providing expanded research and teaching facilities for faculty and students specializing in physical, inorganic and nuclear chemistry. Work performed at Gilman Hall helped advance the fields of chemical thermodynamics and molecular structure, and has resulted in multiple Nobel Prizes. The Hall is most famous for the work of Glenn T. Seaborg and his coworkers, which included the successful identification and production the element Plutonium. Seaborg received the Nobel Prize in 1951 for his accomplishments.

YearAdded:
1997
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Waqas Bhatti (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Gilman HallEra_date_from: 1917
Subscribe to Plutonium

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.