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HENRY DEWOLF SMYTH (1898-1986)
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HENRY DEWOLF SMYTH (1898-1986)

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HENRY DEWOLF SMYTH (1898-1986)
Atomic Energy for Military Purposes. The Official Report on the Development of the Atomic Bomb Under the Auspices of the United States Government. Princeton: University Press, 1945. 8° (196 x 138mm). 4 leaves of photographic reproductions, diagrams. Original salmon-pink cloth (lightly rubbed). Original printed dust-jacket (worn with loss, some crude repairs). Provenance: Marian Konopinski Hansen (ownership signature on dust-jacket).

THE TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE NUCLEAR BOMB -- THE FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, SIGNED BY 47 MEMBERS OF THE 'MANHATTAN PROJECT' on the title and half-title. The signatories include J. Robert Oppenheimer, Nobel Prize winners Richard Feynman and Hans A. Bethe, Nicholas Constantine Metropolis, Emil John Konopinski, Otto Robert Frisch, P.C. Aebersold, R.F. Bacher, Edward Teller, V. Weisskopf, and 37 other members of the team that developed the first atomic bomb. 'These weapons', Smyth later wrote, 'were not only spectacular in their military effort but were only one of the possible uses of the energy released by nuclear fission. In the larger sense the whole great effort had been to develop the technology of using nuclear energy'. While the research and development had been undertaken in conditions of the utmost secrecy, the British and American governments decided that the widest dissemination of this 'remarkably full and candid account' (PMM) was in the public interest. The Smyth Report also outlines the basics of nuclear physics, and details some of the techniques used to enrich uranium and plutonium. Preceded by top-secret mimeographed versions of the typescript ('no copies, either in whole or in part, have been recorded as remaining in existence except for Smyth's master copy now at Princeton'), and a lithoprint version produced by the Pentagon for distribution to radio journalist and the press. This lithoprint version formed the basis of a number of mimeographed versions produced for the individual projects (Chalk River, Berkley, etc.; Norman). The remarkably full range of signatures on this copy appear to have been acquired by Emil Konopinski (1911-1990), brother of Marian Konopinski Hansen. An assistant professor of physics at Indiana University when war broke out, Konopinski was granted leave of absence to work on the Manhattan Project in 1943, where he performed the calculations which proved that a hydrogen bomb explosion would not ingnite the atmosphere or oceans, and destroy the earth, and co-patented with Edward Teller the technology to detonate the bomb. Princeton University Library Chronicle 37; cf. Norman 1962; PMM 422.
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