HAHN, Otto (1879-1968) and Fritz STRASSMANN (1902-1980). Über das Zerplatzen des Urankernes durch langsame Neutronen. Offprint from: Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 12. Berlin: Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1939.
4o. Original printed wrappers (light fading along spine and edges); cloth folding case.
FIRST EDITION, OFFPRINT ISSUE, PRESENTATION COPY inscribed: "Mit besten Grüssen Fritz Strassmann Mainz der 7. III. 1979.
First Edition of the first of Hahn and Strassmann's three fundamental papers on nuclear fission, containing the first comprehensive account of the phenomenon. Dibner, in Heralds of Science, 168. In 1938 the radiochemist, Otto Hahn, and nuclear chemist, Strassmann, demonstrated the presence of radioactive barium, lanthanum and cesium among the products of neutron bombardment of uranium-a phenomenon that seemed to contradict all previous experiences of nuclear physics. The two announced their puzzling findings in a paper published in Naturwissenschaft on January 6, 1939 ("Ueber den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittles Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle"). Before the paper's publication Hahn wrote to the theoretical physicist on their research team, Lise Meitner, then under Nazi exile in Copenhagen, to report their discovery and ask advice. It was this letter that inspired Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch to theorize a fission process, which they published on February 11, 1939.
Hahn and Strassmann's paper offered here "indicated fission of the uranium nucleus into two parts of about equal size with the release of much energy [in fact a tremendous jump over the energy produced in all previous transmutation reactions]. Hahn received the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944; he, Meitner and Strassmann shared the U.S.A. Fermi Award in 1966" (Dibner). Norman 963. Segrè, X-Rays to Quarks, pp. 206-7. DSB for Hahn and see the long article in DSB, Suppl. II (v. 18) for Strassmann. This copy of the first separate edition was inscribed by Strassmann 40 years after the original publication.
[With]: Autographed portrait photographs by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann.