2 December 2004
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, nr. 12, 1939. Berlin: Reichsdruckerei for the Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften in kommission bei Walter de Gruyter u. Co., [18 September] 1939. 4° (296 x 210mm). 20 pp., text diagrams. Original printed green wrappers (faint fading at extremities). Dibner Heralds 168; Norman 963.
HAHN, Otto and Fritz STRASSMANN. 'Die chemische Abscheidung der bei der Spaltung des Urans entstehenden Elemente und Atomarten'. Offprint from: Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1944, Math.-naturw. Klasse, no. 12. Berlin: Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Kommission bei Walter de Gruyter u. Co., 1944. 4° (295 x 212mm). 20 pp., text illustration. Original printed orange wrappers (extremities lightly faded); both offprints contained in a modern cloth case with gilt morocco lettering-piece.
FIRST EDITIONS, OFFPRINT ISSUES. FINE COPIES OF TWO IMPORTANT PAPERS ON NUCLEAR FISSION, the first of which 'contains the first comprehensive account of the phenomenon' (Norman). In their investigations in radiochemistry Hahn and Strassmann observed that neutron bombardment of uranium with barium produced highly radioactive material. It was their collaborator Lise Meitner, in exile from Nazi Germany in Stockholm, who interpreted their observations as fission. The authors continued their experiments in identifying traces of radioactive elements chemically and studying the results from fission of heavy atoms, and it is these results that are described in 'Die chemische Abscheidung', their concluding paper on the subject of nuclear fission. It remained to Bohr and Fermi to apply fission to the making of the atomic bomb, a project with which neither Hahn nor Strassmann had any involvement. Hahn was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Cf. Nobel, the man and his prizes, p. 387; DSB VI, pp. 15-17 and Suppl. II. (2)
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