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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Sir Rudolf Peierls (1907-1995) was a German-born British physicist.

In March 1940, Peierls and fellow collegue Otto Frisch co-authored the Frisch-Peierls memorandum, the first technical exposition of a practical atomic weapon. The memorandum included new calculations about the size and critical mass needed for an atomic bomb and the report helped ignite interest in the development of atomic weapons.

Following the signing of the Quebec Agreement in August 1943, Peierls joined the Manhattan Project as a member of the British team. Peierls was initially located in New York before being transferred to Los Alamos to work on the bomb.

Peierls was also responsible for the recruitment of Klaus Fuchs, a Soviet spy who work in the theoretical physics division at Los Alamos.

Rudolf Peierls's Timeline
1907 Jun 5th Born in Berlin, Germany.
19251933 Studied at the Universities of Berlin, Munich, and Leipzig.
1940 Mar Published the Frisch-Peierls memorandum, the first technical exposition on the feasibility of developing an atomic bomb.
19431945 Worked on the Manhattan Project.
1945 Jul 16th Witnessed the Trinity test.
1968 Knighted as a Knight Bachelor.
1980 Received the Enrico Fermi Award.
1999 Sep 15th Died in Oxford, England.

William Penney, Otto Frisch, Rudolf Peierls, and John Cockroft. Photo courtesy Atomic Heritage Foundation.

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