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The Neutron's ChildrenNuclear Engineers and the Shaping of Identity$
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Sean F. Johnston

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692118.001.0001

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‘Like children in a toy factory’

‘Like children in a toy factory’

(p.109) 5 ‘Like children in a toy factory’
The Neutron's Children

Sean F. Johnston

Oxford University Press

During the war, theoretical ideas had been translated with dizzying rapidity into immense industrial enterprises. The concentration of wartime experience at a handful of centres was crucial in nurturing the new specialists. But the drive for the new field was provided by glimmers of technological possibilities and the opportunities that they might provide to build a new discipline. The design of ‘atomic piles’, or nuclear chain-reactors, became the aspiration and focus of activity at a half-dozen national labs. In the USA, ‘nucleonics’ was promoted as a new field, while in the UK nuclear engineering received little support from administrators as a new discipline. In each country, empirical engineering science became the focus of attention, leading to hybrid scientist-engineers unlike their pre-war counterparts.

Keywords:   Walter Zinn, nucleonics, Christopher Hinton, ORINS, ORSORT, training, engineering education, nuclear industry, Du Pont, Savannah River Plant, nuclear history

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