The University of Maryland’s Timothy Koeth and Miriam Hiebert spent years trying to trace the history of uranium cubes used by the Nazis in their unsuccessful nuclear reactor program. Koeth and Hiebert have tracked down ten of the cubes. Although the Nazis began their nuclear program two years before the US did, the Nazis hobbled their research through bad management of personnel and resources, to include the decision to split the project into three competing groups. The uranium cubes are only slightly radioactive, and can be picked up and handled without any danger.

Key Takeaways:

  • Timothy Koeth received a cube from a friend some years ago and he immediately realized that it was one of the nuclear cubes that Germany used during WW2.
  • A note on the cube stated that it was taken from a nuclear site in Germany during Hitler’s botched attempt to do a nuclear bomb.
  • Koeth was inspired by the gift he received that he embarked on a six years search to track down the origins of the cubes.

“The Germans had a two-year head-start, but according to Koeth, “fierce competition over finite resources, bitter interpersonal rivalries, and ineffectual scientific management” resulted in significant delays in their progress toward achieving a sustained nuclear reaction.”

Read more: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06/physicists-hunt-uranium-cubes-to-shed-light-on-germanys-failed-nuclear-reactor/