Eugene T. Booth

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Eugene Theodore Booth (1912 in Rome, Georgia – 6 March 2004) was an American nuclear physicist. He was a member of the historic Columbia University team which made the first demonstration of nuclear fission in the United States. During the Manhattan Project, he worked on gaseous diffusion for isotope separation. He was the director of the design, construction, and operation project for the 385-Mev synchrocyclotron at the Nevis Laboratories, the scientific director of the SCALANT Research Center, and dean of graduate studies at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Education[edit]

Booth studied physics at the University of Georgia, where he received his Bachelor of Science (1932), Master of Science (1934), and Doctor of Philosophy (1937) degrees. In 1934, he was a Rhodes Scholar.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Booth joined the Columbia University faculty as a lecturer. He also helped professor John R. Dunning with his cyclotron construction and research. Thus began Booth’s lengthy professional collaboration with Dunning.[1][3]

In December 1938, the German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann sent a manuscript to Naturwissenschaften reporting they had detected the element barium after bombarding uranium with neutrons;[4] simultaneously, they communicated these results to Lise Meitner. Meitner, and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch, correctly interpreted these results as being nuclear fission.[5] Frisch confirmed this experimentally on 13 January 1939.[6] In 1944, Hahn received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the discovery of nuclear fission. Some historians have documented the history of the discovery of nuclear fission and believe Meitner should have been awarded the Nobel Prize with Hahn.[7][8][9]

Even before it was published, Meitner’s and Frisch’s interpretation of the work of Hahn and Strassmann crossed the Atlantic Ocean with Niels Bohr, who was to lecture at Princeton University. Isidor Isaac Rabi and Willis Lamb, two Columbia University physicists working at Princeton, heard the news and carried it back to Columbia. Rabi said he told Fermi; Fermi gave credit to Lamb. It was soon clear to a number of scientists at Columbia that they should try to detect the energy released in the nuclear fission of uranium from neutron bombardment. On 25 January 1939, Booth was a member of the experimental team at Columbia University which conducted the first nuclear fission experiment in the United States,[10] which was done in the basement of Pupin Hall; the other members of the team were Herbert L. Anderson, John R. Dunning, Enrico Fermi, G. Norris Glasoe, and Francis G. Slack.[3][11][12]

During World War II, Booth was a member of Columbia’s scientific staff in the Division of War Research. During the Manhattan Project, Dunning conducted pioneering work at Columbia University on gaseous diffusion to separate uranium isotopes; others working on the project included Booth, Henry A. Boorse, Willard F. Libby, Alfred O. C. Nier, and Francis G. Slack.[1][11][13]

After World War II, Booth was director of the project for the design, construction, and operation of a 385-MeV Synchrocyclotron at the Nevis Laboratories in Irvington-on-the-Hudson. The project was a collaborative effort of Columbia University, the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and the Office of Naval Research.[3][14][15]

Booth was the scientific director of the SCALANT Research Center, in Italy.[2]

Booth was dean of graduate studies at Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey.[2]

Honors[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • E. T. Booth and C. Hurst Scattering of Neutrons by Protons, Nature Volume 138, 1011-1011 (12 December 1936)
  • E. T. Booth, C. Hurst Experiments with Iso-Energetic Neutrons, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Volume 161, Number 905, 248-260 (1937). Booth was identified as being at Christ Church, Oxford University. Hurst was identified as being at Fellow of Jesus Church, Oxford University. Received 23 March 1937.
  • E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and F. G. Slack Delayed Neutron Emission from Uranium, Phys. Rev. Volume 55, Number 9, 876 - 876 (1939). Institutional citation: Department of Physics, Columbia University, New York, New York. Received 17 April 1939.
  • E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and F. G. Slack Energy Distribution of Uranium Fission Fragments, Phys. Rev. Volume 55, Number 10, 981 - 981 (1939). Institutional citation: Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University, New York, New York. Received 1 May 1939.
  • E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and G. N. Glasoe Range Distribution of the Uranium Fission Fragments, Phys. Rev. Volume 55, Issue 10, 982 - 982 (1939). Institutional citation: Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University, New York, New York. Received 1 May 1939.
  • A. O. Nier, E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and A. V. Grosse Nuclear fission of separated uranium isotopes, Phys. Rev. Volume 57, Issue 6, 546-546 (1940). Received 3 March 1940. Booth, Dunning, and Grosse were identified as being at Columbia University, New York, New York. Nier was identified as being at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • A. O. Nier, E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and A. V. Grosse Further experiments on fission of separated uranium isotopes, Phys. Rev. Volume 57, Issue 8, 748-748 (1940). Received 13 April 1940. Booth, Dunning, and Grosse were identified as being at Columbia University, New York, New York. Nier was identified as being at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, A. V. Grosse, and A. O. Nier Neutron Capture by Uranium (238), Phys. Rev. Volume 58, Issue 5, 475 - 476 (1940). Received 13 August 1940. Booth, Dunning, and Grosse were identified as being at Columbia University, New York, New York. Nier was identified as being at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • A. V. Grosse, E. T. Booth, and J. R. Dunning The Fourth (4n+1) Radioactive Series, Phys. Rev. Volume 59, Issue 3, 322 - 323 (1941). Institutional citation: Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University, New York, New York. Received 11 January 1941.
  • E. T. Booth, M. W. Johnson, R. W. Schubert, H. C. Beck, W. E. Hovemeyer, W. F. Goodell, Jr. Cyclotron Report: 1950 - 1951, Report Number NP-3045, 52 pages (1950). Institutional citation: Nevis Cyclotron Labs., Columbia University.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Physicist Booth, Who Built Columbia’s Cyclotron, Dies, Columbia University Record: News in Brief (26 March 2004).
  2. ^ a b c Eugene T. Booth – University of Georgia, Rhodes Scholar recipient, 1934.
  3. ^ a b c Herbert L. Anderson John Ray Dunning 1907 – 1975 in Biographical Memoir 163-186 (National Academy of Sciences, 1989).
  4. ^ O. Hahn and F. Strassmann Über den Nachweis und das Verhalten der bei der Bestrahlung des Urans mittels Neutronen entstehenden Erdalkalimetalle (On the detection and characteristics of the alkaline earth metals formed by irradiation of uranium with neutrons), Naturwissenschaften Volume 27, Number 1, 11-15 (1939). The authors were identified as being at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie, Berlin-Dahlem. Received 22 December 1938.
  5. ^ Lise Meitner and O. R. Frisch Disintegration of Uranium by Neutrons: a New Type of Nuclear Reaction, Nature, Volume 143, Number 3615, 239-240 (11 February 1939). The paper is dated 16 January 1939. Meitner is identified as being at the Physical Institute, Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. Frisch is identified as being at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of Copenhagen.
  6. ^ O. R. Frisch Physical Evidence for the Division of Heavy Nuclei under Neutron Bombardment, Nature, Volume 143, Number 3616, 276-276 (18 February 1939). The paper is dated 17 January 1939. [The experiment for this letter to the editor was conducted on 13 January 1939; see Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb 263 and 268 (Simon and Schuster, 1986).]
  7. ^ Ruth Lewin Sime From Exceptional Prominence to Prominent Exception: Lise Meitner at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry Ergebnisse 24 Forschungsprogramm Geschichte der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus (2005).
  8. ^ Ruth Lewin Sime Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics (University of California, 1997).
  9. ^ Elisabeth Crawford, Ruth Lewin Sime, and Mark Walker A Nobel Tale of Postwar Injustice, Physics Today Volume 50, Issue 9, 26-32 (1997).
  10. ^ H. L. Anderson, E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, E. Fermi, G. N. Glasoe, and F. G. Slack The Fission of Uranium, Phys. Rev. Volume 55, Number 5, 511 - 512 (1939). Institutional citation: Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University, New York, New York. Received 16 February 1939.
  11. ^ a b Bederson, Benjamin The Physical Tourist: Physics in New York City, Physics in Perspective Volume 5, 87-121 (2003).
  12. ^ Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb 267-270 (Simon and Schuster, 1986).
  13. ^ Boney, F. N. and Michael Adams A Pictorial History of the University of Georgia 114 (University of Georgia, 2000).
  14. ^ Atomic Glue, Time 15 October 1951.
  15. ^ Leon M. Lederman, The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988, Autobiography, The Nobel Foundation (1988).

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