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Chernobyl shocker as fungi that eats radiation found inside nuclear reactor

 

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Fukushima Crisis Updates

Today In Radiation Safety History

On February 20 1972; Maria Goeppert Mayer passed away of a heart attack in San Diego, California. Mayer was a German-born American physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, the first being Marie Curie.

In the spring of 1942, with the United States embroiled in World War II, she joined the Manhattan Project. She accepted a part-time research post from Urey with Columbia University's Substitute Alloy Materials (SAM) Laboratories. The objective of this project was to find a means of separating the fissile uranium-235 isotope in natural uranium; she researched the chemical and thermodynamic properties of uranium hexafluoride and investigated the possibility of separating isotopes by photochemical reactions.

Mayer also researched the properties of matter and radiation at extremely high temperatures with an eye to the development of the Teller’s “Super” bomb, the wartime program for the development of thermonuclear weapons.

After the war, Mayer developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, which she published in 1950. Her model explained why certain numbers of nucleons in an atomic nucleus result in particularly stable configurations. These numbers are what Eugene Wigner called magic numbers: 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, and 126.

Enrico Fermi provided a critical insight by asking her: "Is there any indication of spin orbit coupling" She realized that this was indeed the case, and postulated that the nucleus is a series of closed shells and pairs of neutrons and protons tend to couple together. She described the idea as follows:

“Think of a room full of waltzers. Suppose they go round the room in circles, each circle enclosed within another. Then imagine that in each circle, you can fit twice as many dancers by having one pair go clockwise and another pair go counterclockwise. Then add one more variation; all the dancers are spinning twirling round and round like tops as they circle the room, each pair both twirling and circling. But only some of those that go counterclockwise are twirling counterclockwise. The others are twirling clockwise while circling counterclockwise. The same is true of those that are dancing around clockwise: some twirl clockwise, others twirl counterclockwise.”