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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th January 1899 Born today: Nevil Shute [Norway], London, novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice)
17th January 1886 Born today: Ronald Firbank, London, novelist (Flower Beneath the Foot)
17th January 1775 R B Sheridan's Rivals, premieres in London
17th January 1670 Highwayman Claude Duval found guilty of 6 robberies and sentenced to death.
The atom bomb was born here
Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard made a nuclear breakthrough here
Location: Southampton Row, London
Description: Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard made a nuclear breakthrough here. On the morning of 12th September 1933 Leo read a speech by Ernest Rutherford about splitting nucleii, and was deep in thought on the subject.
...anyone who looked for a source of power in the transformation of the atom was talking moonshine.
He was standing waiting for the lights to change to cross the road where Southampton Row becomes Russell Square. When the lights changed to green and Leo moved off the pavement Leo thought 'What would happen if neutrons were smashed into the nuclei of atoms in a way that released two neutrons from the second atom?'.
Bang, the atom bomb was born.