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Published on Jul 11, 2012
On December 2, 1942, 49 scientists, led by Enrico Fermi, made history when Chicago Pile 1 (CP-1) went critical and produced the world's first self-sustaining, controlled nuclear chain reaction. Seventy years later, Argonne National Laboratory hosted a special symposium to celebrate the event. One of few surviving CP-1 pioneers, Harold Agnew, shared his remembrances of working with Fermi and the birth of atomic energy. Len Koch, a leader in developing Argonne's Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-1), the first nuclear reactor to produce electricity from a plutonium core, also shared his memories of working at Argonne during the heyday of nuclear research.