Lot 130 of 338:
Three seminal German papers on nuclear fission, 1939-1944  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,800
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Three offprints of seminal papers on nuclear fission by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann

Hahn, Otto, & Fritz Strassmann


Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften

1939; 1942; 1944


Illustrated with formulae, graphs, etc. 29.5x21 cm (11¾x8¼"), original printed wrappers. 

Foundational papers on the discovery of nuclear fission by the German physicists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, and to a great extent by their former colleagues Lisa Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch, who fled to Sweden in 1938 to escape persecution by the Nazi government. The papers include the crucial 1939 paper, "Über das Zerplatzen des Urankernes durch langsame Neutronen," which constituted the "first comprehensive account of the phenomenon of nuclear fission. In 1938, the radiochemist, Otto Hahn and the nuclear chemist Fritz Strassmann demonstrated the presence of radioactive barium, lanthanum and cesium among the products of neutron bombardment of uranium-a phenomenon that seemed to contradict all previous experiences of nuclear physics" (Norman). Dibner, Heralds of Science, notes that the paper  "indicated fission of the uranium nucleus into two parts of about equal size with the release of much energy [in fact a tremendous jump over the energy produced in all previous transmutation reactions]." Hahn and Strassmann's findings resulted from irradiation of uranium by neutrons produced by exposing beryllium to the alpha particles from radium; their discovery was made by recognizing the nature of the radioactive products from the fission reactions. Hahn received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944; Hahn, Meitner and Strassmann, the Fermi award in 1966. References: Dibner, Heralds of Science 168; Norman 163.


  • Über das Zerplatzen des Urankernes durch langsame Neutronen. Abhandlungen der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Jahrgang 1939. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse Nr. 12. 20 pp. 1939. 
  • Einiges über die experimentelle Entwirrung der bei der Spaltung des Urans auftretenden Elemente und Atomarten. Aus den Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Jahrgang 1942. Math.-Naturw. Klasse Nr. 3. 30 pp. 1942.
  • Die chemische Abscheidung der bei der Spaltung des Urans entstehenden Elemente und Atomarten (Allgemeiner Teil). Abhandlungen der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Jahrgang 1944. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse Nr. 12. 14 pp. 1944.

Lot Amendments

Third paper with some fading to wrappers, some light staining at edges, some chipping to rear wrapper and wear at spine; all in very good or better condition.

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