Columbia University

Working at Columbia University from 1939 to 1942, Enrico Fermi and Herbert Anderson furthered their collaborative research on fission, constructing a series of exponential piles to test their theories. Fermi concluded that it should be possible to sustain a chain reaction in uranium which, under the right conditions, might multiply fast enough to cause a nuclear explosion. Along with physicist Leo Szilard, Fermi proposed placing the uranium in a matrix of graphite, forming a cubical lattice with potential for inducing a self-sustaining controlled reaction.

Portrait of Leo Szilard
Leo Szilard


University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center, Archival Photographic Files, apf1-11212

Portrait of Herbert Anderson
Herbert Anderson at Columbia