Marie Curie into U235!

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by DMA, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

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    What if Marie Curie, along with her hubby Pierre, instead of concentrating on Radium, concentrated on U-235 in the late 1890s & into the early 1900s.

    If they had, thus, made signifcant inroads into the energy properties, as well as the weapon potential, of U-235, what effects may have this had on the first half of the 20th Century, not to mention ever since?

    Discuss.
     
  2. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Errr... How? Isotope separation is really difficult. Chemical separation, relatively speaking, is trivial.
     
  3. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

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    Believe it or not that is what the Curie's were able to do anyway in regards to Radium/Uranium.

    To quote from Wiki

     
  4. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Ummm.... no, it isn't. Radium is a different ELEMENT, as evidenced by its different spectral lines. What the Curies did was incredible, in terms of separating out exceedingly rare ELEMENTs from tonnes of ore, but it was all chemical processes.

    Most U235 separation relies on the differing mass of the two isotopes (in one way or another), as they are chemically essentially identical.
     
  5. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

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    Well you'll have to go & edit the Wiki article then, because that's where I got the idea from
     
  6. Atom Future Human

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    Thande! Help with chem!
     
  7. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

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    Yes, we need our expert AH.Com scientist & professor of all things which can explode :)
     
  8. Grand_Panjandrum Nattering Nabob of Negativism

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    Heh, on first glance, I read the title as "Marie Curie into U2!" which seemed a tad anachronistic.
     
  9. cerebus Aardvark

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    No the article is correct. Uranium is mildly radioactive natuarlly, but Curie already knew that. Radium was a new element and she was interested in it.

    However the concept of isotopes of elements and what they mean was still being invented.

    To get useful work (or an explosion) out of the element Uranium you have to increase the proportion of the more radioactive isotope (235) very significantly, What is left over is depleated uranium. Doing this is very difficult as they are very nearly identical in mass and are identical chemically.

    Until the 1920's nobody could see any reason to make the effort or had the technology/engineering/money to try.
     
  10. Nekromans Mernber

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    When I saw the title, I thought you meant have her build a nuclear submarine in a Second Reich Victory TL, designated U-235.