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The Pontecorvo Affair – A Cold War Defection and Nuclear Physics - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Pontecorvo Affair: A Cold War Defection and Nuclear Physics

Simone Turchetti


In the fall of 1950, newspapers around the world reported that the Italian-born nuclear physicist Bruno Pontecorvo and his family had mysteriously disappeared while returning to Britain from a holiday trip. Because Pontecorvo was known to be an expert working for the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment, this raised immediate concern for the safety of atomic secrets, especially when it became known in the following months that he had defected to the Soviet Union. Was Pontecorvo a spy? Did he know and pass sensitive information about the bomb to Soviet experts? At the time, nuclear scientist ... More

Keywords: Bruno Pontecorvo, Soviet Union, spy ring, atomic weaponry, Manhattan Project, secrecy provisions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780226816647
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226816661.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Simone Turchetti, author