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The Pontecorvo AffairA Cold War Defection and Nuclear Physics$
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Simone Turchetti

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226816647

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226816661.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Ten Million Reasons to Disappear

Ten Million Reasons to Disappear

Chapter:
(p.95) 4 Ten Million Reasons to Disappear
Source:
The Pontecorvo Affair
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226816661.003.0005

This chapter discusses Bruno Pontecorvo's decision to leave the West, which stemmed from his growing concerns about proceedings against the Atomic Energy Commission in relation to the slow neutron patent. Pontecorvo felt the looming danger like a cloud hanging over his head, and it led him to risk ruining his already shaky career and private life. These preoccupations made him behave erratically during his holiday in Italy, and ultimately propelled him toward life-changing decisions. Both Bennett Boskey's response to Gabriello Giannini's claim and the Patent Compensation Board proceedings regarding the slow neutron patent were informed by analysis of the security issues regarding the claimants in general and Pontecorvo more specifically, especially in light of Emilio Segrè's doubts. The publication of his name could have developed a scandal of major proportions, indicating that a communist atomic scientist was now ready to challenge the US government in court.

Keywords:   Bruno Pontecorvo, Atomic Energy Commission, slow neutron patent, Bennett Boskey, Gabriello Giannini, Patent Compensation Board, Emilio Segrè

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