What is Nuclear Fission?
The process whereby the nucleus of a particular heavy element splits into (generally) two nuclei of lighter elements, with the release of substantial amounts of energy. (Atomic Archive Glossary)
Fission was discovered in 1934 when Enrico Fermi of Italy irradiated uranium with neutrons and believed he had produced the first transuranic element. In 1938 Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann of Germany split the uranium atom by bombarding it with neutrons and showed that the elements barium and krypton were formed. Fermi, Hahn and Strassmann did, however, not realize that they had in fact induced a fission reaction. Only later research by others established the necessary knowledge about the nuclear fission process.
During the process of nuclear fission a particle such as a neutron strikes the nucleus of a