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  Timeline of the Nuclear Age 1940s  1941

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Glenn Seaborg and colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley find that neptunium emits beta rays (electrons), thereby forming another new element (Atomic Number 94), which they call plutonium. In 1951, Seaborg and Edwin McMillan receive a Nobel prize for their work

American scientists conclude that plutonium can be used as a weapon.

Office of Scientific Research and Development is established, under the direction of Vannevar Bush, to develop atomic energy.

Enrico Fermi suggests to Edward Teller that an atomic bomb might heat deuterium sufficiently to create a full-scale thermonuclear reaction.

President Roosevelt decides to proceed with development of an atomic weapon after a meeting in which he is informed of its feasibility.

The day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Engineering District. The secret U.S. project to build an atomic bomb, later to be called the Manhattan Project, is put under the direction of the Office of Scientific Research and Development.

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