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Despite working brutal dawn-to-dusk shifts doing everything from straight-up slide-rule physics to hardcore manual labor working with ultra-dangerous fissionable materials, Leona Woods also found plenty of time to head over to her family farm and help her mom take care of that year’s potato crop.Leona’s brother usually helped out with that sort of thing, but with him serving as a Marine Corps flamethrower operator on some unnamed island in the South Pacific he was a little busy.When asked whether, hey, maybe it was overkill to drop two bombs on Japan, Woods responded like a badass – double-middle fingers, fuck you guys, I’d rather nuke a country I’m at war with than face the massive casualty numbers estimated for American troops in an invasion of the Home Islands.In her mind, that nuke had saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and Marines. We’ll never know because history doesn’t really work like that.Purchase your Culture Pass at any state museum or historic site. On the date you visit your first museum or historic site, the pass will be validated, and it can then be used for the next 12 consecutive months.

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In the 28-minute experiment, later referred to by the commanding officer of the Manhattan Project as “the single most important scientific even in the development of atomic power,” the reactor generated 200 million watts of nuclear fission energy in a controlled environment. It formed the foundation for the creation of nuclear reactors that provide power to thousands of cities and towns throughout the world. The most famous, Reactor B, stood five stories high, utilized over 200 tons of uranium, and was the first large-scale reactor to produce weapons-grade plutonium-239.

Because it was a military project, naturally when they first turned it on it didn’t work. She realized that there was a contamination of xenon that was fucking everything up, so she and her team found a workaround.

At that time, her mother, who was also endowed with inexhaustible energy, was running a small farm near Chicago almost by herself. Woods of some work, Leona divided her time between atoms and potatoes.” On December 2, 1942, one month after the failed British raid and almost exactly a year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the world’s first nuclear reactor was ready to blow shit up at an atomic level. Fermi so she could call out the readings from her equipment, well aware that if things didn’t go right the only emergency contingency plan was for a so-called “Suicide Team” to run in there with buckets full of a cadmium-water solution to literally try and douse a nuclear chain reaction fucking volunteer firefighter bucket brigade style. a year later, married a guy she’d worked with on the team, and was redeployed to Hanford, Washington to work on the creation of fissionable materials to use in a nuclear bomb.

She witnessed the first time in human history that man was able to control the power of the atom. Refusing to take time off work even while pregnant (she would ride a shitty Army bus to work in the morning, barf in the bushes on her way into the office, and spend the rest of the day doing SCIENCE THINGS), Woods oversaw the construction of three much larger nuclear reactors that were built off the specs from Fermi’s Pile-1 back in Chicago.

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