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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker


International Prestige

KurchatovDuring the next few years, Kurchatov and his team built a cyclotron, a proton accelerator and studied artificial radioactivity and neutron-proton interactions. His name appeared on many published papers on these topics, and his reputation extended outside the Soviet borders. He was now included among the elite group of world-class nuclear physicists.

Although his work had propelled Soviet science to an international level, it still had produced very little for Stalin's industrial machine. In 1936 this was a dangerous disadvantage.

The Great Purge between 1936 and 1938 destroyed the lives of millions across the Soviet Union. Stalin was attempting to remove all opposition, and he looked for it at all levels. Scientists and engineers were included and many were killed or imprisoned for even the smallest accusation.

Kurchatov certainly knew some of his fellow scientists who fell victim to the purges, but he was left untouched.


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