A calutron (pictured) is a device that separates isotopes of a chemical
element by ionizing, accelerating and deflecting them using electric and
magnetic fields. A type of sector mass spectrometer, it was developed by
Ernest O. Lawrence at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of
California as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II, based
on his earlier invention, the cyclotron. Calutrons were used to separate
the isotopes of uranium on an industrial scale at the Y-12 plant at the
Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The enriched uranium
produced was used in the Little Boy atomic bomb employed in the bombing
of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Electromagnetic uranium enrichment was
abandoned in the early post-war period in favor of the more complicated,
but more efficient, gaseous diffusion method, but calutrons remained in
use to produce isotopically enriched samples of naturally occurring
elements for military, scientific and medical purposes.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
War of the Grand Alliance: A French warship captured York
Factory, a trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company in present-day
French Revolution: The National Convention began the Reign of
Terror, a ten-month period of systematic repression and mass executions
by guillotine of perceived enemies within the country.
Under the mediation of US President Theodore Roosevelt, the
Russo-Japanese War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of
Portsmouth at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard near Portsmouth, New
Cold War: Soviet cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko defected to Canada
with over 100 documents on Soviet espionage activities and sleeper
The St. Gotthard Tunnel (interior pictured), at the time the
world’s longest highway tunnel at 16.4 km (10.2 mi), opened in
Switzerland stretching from Göschenen to Airolo.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. The doctrines and practices, or the character and spirit, of the
2. (chiefly Christianity) Rigid observance of external forms of religion
without genuine piety; hypocrisy in religion; a censorious, self-
righteous spirit in matters of morals or manners.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
While no tradition coincides with experience, every tradition is
essentially unique and valuable. While all traditions are of value, none
is finally binding.
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