Maud in the past

Received by Evgeny searching about MAUD:

Here is about the history of the atomic bomb:

The MAUD Committee (not yet named) first met on April 10, 1940 to consider Britain’s actions regarding the recent discovery of nuclear fission and the possibility of building an atomic weapon. Shortly thereafter, a research program on isotope separation of uranium and fast fission was agreed upon. Lead by G.P. Thomson, the Committee included a number of renowned British physicists such as Mark Oliphant, Patrick Blackett, James Chadwick, P. B. Moon, and John Douglas Cockcroft.

The code name for Britain’s secret committee tasked with developing an atomic bomb, given by G.P Thomson in late June 1941, has a fascinating history. While many believe “MAUD” is a simple acronym that stands for the “Military Application of Uranium Detonation,” its origins appear more complex. The word “maud” actually arrived as a mysterious word in a cable from Lise Meitner to an English Friend: “Met Niels and Margrethe recently both well but unhappy about events please inform Cockcroft and Maud Ray Kent.”

When John Douglas Cockcroft received the cable, he wrote James Chadwick and informed him that he believed “Maud Ray Kent” was an “anagram for ‘radium taken,'” and that the phrase agreed “with other information that the Germans are getting hold of all the radium they can.” Thomson decided to borrow the first word of Cockcroft’s mysterious anagram for a suitably misleading name for the secret committee. It wasn’t until 1943, however, that committee members finally learned that “Maud Ray” was the governess who had taught Bohr’s son English; she lived in Kent.

G. P. Thomson

Dr. Evgeny Borovin
Microstructural Analysis [X-ray] Lab,
Department of Industrial Engineering,
UNITN – University of Trento,
via Sommarive 9, 38123 – Trento, Italy

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