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PROF. GOUDSMIT has written a racy account of the art played by the Alsos mission in the investigation by Allied intelligence of the German uranium projects, which makes very good reading. He tells some first-class stories ; the one about the radioactive wine dispatched by air to Washington deserves to become a classic ; and he has some interesting things to say about the methods used by his unit and about security in armament research. His book necessarily treats only part of the subject, namely, the work of scientists who accompanied the advancing armies from the time of the liberation of Paris untii the end of the War. It is to be hoped that it will some time be possible to release an account of earlier investigations, of the extent to which it was possible for military intelligence to keep track of the relevant activities of German scientists, and of the conclusions that were drawn. It was not untii the occupation of Strasbourg that the Alsos mission obtained certain proof that the Germans were far from obtaining either an atomic bomb or radioactive poisons ; but whether at this or at an earlier stage of the War fear of these developments was a potent motive in Alili ed strategy, or whether enough evidence existed to show that they were most unlikely, Goudsmit‘s account does not say.


The Failure in German Science. By Prof. Samuel A. Goudsmit. Pp. xiv + 260. (London : Sigma Books, Ltd., 1947.) 15s. net.

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MOTT, N. Alsos. Nature 162, 3–4 (1948) doi:10.1038/162003a0

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