Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Pile itself and an explanation


Here, below, is a 1950 cutaway drawing of the Zero-Energy Experimental Pile (ZEEP), which on September 5, 1945, became the first nuclear reactor to initiate a self-sustaining chain reaction outside the United States, at Chalk River, Ontario, Canada:
 

Originally part of an effort to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons, the reactor was designed by a team of Canadian, British and French scientists and engineers assembled in Montreal and in Ottawa in 1942-43 under the administration of the National Research Council. Named Zero Energy Experimental Pile because it was developed to produce only one watt of heat, the ZEEP reactor was used to provide data for the design of the powerful NRX (National Research Experimental) reactor. 

Next Z.E.E.P. print is Hollywood Wax Museum:
 
 

The Museum was opened in 1965 and thrives to this day – spawning 3 other such museums subsequently opened in Branson, Missouri, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Clearly, despite all today’s electronic media coverage, the public remains keen on viewing effigies of ‘celebrities’.  Paolozzi certainly enjoyed visiting the place when he was teaching at Berkeley.  The print is rich with several of his fave images – spaceflight hardware, robots, monkey, technology/medical cutaway drawing and a pin-up.  I imagine that on a walk around the Museum you would have the impression of a similar jumble of characters and dioramas.

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