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November 27 , 2009

A Prophet in Two Countries: The Life of F. E. Simon


A Prophet in Two Countries: The Life of F.E. Simon is a narration of the true story of F.E. Simon whose work involved developing nuclear energy for the British during the Second World War. Franz Simon is a Jew born in Berlin and earns his doctorate degree from the University of Berlin. He works at the Physikalisch Chemisches Institut, and then as a professor at the Technische Hochschule in Breslau. When Germany starts its systematic repression of Jews, Simon, now married and with two children, leaves Germany in 1939, along with Thomas Frank and a Jewish secretary. The Simon family settles in Oxford, and he works at the Clarendon.
In 1936, he gets an appointment as University Reader in Thermodynamics at Birmingham University. Professor of Mathematics Rudolf Peierls introduces Simon to work related to the war. Simon is then put in charge of all work on isotope separation at the Clarendon. The system Simon develops for gaseous diffusion turns out to be the most practicable among the many other methods, and this becomes adopted in many factories. After the war, he is awarded the C.B.E. and he publishes many papers before his death on October 31, 1956.
Researchers, students, and academicians involved in British history and readers with general historical and biographical interest will find this book a pleasant reading.
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