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  • Ryan Wittler

Hunting Nazi Uranium Cubes

University of Maryland

In 1945, Allied troops found the laboratory of Nazi scientist Werner Heisenberg hidden in a cave underneath a castle in Southern Germany. In a field near the lab, they found some 660 uranium cubes the Nazis were using to build a nuclear program.

According to Live Science, the 2” x 2” cubes, now known as the “Heisenberg cubes,” were a vital part of the Nazi’s plans to build both a nuclear reactor and an atomic bomb. Today, some 1,200 of the cubes are known to exist, though only about a dozen are currently in known locations (one at the University of Maryland is pictured above).

Hunting their origin:

A mystery that has persisted throughout the decades since Hitler did his best work by swallowing that bullet, is where his gang of piece of sh*t Nazi scientists even got the uranium. So far, the best guesses are mines in the Czech Republic or the Congo that the Nazis had access to, though no one is certain.

Now, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) want to answer that question once and for all. To do it, they’re using a technique called “radiochronometry,” a process geologists use to date the age of rocks and minerals based on whatever science stuff they figure out to know that sort of thing.

Why it matters:

According to Live Science, the PNNL team is using the technique on a Heisenberg cube of their own to reveal not only the age of the cube but the location of its origin. The work is ongoing, however, if successful, the technique would not only allow researchers to search the world for more Heisenberg cubes, but to trace other smuggled nuclear materials.

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