The Mechanism of Nuclear Fission

Phys. Rev. 56, 426 – Published 1 September 1939
Niels Bohr and John Archibald Wheeler


On the basis of the liquid drop model of atomic nuclei, an account is given of the mechanism of nuclear fission. In particular, conclusions are drawn regarding the variation from nucleus to nucleus of the critical energy required for fission, and regarding the dependence of fission cross section for a given nucleus on energy of the exciting agency. A detailed discussion of the observations is presented on the basis of the theoretical considerations. Theory and experiment fit together in a reasonable way to give a satisfactory picture of nuclear fission.


  • Received 28 June 1939
  • Published in the issue dated September 1939

© 1939 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Niels Bohr

  • University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey

John Archibald Wheeler

  • Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

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