THE NEUTRON was discovered in 1932. Why, then, did it take seven years before nuclear fission was found? Fission is obviously a striking phenomenon; it results in a large amount of radioactivity of all kinds and produces fragments that have more than ten times the total ionization of anything previously known. So why did it take so long? The question might be answered best by reviewing the situation in Europe from an experimentalist's point of view.
The discovery of fission
Otto R. Frisch, John A. Wheeler; The discovery of fission. Physics Today 1 November 1967; 20 (11): 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3034021
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