The physicist known as the â€œgenius in the shadowsâ€� is being drawn into the spotlight a half-century after his death.
On Wednesday, UC San Diego will present a retrospective on the late Leo Szilard of La Jolla, who came up with the idea for the nuclear chain reaction. The breakthrough helped lead to the Manhattan Project, Americaâ€™s successful effort to build the first atomic bombs.
Szilard played a key role in the project. But he was a behind-the-scenes operator, ceding attention to other scientists. He took the same approach years later while advising General Atomics of San Diego on nuclear reactors, and when he helped to create the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla.
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