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Three hundred years ago it would have seemed absurd to say that this black mineral, this sea-coal, which could be used as a substitute for wood to burn in one's grate, could be applied to revolutionize human affairs. Today we know that there is another source of energy a million times greater. We have not yet learned how to harness it or apply it, but it is there. Occasionally in complicated processes in the laboratory a scientist observes transmutations, re-arrangements in the core of the atom, which is known as the nucleus, which generate power at a rate hundreds of thousands of times greater than is produced when coal is burned and when, as the scientists put it, a carbon atom satisfied its affinity for an oxygen molecule. It can scarcely be doubted that a way to induce and control these effects can be found. The new fire is laid, but the particular kind of match is missing. - Winston Churchill


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