Steve Hanson
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Cockroft and Rutherford: the atom-splitters. The popular story that the atom was split in Manchester is not quite true – but it is true that much research leading to its possibility was made here. ‘Rutherford’s room’ in Manchester University was investigated as it was found that radioactivity stemming from it was having harmful effects. The chapter explores the mythical power of the word ‘atom’ in terms of Manchester’s inarguable contributions to a new scientific Enlightenment, but does so dialectically, using the word ‘atomised’ to refer to the ways in which the new science, once instrumentalised, turned people and communities into particles.

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Something rich and strange


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