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Image ID
ICHi-033305
Headline
Birth of the Atomic Age
Title (of Artwork/Object)
Birth of the Atomic Age
Date Depicted
December 2, 1942
Date Created
1957
Creator
Sheahan, Gary, b. 1920
Creator Role
artist
Artwork/Object Depicted
paintings (visual works)
Copyright Notice
© Chicago Historical Society, published on or before 2017, all rights reserved.
Credit Line
Chicago History Museum, ICHi-033305; Gary Sheahan, artist
Inventory Number
CH_00594;1964.521
Storage Location
P&S
Max Pixels - Height
4587
Max Pixels - Width
2400
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Preview

Painting titled Birth of the Atomic Age, by Gary Sheahan, 1957. Oil on board. Depicts Chicago Pile No. 1, the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction experiment at the University of Chicago, December 2, 1942, Chicago, Illinois. As photographers were not allowed at the time, fifteen years later the Chicago Tribune commissioned artist Gary Sheahan to re-create the moment when Enrico Fermi and his team of scientists proved that atomic power could be produced, kept under control, and stopped at will. Sheahan worked nearly four months to reconstruct the details of the event from reports, architects' renderings, and interviews with eyewitnesses.