NPR

Have You Seen Any Nazi Uranium? These Researchers Want To Know

When a small cube of uranium metal turned up in Tim Koeth's life, it launched a epic search for a lost piece of nuclear history.
This cube of uranium metal came from a reactor that was built by the Nazis during World War II. Hundreds of others like it are now missing. Source: John T. Consoli

Timothy Koeth's office is crammed with radioactive relics – old watches with glowing radium dials, pieces of melted glass from beneath the test of the world's first nuclear weapon.

But there is one artifact that stands apart from the rest: a dense, charcoal-black cube, two-inches on a side. The cube is made of pure uranium metal. It was forged more than 70 years ago by the Nazis, and it tells the little-known story of Germany's nuclear efforts during World War II.

"From a historical this cube weighs a lot more than five pounds," Koeth, a physicist at the University of Maryland, says as he holds it in his hand.

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