Leona Woods, was the only woman involved in the construction of the Chicago Pile-1 reactor

(August 9, 1919, La Grange, Illinois - November 10, 1983, Chicago)

Leona Woods was perhaps the most well-known woman scientist working on the Manhattan Project.

In 1938, she received her BS in Chemistry from the University of Chicago. After completing her graduate thesis, she was hired at Enrico Fermi's lab and was present when Chicago Pile-q went critical.

Leona Woods
Leona Woods

After Fermi's team relocated to Argonne, Leona helped oversee the development of reactors at Hanford. She was on hand when the B Reactor shut down after being "poisoned" by Xenon-135, and worked with the rest of the reactor team to resolve the problem.

After the war, she returned to Chicago and served as a fellow at the Institute for Nuclear Studies. She later did further work in a number of laboratories studying particle physics and published more than 200 scientific papers and several books.

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