Fermi and the Chicago atomic pile
The Chicago pile, the first atomic pile in the world and the first to achieve a self-sustaining and controlled chain reaction , was designed by Enrico Fermi and his team as part of the Manhattan Project that would lead to the atomic bomb in 1945 . The atomic pile, ancestor of our nuclear reactors, was built in 1942 under the stands of the American football stadium at the Chicago University. On 2 December 1942, the team led by Fermi withdrew from the pile a cadmium coated control bar, triggering the nuclear fission chain reaction.