Henry Moore, “Nuclear Energy”, Bronze Sculpture, The University of Chicago
On December 2nd of 1942, a team of scientists led by Italian émigré Enrico Fermi set the world’s first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in motion at Chicago Pile 1, the world’s first artificial nuclear reactor built under the original site of the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.
This event was a decisive step toward the creation of the age of atomic energy, and critically, at the time, to the production of the atomic bomb for use in World War II. On December 2nd of 1967, the sculpture “Nuclear Energy” was unveiled on the campus of the University of Chicago as a memorial to the accomplishments of Fermi and his fellow physicists.
The twelve-foot tall bronze sculpture was commissioned by the University of Chicago and created by British artist Henry Moore, one of the most preeminent public sculptors of his generation. Moore designed, modeled, and cast the bronze sculpture between 1963 and 1967, To Moore, it was both a celebration of this incredible human achievement, and also a warning against the dangers of harnessing such natural, physical power.