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386 Biographical Memoirs the physics laboratory. He gained the reputation of being an unusually quick and skilful constructorof apparatus;inlaterlifethisresultedinhisunderestimatingthetimethatothers wouldtaketobuildsimilarequipment.
Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant 387 Attheendof 1933,thechemistG.N.Lewis(For.Mem.R.S.1940),fromtheUniversityof California at Berkeley, brought two tiny phials, each containing one drop of heavy water (deuteriumoxide).ThesewerethefirsttoreachEngland,andtheywereentrustedtoOliphant toseewhetherhecouldextractsomeatomsof deuteriumtouseasbombardingparticlesinan accelerator. By reaction with metallic potassium, the hydrogen atoms were released from the heavywaterandmixedwithhelium.Bombardmentof deuteriumwithdeuteronsledtosome remarkableresults,includingaverylargereleaseof severalparticles:protons,a-particlesand neutrons.
388 Biographical Memoirs difficult to explain. Fortunately, it was short-lived. In fact, Oliphant described in his biography how a great friendship developed in this period between the two families. They shared holidays, sometimes pruning trees in the Rutherfords’ garden, and at others taking longwalkstogetherwhilestayingintheholidaycottageof theRutherfordsatNantGwynant innorthWales.
Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant 389 R- In1935anarrayof radio-locationstationshadbeenbuiltaroundtheBritishcoast,startingat Orfordness,inEssex.InAugustandSeptember1939mostphysicistsfromBritishuniversities weresenttovariousstationstolearnaboutthesystem.OliphanttookateamtoVentnoron theIsleof Wight,whileanOxfordgroupwereatPevensey,Sussex,whenwarwasdeclaredon September 3. That night I was on duty there with J.H.E. Griffiths, later President of MagdalenCollege,Oxford.
392 Biographical Memoirs He took a very active interest in the political problems arising from the use of nuclear weapons in war. For a time he was the Australian scientific representative on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission. In many speeches he discussed the problems of the control of nuclear energy, advocating international control. Urged by Bertrand Russell, he joined Albert Einstein and others as a founder member of the Pugwash Movement, against nuclearweapons,andhecametoavoidallresearchof amilitarynature.