France research pioneered the discovery of radioactivity and nuclear research. However looking at the names of non-US Americans in the Manhattan project there are very few French names (maybe just Bertrand Goldschmidt?) so I wonder what the famous French nuclear scientists were doing at the time. Were the French developing their own nuclear weapons project during World War II or were they discouraged from making one due to the cost of war? Any good sources on the status of nuclear weapon research in France during the war would be welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ The bottom line is that some of the main people as well as their heavy water went to Britain and were part of the allies effort. The Joliot-Curies stayed in Paris, did not reveal where the uranium and heavy water went, and did no weapon research. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 10, 2023 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ link.springer.com/article/10.1140/epjh/s13129-021-00020-x has some info on the French piles of Halban. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 10, 2023 at 14:09
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it seems to belong to history.stackexchange.com, as it isn't directly related to the history of science or math. $\endgroup$
    – Geremia
    Jan 10, 2023 at 23:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wait - the Manhattan Project isn’t science? Hmmm…. Plenty of related questions here. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 11, 2023 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ Given that half of France was occupied by the Germans during World War II & the other half was under threat of occupation & the colonies where were concerned with existential matters it is most unlikely the French actively pursued an atomic weapons program. The Germans would have been very interested in such a program for themselves & their war effort & would have been monitoring any such research & development efforts by the French. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Jan 11, 2023 at 1:53


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