To take just one example, Britain's Sir Ernest Rutherford made important contributions to nuclear research regarding chain reactions. But he died before World War II began, so that doesn't "count" for this question. More to the point, perhaps Americans learned something from the British sabatageurs in Norway that disrupted the German heavy water experiments., because this took place during the war itself. Or did they learn anything else from British scientists during the war itself?

On the other hand, "German" scientists (that is the ones who stayed in Germany), would not have contributed to the U.S. nuclear research, at least not during the war. (Perhaps America benefited from Heisenberg's pre-war contributions.)

Finally, there were a large number of German refugee immigrants (14 of the top 28 German scientists according to Wikipedia) that did contribute to the U.S. atomic effort. I'm counting these as "Americans."

Using the above definitions, what contributions were made to U.S. atomic research by "non-Americans during the war?" Put another way, what would the U.S. have missed out on, or had to develop herself if atomic research were so sensitive that all governments put an embargo on it during the early 1940s?

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    $\begingroup$ How do you count Niels Bohr? $\endgroup$ – user58697 Nov 24 '15 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ @user58697: Good question. You may treat him as a non-American, and answer on that basis, since he went home to Denmark after the war, instead of "staying." $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Nov 24 '15 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 25 '15 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ Is is not clear what you are asking about. If Rutherford "contributed" then Heisenberg (who stayed in Germany) and many other Germans also contributed. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Nov 25 '15 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexandreEremenko: This is a kind of "worldbuilding" question. Suppose atomic research was so sensitive that ALL governments put an embargo on transfer of nuclear information/technology. The U.S. would then not get the benefit of information sharing (except through immigration--others left their countries and became Americans).Then what would we have missed out on or had to learn ourselves? In the case of Heisenberg, I guess America benefited from his "prewar" contributions, but not any insights he developed during the war. I revised the question in this regard. $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Nov 25 '15 at 2:51

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