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A first-person account that covers the major points of the question appears in the book, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman (The specific story is titled "A Different Box of Tools"). The real characters were a group of math and physics grad students at Princeton. The specific student who made the claim of triviality is ...


The uranium came from Belgian Congo, more precisely, from the Katanga Province. See this article explaining the central role of Edgar Sengier, ruler of the very powerful (Belgian) Union Minière du Haut Katanga (Katanga Mining Union), who in September 1940 secretly sent, without being ordered by anybody, around 1000 tons of especially rich uranium ore to ...


A good bet is Christopher Cooper's The Truth about Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation, published in 2015 by Race Point Publishers.

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