NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
27th September, 1950 : Chicago scientists have discovered the first practical method for converting atomic energy into electricity without the use of boilers or dynamos, the Atomic Energy Commission disclosed today. The method is not practical for large-scale energy production but is being used in devices that monitor atomic reactions. The technique uses wire made from dissimilar metals. When the wires are bombarded by neutrons, energy in the form of heat is released at points where the different metals meet. The details of the method have been kept secret for security reasons until now.