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It is little appreciated, even in William Lanouette's excellent biography, that Leo Szilard worked as a professional inventor during most of his scientific career, constantly filing patent applications that covered an astonishingly large range of novel ideas.
In his Berlin and London days between the world wars, Leo Szilard thought about household refrigerators and nuclear chain reactions. He also invented many of the central features of the accelerators that would take the study of nuclear and particle physics to high energies.
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