Nuclear Energy (1964–1966) (LH 526) is a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore on the campus of the University of Chicago at the site of the world’s first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1. The first human-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was created here on December 2, 1942.
It’s a rather strange thing really but I’d already done the idea for this sculpture before Professor McNeill and his colleagues from the University of Chicago came to see me on Sunday morning to tell me about the whole proposition. They told me (which I’d only vaguely known) that Fermi, the Italian nuclear physicist, started or really made the first successful controlled nuclear fission in a temporary building. I think it was a squash court – a wooden building – which from the outside looked entirely unlike where a thing of such an important nature might take place. But this experiment was carried on in secret and it meant that by being successful Man was able to control this huge force for peaceful purposes as well as destructive ones. They came to me to tell me that they thought where such an important event in history took place ought to be marked and they wondered whether I would do a sculpture which would stand on the spot. (Art Journal, New York, spring 1973, p.286)