Engelbert Broda

Engelbert Broda (29 August 1910 in Vienna – 26 October 1983 in Hainburg an der Donau) was an Austrian chemist and physicist suspected by some to have been a KGB spy code-named Eric, who could have been a main Soviet source of information on British and American nuclear research.[1][2][3]


Broda was born in 1910 as the first son of Viola and Ernst Broda, a Viennese lawyer. His brother Christian was later to become Minister of Justice in Austria. Broda was strongly influenced by his uncle Georg Wilhelm Pabst, a famous film director, and Egon Schönhof, who returned to Austria as a convinced communist after serving time as a prisoner of war in Russia. Whilst studying at the University of Vienna Broda took part in the communist resistance against the National Socialists. During this period he was imprisoned several times because of his political activities. Broda emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1938.

Scientific career

Broda had his Ph.D. in Chemistry approved in 1934 at the University of Vienna. From 1940 he worked at the Medical Research Council at the University College London, researching the transformation of light into chemical energy. From 1941 he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory, on radioactivity and nuclear fission. At this time he made intensive studies of the work of Ludwig Boltzmann.

In 1947 he returned to the University of Vienna. From 1955 until 1980 he served as Professor for Physical chemistry. His major work as a scientist - Evolution of the Bioenergetic Processes - was published in 1975.

Political initiatives

Broda became a member of the Pugwash movement, in support of nuclear disarmament. He also worked to propagate the use of solar energy, and in 1979 he was awarded the Austrian Award for the Protection of Nature, for his initiatives concerning a projected power plant in Dürnstein, Wachau. He was given an honorary funeral at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

Alleged espionage

In 2009 Broda was accused of espionage in a book based upon the journalist Alexander Vassiliev's access to formerly undisclosed KGB archives.[4] According to the book, KGB reports from August 1943 conclude that Broda ("Eric") was the main Soviet source of information on British and American nuclear research.[1] MI5 had suspected he was Alan Nunn May's recruiter, but did not have conclusive proof.[5]


  • Kräfte des Weltalls (Forces of the universe), Globus, Vienna 1954 (an introduction for non-specialists about phenomenons of astronomy, radiation, palaeogeography, raw materials, the basic structures of chemical substances, and fundamental principles of life)
  • Ludwig Boltzmann. Mensch, Physiker, Philosoph, 1955
  • Atomkraft - Furcht und Hoffnung, 1956
  • The Evolution of the Bioenergetic Processes, 1975 [6]
  • Wissenschaft, Verantwortung, Frieden, 1985

Further reading

  • "Spies, the Rise and Fall of the KGB in America" ISBN 978-0-300-12390-6, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliew
  • Scientist Spies by Paul Broda (2011)


  1. ^ a b Leonard Doyle (10 May 2009), "New spy book names Engelbert Broda as KGB atomic spy in Britain", Daily Telegraph
  2. ^ Ben Macintyre (10 June 2009), "The spy who started the Cold War", The Times
  3. ^ John Earl Haynes; Harvey Klehr; Alexander Vassiliev (2010). Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-15572-3.
  4. ^ ISBN 978-0-300-12390-6 Copyright 2009 John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliew
  5. ^ MI5 Website - Engelbert Broda
  6. ^ Katalogzettel Universitätsbibliothek Wien

External links

Alan Nunn May

Alan Nunn May (2 May 1911 – 12 January 2003) was a British physicist, and a confessed and convicted Soviet spy, who supplied secrets of British and United States atomic research to the Soviet Union during World War II.


Anammox, an abbreviation for anaerobic ammonium oxidation, is a globally important microbial process of the nitrogen cycle that takes place in many natural environments. The bacteria mediating this process were identified in 1999, and were a great surprise for the scientific community. "Anammox" is also the trademarked name for an anammox-based ammonium removal technology developed by the Delft University of Technology.

Esther Simpson

Esther Simpson (31 July 1903 – 19 November 1996) was appointed the assistant secretary for the Academic Assistance Council (AAC) in 1933. She worked tirelessly throughout her life to establish work and connection for refugees in need. Her work was essential to some of the finest projects and she worked with some of the world's greatest scientific minds, many of whom participated in the Manhattan Project.

She was awarded the OBE in 1956 and received honorary degrees from the University of London and the University of Leeds in 1981 and 1989 respectively.Esther Simpson, known as Tess to her friends, is best known for being a devoted and noble lobbyist and organizer for the Academic Assistance Council. Working closely with other scholarly immigrants such as Leo Szilard, she assisted hundreds of refugees of high academic calibre during the difficult time that was World War II and placed them in different work positions all over the world. She lived and worked throughout Europe with various organizations to promote the acceptance of refugees under the tensions that arose from the Nazi regime and later other global conflicts.

Fritz Pregl Prize

Fritz Pregl Prize has been awarded annually since 1931 to an Austrian scientist for distinguished achievements in chemistry by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) from the funds left at its disposal by the Nobel prize-winning chemist Fritz Pregl.

Not currently awarded.

Index of physics articles (E)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

MAUD Committee

The MAUD Committee was a British scientific working group formed during the Second World War. It was established to perform the research required to determine if an atomic bomb was feasible. The name MAUD came from a strange line in a telegram from Danish physicist Niels Bohr referring to his housekeeper, Maud Ray.

The MAUD Committee was founded in response to the Frisch-Peierls memorandum, which was written in March 1940 by Rudolf Peierls and Otto Robert Frisch, two physicists who were refugees from Nazi Germany working at the University of Birmingham under the direction of Mark Oliphant. The memorandum argued that a small sphere of pure uranium-235 could have the explosive power of thousands of tons of TNT.

The chairman of the MAUD Committee was George Thomson. Research was split among four different universities: the University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool, University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. Each university where its research was carried out had a director as well. Various means of uranium enrichment were examined, as was nuclear reactor design, the properties of uranium-235, the use of the then-hypothetical element plutonium, and theoretical aspects of nuclear weapon design.

After fifteen months of work, the research culminated in two reports, "Use of Uranium for a Bomb" and "Use of Uranium as a Source of Power", known collectively as the MAUD Report. These reports discussed the feasibility and necessity of an atomic bomb for the war effort. In response, the British created a nuclear weapons project officially named Tube Alloys. The MAUD Report was made available to the United States, where it energised the American effort, which eventually became the Manhattan Project. The report was handed over to the Soviet Union by its atomic spies, and helped start the Soviet atomic bomb project.

Percy Glading

Percy Eded Glading ( 29 November 1893 – 15 April 1970) was an English communist and a co-founder of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). He was also a trade union activist, an author, and from the mid-1930s he spied on Britain for the Soviet Union, for which activity he was convicted and imprisoned. Glading, who was born in Wanstead and grew up in East London, left school early to find work. Starting with menial jobs such as delivering milk, he found skilled work at the Stratford marshalling yards. Later he worked as an engineer at the Royal Arsenal, which was then the national production centre for military materiel. Glading spent World War I at the Arsenal, and after the war, chose to involve himself in working-class politics. He joined the forerunner of the CPGB, which, with his friend Harry Pollitt and others, he later founded.

Glading was a national organiser for the CPGB and acted as its ambassador abroad, particularly to India. He was active in other groups, such as the National Minority Movement and when he married, his wife Elizabeth joined him in his political activity. He was prominent in the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU), but his political activity resulted in dismissal from the Royal Arsenal, a security-sensitive post, as the government of the day regularly dismissed those suspected of subversive activities from its employment. MI5 opened a file on him in 1925 and considered him an extreme communist. The OGPU and its successor, the NKVD—the Soviet secret police—kept in touch with him through a series of handlers (including Arnold Deutsch who later recruited Kim Philby).

Around 1934 Soviet Intelligence recruited Glading as a spy. Although he no longer worked at the Arsenal, he had maintained contact with men of similar sympathies who did. The Arsenal was of interest to the USSR as it was known that Britain was on the verge of creating the biggest naval gun yet. Glading had set up a safe house in Holland Park, West London, where he photographed various sensitive plans and blueprints. Unbeknown to him, the secret service had infiltrated the CPGB in 1931, with an agent known later as "Miss X"—Olga Gray. Glading trusted her and involved her in his espionage activities and lodged her in the Holland Park safe-house. He was eventually arrested in January 1938 in the act of exchanging sensitive material from Woolwich. Predominantly due to the testimony of "Miss X", Glading was found guilty and sentenced to six-years' hard labour.

On his release from prison near the end of World War II, he is reported to have found work in a factory and maintained close links with Pollitt and the CPGB. Glading died in Richmond on 15 April 1970 aged 77.

Tube Alloys

Tube Alloys was the code name of the research and development programme authorised by the United Kingdom, with participation from Canada, to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Starting before the Manhattan Project in the United States, the British efforts were kept classified, and as such had to be referred to by code even within the highest circles of government.

The possibility of nuclear weapons was acknowledged early in the war. At the University of Birmingham, Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch co-wrote a memorandum explaining that a small mass of pure uranium-235 could be used to produce a chain reaction in a bomb with the power of thousands of tons of TNT. This led to the formation of the MAUD Committee, which called for an all-out effort to develop nuclear weapons. Wallace Akers, who oversaw the project, chose the deliberately misleading name "Tube Alloys". His Tube Alloys Directorate was part of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Tube Alloys programme in Britain and Canada was the first nuclear weapons project. Due to the high costs, and the fact that Britain was fighting a war within bombing range of its enemies, Tube Alloys was ultimately subsumed into the Manhattan Project by the Quebec Agreement with the United States, under which the two nations agreed to share nuclear weapons technology, and to refrain from using it against each other, or against other countries without mutual consent; but the United States did not provide complete details of the results of the Manhattan Project to the United Kingdom. The Soviet Union gained valuable information through its atomic spies, who had infiltrated both the British and American projects.

The United States terminated co-operation after the war ended with the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. This prompted the United Kingdom to relaunch its own project, High Explosive Research. Production facilities were established and British scientists continued their work under the auspices of an independent British programme. Finally, in 1952, Britain performed a nuclear test under codename "Operation Hurricane". In 1958, in the wake of the Sputnik crisis and the British demonstration of a two-stage thermonuclear bomb, the United Kingdom and the United States signed US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement, which resulted in a resumption of Britain's nuclear Special Relationship with the United States.

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