The Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project Voices

Voices of the Manhattan Project

J. Robert Oppenheimer"Voices of the Manhattan Project" is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families. 

Our online collection features over 200 audio/visual interviews with Manhattan Project workers and their families, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, General Leslie R. Groves, Glenn Seaborg, Hans and Rose Bethe, George Kistiakowsky, and many more. We add new interviews every week, so check back often! 

Recent Oral Histories

General Leslie Groves' Interview - Part 9

In this interview, General Leslie Groves discusses his relationship with Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Groves recalls several meetings with the Secretary, including one which required Groves' advice on how to prevent a congressman from visiting Oak Ridge and threatening to unveil the top-secret Manhattan Project site to the Senate. Groves also recalls the day that President Roosevelt died and how it affected members of the War Department.

Emilio Segrè's Interview

Emilio Segrè was an Italian-American scientist who won the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the discovery of antiprotons, a subatomic particle. Earlier in his career, he was an integral member of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos as head of the P-5 Group, which focused on radioactivity. It was Segrè’s discovery of the high rate of spontaneous fission in plutonium—a discovery that he discusses in this interview—that forced the Project to abandon a plutonium-fueled, gun-type bomb. In this extended discussion, author Richard Rhodes asks Segrè about his close relationship with Enrico Fermi, his decision to return to academia rather than work on a thermonuclear weapon, and his opinion on the storied career of Edward Teller.

Dorothy McKibbin's Interview

Dorothy McKibbin was responsible for welcoming new recruits to the Manhattan Project. Known by many as the "gatekeeper" to Los Alamos, McKibbin ran the Santa Fe office at 109 East Palace for the Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II. She checked in the many scientists who came through Santa Fe on their way to work on the development of the atomic bomb, issuing passes and briefing them about life in the Manhattan Project. In this interview, McKibbin recalls the strict security measures in place in Santa Fe and Los Alamos and also discusses Klaus Fuchs. She also speaks about day-to-day life at Santa Fe, including the women who came to work on the Manhattan Project.

J. Robert Oppenheimer's Interview

In this rare interview, J. Robert Oppenheimer talks about the organization of the Manhattan Project and some of the scientists that he helped to recruit during the earliest days of the project. Oppenheimer discusses some of the biggest challenges that scientists faced during the project, including developing a sound method for implosion and purifying plutonium. Oppie recalls his daily routine at Los Alamos, including taking his son to nursery school.