The Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project Voices

Voices of the Manhattan ProjectSpecial Engineering Detachment insignia

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. The Manhattan Project was a great human collaboration, with 130,000 people around the country working on the top-secret project. We are currently in the process of adding many more oral histories to the website, so check back frequently to view new interviews! 

We are still conducting interviews with Manhattan Project veterans and their families, to capture as many oral histories as possible. If you are, or know, a Manhattan Project veteran who would like to be interviewed, please contact us.

Recent Oral Histories

William Lowe's Interview

William Lowe was studying chemical and metallurgical engineering when World War II began. He was appointed to the Special Engineering Detachment and arrived in Los Alamos and began assisting physicist Arthur Wahl. Lowe recalls working with Wahl on the process for purifying the plutonium for the Gadget and the bombs and talks about the safety procedures they used to minimize risk of radiation exposure. Lowe later worked on building new reactors, laboratories, and other support facilities at Hanford. He worked in the nuclear power industry for many years and shares his experience of being in the control room during the Three Mile Island Incident.

Russell Jim's Interview

Russell Jim is a member of the Yakama Nation near the Hanford site and serves as the head of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation’s Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program. Jim discusses the impact of the Manhattan Project on the Yakama Nation people and the environmental impact of the radioisotopes that were released into the areas surrounding the B Reactor and the Columbia River. Jim explains the history and importance of the land and natural resources to the Yakama people. He expresses concern for the health of future generations and advocates the need for a cooperative effort between the United States government and the Yakama Nation to study the impact of radiation and nuclear waste on the environment.

K. W. Greager's Interview

Wally Greager began working at Hanford in late 1951 after graduating from college. He talks about the different projects he worked on at Hanford, and describes the process of irradiating the fuel in the tubes in the B Reactor.

Robert Holmberg's Interview

Robert Holmberg began working on the Manhattan Project at the Chicago Met Lab and at Ames Laboratory in Iowa. He was then drafted into the Special Engineer Detachment and sent to Oak Ridge. He describes his life at Oak Ridge, where he met his wife and settled down, and recalls what he and his colleagues thought of General Leslie Groves at the time.