The Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project Voices

Voices of the Manhattan Project

Chicago Pile-1 scientists"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 and Vera Kistiakowsky, and many more. We add new interviews every week, so check back often! 

Click here to register for the Atomic Heritage Foundation's 70th Anniversary of the Manhattan Project events, to be held in Washington, DC in June 2-3, 2015. The events will include a reunion of Manhattan Project veterans and a symposium featuring veterans and experts.

Recent Oral Histories

Isabella Karle's Interview

Manhattan Project veteran and award-winning chemist Isabella Karle is a pioneer in the field of crystallography. Her work on molecular structures and plutonium extraction and purification has had a sweeping influence across many scientific fields. In this interview, Karle discusses her upbringing in Detroit, Michigan, and how she obtained her degrees in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan. Karle discusses her time working on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago, as well as the time she and her husband, Jerome, spent working at the US Naval Research Laboratory following the war.

Adrienne Lowry's Interview

Adrienne Lowry arrived at Los Alamos in 1942 after her husband, radiochemist and co-discoverer of plutonium, Joseph Kennedy, was selected by J. Robert Oppenheimer to lead the chemistry division at Los Alamos. Lowry recalls the early days of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, when construction was just beginning and housing remained scarce for many of the workers who had just arrived. Prior to the birth of her first child, Lowry helped carry mail between Los Alamos and Santa Fe. She recalls meeting many of the famous scientists who worked on the bomb, including Hans Bethe, Enrico Fermi, Art Wahl, Glenn Seaborg, and Oppenheimer. When Arthur Compton offered Joseph Kennedy a position as the chair of the chemistry department at Washington University after the War, Lowry and her husband moved to St. Louis.

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.

General Leslie Groves's Interview - Part 1

In this interview, General Groves discusses the start of the Manhattan Project. He remembers the troubles he had working with Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner, the importance of redundancy in designing the bomb and plants like the T-Plant, and how the Project came about in the first place.