The Manhattan Project

Columbia University

William Ginell's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is Wednesday, February 22, 2017. I’m in Encino, California. Maybe the first thing is say your name and spell it for us.

William Ginell: Okay. It’s William Seaman, S-E-A-M-A-N, Ginell, G-I-N-E-L-L.

Kelly: Great. Why don’t you start at the beginning? Tell us when you were born and where and a little bit about your childhood.

Lawrence S. O'Rourke

Lawrence S. O’Rourke began working on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University after he was called up from the Army Reserves in 1944. O’Rourke was among the first group of SEDs who worked at Columbia, where he helped research and develop the gaseous diffusion process for the separation of uranium. After nine months, O’Rourke’s group moved from the Pupin Physics Lab to the Nash Garage Building, where they helped develop the barrier material that would be used at the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge.

William Ginell

William Ginell is a physical chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project. In this interview he describes how he became interested in chemistry and his experiences working at Columbia University and Oak Ridge, TN on the gaseous diffusion process. He reflects on the Army, living conditions, and the intense secrecy and security during the project. He also discusses his life after the war, especially his work at Brookhaven, Atomics International, and Douglas Aircraft.

John Manley's Interview (1985) - Part 1

Martin Sherwin: Good afternoon, this is an interview with John Manley at the Red Onion restaurant, January 9th, 1985, Los Alamos, New Mexico.

John Manley: —whether you want to start that yet or not? I’m not at all sure in what way I can help you.

Sherwin: Well, I would like to write a book. [Laughter]

Manley: I would like somebody else to write a book with information I could supply.

Margaret Broderick

Margaret ("Chickie") Broderick was a chemist at MIT during the Manhattan Project. She was born Margaret McHugh in Boston, Massachusetts in 1921. Growing up, she was interested in chemistry. In 1944, she heard from a friend that the laboratories at MIT were looking for workers, and successfully applied for a job. Her sister, Betty, also worked in Cambridge on underwater sound technology.

Ruth Kerr Jakoby's Interview

Ruth Kerr Jakoby: My name is Dr. Ruth Kerr Jakoby. J-A-K-O-B-Y. I was born September 2, 1929. I am eighty-five years old. On September 2, I will be eighty-six.

Alex Wellerstein: My birthday is September 5, so we can both be Virgos together. Where were you born?

Jakoby: Palo Alto, California.

Wellerstein: You said you have a doctorate? What is your field in?

Jakoby: Neurosurgery. 

Wellerstein: Oh, wow!

Ruth Kerr Jakoby

Ruth Kerr Jakoby is the daughter of mineralogist Paul Francis Kerr, who took part in the Manhattan Project and later advised the Atomic Energy Commission. In this interview, Kerr Jakoby recalls her memories of her father’s trips to Africa to find uranium for the Manhattan Project. She also recalls her interest in the Rosenberg trial.

David Fox's Interview

Reed Srere: Hi, I am Reed Srere – R-e-e-d S-r-e-r-e. I am recording this oral history for the Atomic Heritage Foundation on June 3 [2015] in Washington, DC. Please state your name.

David Fox: I am David Fox. I live in Providence, Rhode Island. My father was a physicist on the Manhattan Project in Manhattan. That is why I am here.

Srere: Please tell us your place and date of birth.

Fox: Mine?

Srere: Yes.

David Fox

David Fox’s father, Dr. Marvin Fox, studied physics at Columbia University under Isidor Rabi and Harold Urey. Marvin Fox worked at the Radiation Laboratory at MIT and at Columbia during the Manhattan Project. After the war, he served as Chairman of the Reactor Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he helped build the first reactor dedicated to peaceful uses of atomic energy. In this interview, David Fox describes his father’s work at Brookhaven, idealism about technology, and how the onset of the Cold War affected him.

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