Rosen: Well, my name is Louis Rosen. I was born in New York City, not the best part of the city. I’m now almost eighty-five years old. My parents were immigrants from Poland. They were escaping from the pogroms, which were taking place with the Russian Cossacks coming in and raiding villages, especially where Jews where plentiful. My father came over here in about 1909. My mother—they were girl and boyfriends in the old country—came over two years later.
Life in the Secret Cities
Louis Rosen, a native New Yorker and the son of Polish immigrants, was personally selected to work on the Manhattan project in Los Alamos while a graduate student in physics. Once in Los Alamos, Rosen was assigned to Edwin McMillan’s group, where he worked on implosion technology. Rosen remained in Los Alamos after the war ended and was considered the father of the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility.
Helene Suydam: I find this story of how Norris Bradbury came to Los Alamos rather interesting. He was a graduate student at the University of California in the ‘30s and every student who was a graduate student of Professor [Leonard] Loeb had to join the Navy reserve. So when the war started all these scientists were activated into the Navy, and about four PhDs ended up at the naval proving ground in Virginia. And the commandant of the proving ground was a retired naval officer who had been passed over and had been called back because of the war.
Mary Kalbert: My name is Mary Kalbert and I am in Friday Harbor, Washington, interviewing Gordon Steele on June 16, 2014 for the Atomic Heritage Foundation Manhattan Voices Project. Gordon?
Gordon Steele: My name is Gordon, and you want me to spell my name?
Kalbert: Please spell your name for me.
Steele: Gordon. G-O-R-D-O-N. Steele. S-T-E-E-L-E.
[We would like to thank the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society for donating this interview. The above photograph was provided courtesy of the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society.]
Myfanwy Pritchard-Roberts: My name is Myfanwy Pritchard-Roberts.
Interviewer 1: Okay, okay.
Roberts: And, I’m from Caernarfon [Wales].
Interviewer 1: Just leave it—
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is January 27, 2015. I am in Santa Fe with Richard Yalman, and the first question I have for you is to say your name and spell it.
Richard Yalman: My name is Richard George Yalman, that’s Y-A-L-M-A-N.
Kelly: Perfect. Very good. Richard has a very interesting story to tell about his days in the Manhattan Project, but to put it in context, we want him to start with his birthday, where he was born and something about his childhood.
Mench: I am John Mench and sixty years ago I was a young man with a wife and a baby girl, a good job in industrial deferment, a brand new home and a mortgage. Inside of a week or two, I had in my hand a ticket to a camp, an Army camp, an industrial deferment that was cancelled. I still had a wife and a baby daughter but they were now living with my wife’s sister, and my home was rented. The only thing that hadn’t changed was the mortgage.
Seth Wheatley: My name is Seth Wheatley, and it’s S-E-T-H W-H-E-A-T-L-E-Y.
Kelly: Okay. Now, can we start with your telling us where you’re from and how you happened to get involved in the Manhattan Project?
Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation from Washington, D.C. and it is Tuesday, January 14, 2014 and I am here with Adrienne Lowry, who was married to Joseph Kennedy, a radio chemist with the Manhattan Project. Adrienne, let us start with you. Can you tell us your name, say your name and spell it, please?
Adrienne Lowry: Oh, my name is Adrienne Kennedy Lowry. Adrienne is spelled A-d-r-i-e-n-n-e, and Lowry is spelled L-o-w-r-y.
Cindy Kelly: Today is Tuesday August 13, 2013, I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. With me is Denise Kiernan and Valeria Steele and her [grand]mother, Kattie Strickland, and we are so delighted to have you here today. Our first question for you is to say your name and spell it.
Kattie Strickland: My name is Kattie Strickland.
Kelly: And how do you spell that?
Strickland: K-A-T-T-I-E S-T-R-I-C-K-L-A-N-D.