The Manhattan Project

Military-Civilian Relations

Robert Serber's Interview (1994)

Robert Serber: Ernest [Lawrence] got overexcited about the Russian bomb. I imagine that [Edward] Teller called him and got him worked up. I warned him about Edward’s Super, that it wasn't a practical idea at the moment. I told him if he wanted to really find out he should talk to [Hans] Bethe, but he never did. He was all gung ho for the Super and he immediately went with more or less the action before he thought of what he could do, and the thing to do was to build these reactors to make tritium.

Rex Edward Keller's Interview

Alexandra Levy: All right. We are here on April 23, 2015 with Mr. Rex Edward Keller. So first, can you please say your name and spell it.

Rex Keller: Oh, Rex Edward Keller, R-E-X E-D-W-A-R-D, Keller, K-E-L-L-E-R.

Levy: Can you tell me where and when you were born?

Keller: I was born in Saxton, Missouri, October 10, 1923.

Levy: And you grew up in Missouri?

Keller: Yes, yes, in Dexter, Missouri.

Ralph Gates's Interview

Wendy Steinle: Good morning, Ralph. I’m Wendy Steinle, as you know, and I am really pleased to be your friend and to have the opportunity to interview you this morning. Just for the record, will you start by stating and spelling your name, and then tell us the date?

Ralph Gates:  Well, thanks, Wendy. My name is Ralph Gates, but I am—it’s Ralph Pillsbury Gates and I am a junior. It’s R-a-l-p-h, Pillsbury is P-i-l-l-s-b-u-r-y, and Gates is G-a-t-e-s.

Steinle: What is today’s date?

Ralph Gates

Ralph Gates is a chemical and electrical engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project as a part of the Special Engineer Detachment. His primary job was casting shape charges for the plutonium bombs.

Albert Bartlett's Interview

Albert Bartlett: I started school in a little college in Ohio and then I dropped out for a while. Then I applied to transfer to Colgate. I was working on steamboats on the Great Lakes, and I was accepted. A steamboat was coming in to Cleveland, and I just told them I was leaving and going back to college. Of course, the war was on. I was on the first ship the day of Pearl Harbor and so I knew, you know, I was a perfect draft age and I was all registered for the draft.

Albert Bartlett

Albert Bartlett worked with mass spectrometers at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. He was part of the group that photographed the Operations Crossroads nuclear tests in the Bikini Atoll after the war.

Hans Courant's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation and this is Friday, April 10, 2015. We’re at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I have Hans Courant with me, and the first question for him is please tell us your name and spell it.

Hans Courant: My name is Hans Courant, and it’s spelled C-o-u-r-a-n-t. It’s French for running, Courant, c’est moi.

Kelly: Right. So, are you a runner?

John Mench's Interview

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.

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