[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for mispellings and other errors.]
Stephane Groueff: I want to start from the beginning. My book, I intend to start with the year 1942 because otherwise, there is no limit. A few months before the Manhattan District and decision to go—
J. Robert Oppenheimer: The decision was actually made on December 6, to take the thing seriously.
Groueff: After Pearl Harbor?
Oppenheimer: Before Pearl Harbor.
Rhodes: I am working on a book that would try to cover the years ’45 to ’55. I just finished the first 400 pages; it is all the Soviet bomb story, because so much has come available, including the espionage part of it. But, now I would like to get going and just simply try to deal with the development of the hydrogen bomb. And, most of all, I would like to describe the Mike shot, when you guys all came to put that together. But you also worked later, right, on Romeo? What was Romeo?
Stephane Groueff: This is Jimmy Vale, the cyclotron of Berkeley, about Dr. Lawrence.
Jimmy Vale: I told these stories to Mr. Herbert Childs, who is writing a biography of Lawrence.
Groueff: Oh, yeah. I have heard about it, but my book will just have a paragraph on Lawrence.
Stephane Groueff: Recording of interview with Dr. Lauchlin Currie, C-U-R-R-I-E; New York, May 13, 1965.
Dr. Lauchlin Currie: When the war broke out I was superintendent of the Bakelite Plan at Bound Brook, New Jersey. As a reserve officer then, I got reassigned to work on the proximity fuse program.
Groueff: You were in uniform?
Currie: Oh no.
Groueff: You were just Major of the—
Cindy Kelly: We are with Richard Rhodes at Atomic Heritage Foundation’s studio in Washington, D.C. Can you start by telling us your name?
Richard Rhodes: I’m Richard Rhodes.
Kelly: Can you spell that, please?
Rhodes: Yes, R-H-O-D-E-S.
Kelly: And Richard spelled the usual way?
Cindy Kelly: This is Wednesday, February 13, 2013. I’m Cindy Kelly, and we have with us Alex Wellerstein. Alex, could you say your name and spell it, please?
Alex Wellerstein: Alex Wellerstein, W-E-L-L-E-R-S-T-E-I-N, and it’s just Alex, nothing fancy.
Kelly: Great. Thank you, Alex. Alex, give us a little background as to your education and how you come to know about the Manhattan Project and related subjects.
Richard Rhodes: There are two particular themes that I am interested in that I know you were involved with very much. Anything else that you remember that you would want to talk about would be wonderful. One is the developing of computing. Los Alamos made a major contribution to the development of computing in the world. The other has to do with the period around the invention of the two-stage thermonuclear weapon. Could you talk about your experience with those things?
Stephane Groueff: Dr. Anderson?
Herbert Anderson: Yes.
Groueff: Now we can talk?
Anderson: I guess so.
Stephane Groueff: Where did you come from? Probably we’ll start chronologically and then—
Dr. Samuel K. Allison: I was born here in Chicago, just half a kilometer from where we’re sitting at this moment. I went to school at the public schools in the city of Chicago and entered the University of Chicago in 1917. I got my PhD in 1923, went away for six years, but have been here ever since. So, I’ve been here ever since 1929, 1930.
Groueff: Teaching or research?