The Manhattan Project

Scientific Discoveries

Jacob Beser's Lecture

Jacob Beser:  The story which we could tell. And one point that Dr. Wittman, though, which I wish you would please keep in mind—and this is true not only in this situation, but any historical event  should be evaluated in the context in which it took place, the context and the times in which it took place. Hopefully we proceed from there and progress. Forty years later, we all had 20/20 hindsight and we also have had access to archives and information that we did not have forty years ago.

Raemer Shreiber's Interview (1965)

Raemer Schreiber: I think the only point that is of any interest in this regard to pick up is perhaps the fact that the group of us who came here to work on the so-called water boil reactor had been working together at Purdue University on the very first measurements of the so-called deuterium tritium cross sections, which has to do with the fusion reaction. This eventually was used in bombs, but not for many years, and it is, of course, the basis for present attempts to create energy by controlled thermonuclear reactions or fusion reactions.

John W. Healy's Interview

John Healy: Hello.

S. L. Sanger: Hello this is Mr. Sanger from Seattle, is this a good time to talk about Hanford, or no.

Healy: Another one you may want to talk to is Carl Garmertsfelder in Knoxville.

Sanger: In Knoxville, now what was his position? Oregonian said he was a radiation control manager.

Healy: It has been so long. I do not really remember. I worked for Carl for a while, and he reported to Herb Parker.

Richard Baker's Interview

Richard Baker: The first plutonium that, other than the cyclotron that produced plutonium, was made at what was called the Clinton Piles at old X10 down in Oak Ridge. The Chicago Met Lab worked on the micro scale reduction of the metal. This produced rather small quantities but never enough quantities to study its properties in any accurate manner.

Joseph Katz's Interview

Joseph Katz: Now it was recognized that plutonium would have a chemistry that would be quite similar to that of uranium. And developing procedures for the separation of plutonium from irradiated uranium. The assumption that was most commonly made was that the chemistry of plutonium would be similar, if not identical to that of uranium and this, of course was an entirely reasonable assumption to make.

Lew Kowarski's Interview - Part 2

Stephane Groueff: One thing I don’t understand, and it’s a very ignorant question, but what was actually the difference between [Enrico] Fermi’s experiment in ’34 and [Otto] Hahn’s? Because, why do we say that Hahn was the first one, while Fermi also bombarded uranium?

Lew Kowarski: I don’t it’s true to say that Hahn was the first one.

Groueff: It’s not true.

Kowarski: I think it’s one of those simplifications—there are people who find them all right. I don’t.

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