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.
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.
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 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.
Anthony French: This Anthony French. I was born and raised in Brighton, England, south of London. I went to Cambridge as a student in Upping, which is more or less northeast of London in 1939, just a couple of weeks after the war was declared.
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.
Stephane Groueff: Now, we could start with a letter of [Enrico] Fermi and a letter of [John] Dunning, because the way Dunning explained the thing that he had the idea that uranium-235 was—
Alfred Nier: The one that was responsible, yes.
[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—
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?