Often overlooked, Canada played an important role in the Manhattan Project, especially during the early stages of research and development. Canada was also crucial for another reason: its Northwest Territories provided a rich source of raw uranium needed to produce the bomb’s critical mass.
University Involvement in the Manhattan Project
Often overlooked, British physicists were the first to realize the feasibility of an atomic bomb and their urgings were vital to the development and success of the Manhattan Project in the United States.
Several sites in Iowa played an important role during and after the Manhattan Project, including the Ames Laboratory at the Iowa State University where uranium production methods were developed, and the Burlington Atomic Energy Commission Plant, where atomic weapons were first assembled by the AEC.
Before the war, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was a leading university in the fields of particle and nuclear physics. It was especially known for its experimental physicists. Many scientists who had important roles on the Manhattan Project were affiliated with Caltech, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Tolman, and Robert Bacher. In addition, a group working at Caltech under Charles Lauritsen directly assisted in the bomb-building effort, providing help manufacturing detonators that would be used in the atomic bombs.
Nate Weisenberg: My name is Nathaniel Weisenberg. I am here in Needham, Massachusetts with [Margaret] “Chickie” Broderick, recording this oral history interview for the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Monday, April 25, 2016.
My first question for you is where and when were you born?
Margaret Broderick: I was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1921.
Weisenberg: Where in Boston were you born?
Broderick: The Forest Hills Hospital.
Dan Robinson: I’m Dan Robinson recording this oral history for the Atomic Heritage Foundation on April 1st, 2016, here in Levittown, Pennsylvania.
Roslyn: My name is Roslyn Robinson. At times I use the initial “D,” because at one time there was another Roslyn Robinson and the mail was being mixed up. So, I’m either Roslyn D. Robinson or Roslyn Robinson.
Dan: What is your place and date of birth? Where were you born and what date?
Martin Sherwin: On June 5th, 1982. Well, now, John, why don’t you start and ask questions about the relationship with Cliff, because I think the [J. Robert] Oppenheimer relationship might be able to go on forever, and we’ll never get to your questions.
John S. Rosenberg: Okay. Well, first, how did you come to meet? What was the nature of your original coming together?
Ed Wood: January 21, 1954 will go down as a significant day in human history. A milestone in man’s scientific progress. For on that day, at Groton, Connecticut, was launched the first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, powered by the world’s first atomic engine designed to do useful work. With this achievement, man at last has seen the dawn of the age of atomic power.
Stephane Groueff: Dr. Raymond Grills, DuPont, Wilmington.
Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with John DeWire at Cornell University in his office at Newman Hall 228, Newman. Today is May 5, 1982.
You were with Robert Wilson’s group from Princeton that was recruited by [J. Robert] Oppenheimer in ’43, right? Late ’43, was it?
John DeWire: Early ’43.
Sherwin: Early ’43.
DeWire: I went to Princeton in February ’42.
Sherwin: From where?