The Manhattan Project

Working Conditions

Jay Wechsler's Interview

Jay Wechsler: Well, my mother was visiting her folks in New York when she decided that it was time, and I was the first child, and I guess she was a little surprised. So I was born in New York even though we didn’t live there. And as soon as we were able we were back in New Jersey, where she and my father lived. My father was a chemist and even at a young age he was always taking me into the plant where he worked, showing me things. And I kind of had a mechanical bend or bent.

George Cowan's Interview (2006)

George Cowan: It's weighted so heavily in favor—not in favor of—but the emphasis on number one Los Alamos, and then Oak Ridge, and then Hanford, as the three secret cities or something. But the fact is the Met Lab at Chicago was enormously important. The Stagg Field reactor was historic in ’42, and its sort of dismissed. 

Paul Vinther's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Paul Vinther: I'm Paul Vinther. P-A-U-L V-I-N-T-H-E-R.

I have a first name, Alvin, but never went by it so everybody knows me as Paul. And I first came to Hanford on June the 26th, 1950. I remember that vividly because that was the day after the Korean War started. And I'd been in the Navy, went back to college, and came down here for a job, and at that time GE was running the plant and we were known as “tech grads.” 

George Mahfouz's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Why don’t you start, George, by telling us your name and spelling it.

George Mahfouz: I’m George Mahfouz, last name is spelled M-A-H-F-, as in Frank, -O-U-Z, as in zebra.

Kelly: Is that Egyptian? 

Mahfouz: It’s Middle Eastern. The name is Syrian. 

Kelly: Anyways, sorry, next question—tell us about your background, you know, where you went to college...

Hanford, WA

Hanford, Washington, on the beautiful Columbia River, was the site selected for the full-scale plutonium production plant, the B Reactor. Today a popular tourist desination, the Hanford Site proved crucial to the success of the Manhattan Project. 

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