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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Bohr’s Safety

General Groves ordered security agents to monitor Niels Bohr and his family after Bohr arrived in Los Alamos to begin work on the atomic bomb in 1943. The below excerpt is one such security report on the Bohrs and conveys how difficult surveillance on the scientist, whose code name was Nicholas Baker, could be at times. 

Document Type:

201 Baker, Nicholas,

5 February 1944.



Dr. R. C. Tolman,

Office of Scientific Research & Development,

Washington, D. C.

Subject: Nicholas Baker.

1. At the conclusion of a recent report of the technical surveillance of the Bakers, the reporting agent made the following comment:

“Both the father and son appear to be extremely absent-minded individuals, engrossed in themselves, and go about paying little attention to any external influences. As they did a great deal of walking, this Agent had occasion to spend considerable time behind them and observe that it was rare when either of them paid much attention to stop lights or signs, but proceeded on their way much the same as if they were walking in the woods. On one occasion, subjects proceeded across a busy intersection against the red light in a diagonal fashion, taking the longest route possible and one of greatest danger. The resourceful work of Agent Maiers in blocking out one half of the stream of automobile traffic with his car prevented their possibly incurring serious injury in this instance.”

2. I understand that the Bakers will be in Washington in the near future, at which time you will unquestionably see them. If the opportunity should present itself, I would appreciate a tactful suggestion from you to them that they should be more careful in traffic.



Lieut. Colonel, Field Artillery.

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