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News Archive

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Joseph Rotblat
December 17, 2018

I always believed that science should be used in service of mankind. The notion of utilizing my knowledge to produce an awesome weapon of destruction was abhorrent to me. –Joseph Rotblat, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1985Joseph Rotblat was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1908 to a middle-class Jewish family. In the aftermath of World […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Jack Schubert
April 18, 2018

Jack Schubert was an American chemist and Manhattan Project scientist. Schubert was born on September 14, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1940, and in 1944, earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry. In 1941, George E. Boyd invited Schubert to conduct secret nuclear research at the University of Chicago. Shortly […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: The Hawkins Family
April 3, 2018

David Hawkins first met J. Robert Oppenheimer when he was a graduate student at Berkeley in the late 1930s. Hawkins and Oppenheimer became good friends during their time at Berkeley and had great respect for each other. Hawkins recalled that Oppenheimer had a high opinion of David’s intelligence. “That was what he always said, ‘He’s […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: French Scientists
March 30, 2018

​French scientists have played a seminal role in nuclear research since the late nineteenth century. Marie Curie and her husband Pierre were pioneers in researching radioactivity. Their daughter, Irène, and her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie discovered artificial radioactivity, and Frédéric led a team that studied nuclear physics and chemistry in the late 1930s. During the German occupation […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Women Workers
February 9, 2018

During World War II, American women worked in a variety of jobs to contribute to the war effort. For the first time in American history, millions of women entered the workforce, motivated by a desire to help the Allies win World War II. In 1942, artist J. Howard Miller created the now iconic poster of […]

Spotlight: Why Join the Manhattan Project?
May 19, 2017

By some estimates, over 600,000 people worked on the Manhattan Project. Workers joined the project for very different reasons. The vast majority of the Manhattan Project workers were not aware of what it was trying to accomplish. It was only project officials and top scientists who were aware of the Manhattan Project’s true nature. Bill […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Leona Marshall Libby
April 4, 2017

“When do we become scared?” asked Leona Marshall Libby as Chicago Pile-1 went critical on December 2, 1942. Libby, arguably the most influential female scientist to work on the Manhattan Project, was then only 24 years old. As her son would later remember, “She said there were people who tried to discourage her and she […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Philip Abelson
February 3, 2017

“It made a difference. Not an enormous difference, but it made a difference,” Philip Abelson remembered. Abelson was describing the S-50 Plant, which used the thermal diffusion method he pioneered to separate uranium isotopes. S-50 was one of the Manhattan Project production sites at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Together with the K-25 and Y-12 uranium enrichment […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Deak Parsons
September 30, 2016

“We’ve really caught a spy! A guy down here is trying to get in, and his uniform is as phony as a three dollar bill. He’s wearing the eagles of a colonel and claims that he is a captain.” These were the words of the MP on guard when Captain William “Deak” Parsons arrived at […]

Manhattan Project Spotlight: Hanford 25th Anniversary Video
May 6, 2016

The Atomic Heritage Foundation recently received a donation of a historic video of the 25th anniversary celebration of the construction of the B Reactor at Hanford, WA. The video provides a fascinating retrospective of the Manhattan Project, and shows how the project’s leaders grappled with its legacy. In 1943, construction began on the B Reactor […]