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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History


This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.

Health Physics & Nuclear Medicine After the Manhattan Project

Today, millions of nuclear medicine procedures are performed in the United States every year, where the legacy of the Manhattan Project lives on in the treatment and visualization of disease.

Health Physics & Nuclear Medicine Before the Manhattan Project

Shortly after its discovery, radiation became an invaluable part of medicine. However, people soon realized that radiation could also be extremely dangerous.

Health Physics & Nuclear Medicine During the Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project produced a large number of radioactive substances, and as a result scientists intensified research into the overlap of nuclear science and medicine.

Human Radiation Experiments

Between April 1945 and July 1947, eighteen subjects were injected with plutonium, six with uranium, five with polonium, and at least one with americium in order to better understand the effects of radioactive materials on the human body.

Nevada Test Site Downwinders

The Nevada Test Site Downwinders are individuals living in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah who were exposed to radiation from atmospheric nuclear tests.

The Radium Girls

The tragic story of the “radium girls” had an important impact on the Manhattan Project.

Tularosa Basin Downwinders

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders are individuals from central and southern New Mexico who state that they have experienced undue hardships in the years since the Trinity test because of the test’s radioactive fallout. The negative impacts include increased rates of cancer, other diseases that have caused financial and social stress, and death.

Uranium Mining

Published: July 30, 2018 Updated: December 5, 2018 Uranium was discovered in 1789 by German scientist Martin Heinrich Klaproth in the mineral pitchblende. It was isolated shortly after, but its radioactive properties were not discovered until 1896 by Henri Becquerel. The discovery of uranium fission in 1938 led several countries to begin research into the possibility […]