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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Bernard Waldman (1913-1986) was an American physicist who became the Associate Director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (NSCL).

Waldman worked on the Manhattan Project in multiple capacities. Arriving at Los Alamos in 1943 after a five year stretch on the physics faculty at the University of Notre Dame, he became an instrumental part of the development of the atomic bomb. He served at the Los Alamos main project site and witnessed the 1945 Trinity test from a B-29 before being appointed to Project Alberta.

In August 1945 he flew on the observational aircraft Necessary Evil during the Hiroshima bombing mission as a camera operator and chief observer. However, his film of the explosion could not be developed properly because of high humidity on Tinian.

After the war, Waldman became an advocate of civilian control of atomic weapons. He declared in 1946 that “We are actively in an armaments race right now and will be as long as the military has control [of atomic weapons.]” He would remain active in the physics community, teaching at Notre Dame for several years before leading the NSCL at the end of his career.

Bernard Waldman's Timeline
1913 Oct 12th Born in New York City, NY.
19381943 Taught physics at the University of Notre Dame.
1943 Mar Joined the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.
1945 Jul 16th Witnessed the Trinity Test at Alamogordo, NM.
1945 Aug 6th Served as a camera operator on the Hiroshima bombing mission.
19791983 Served as Associate Director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University.
1986 Nov 1st Died in Sanford, NC.

Goodman, Alvarez, Waldman, and Agnew on Tinian

Bernard Waldman with the core of the Fat Man plutonium bomb. Photo courtesy the Walter Goodman Collection, AHF.

Walter Goodman, Harold Agnew, Lawrence Johnston, and Bernard Waldman. Photo courtesy the Walter Goodman Collection, AHF.

Bernard Waldman. Photo courtesy the Walter Goodman Collection, AHF.

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