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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Eric Burhop

PhysicistUniversity of California, Berkeley

BritainY-12 Plant
Manhattan Project VeteranProject Worker/StaffScientist
Eric Burhop

Eric Burhop (1911-1980) was an Australian physicist and mathematician.

Burhop’s career in physics began at the University of Melbourne. He originally chose to study civil engineering, but soon switched, graduating in 1931 with a degree in physics. He later received a research fellowship to complete his graduate research at Cambridge College in London.

When World War II began, Burhop was back in Australia. He spent the early years of the war at the Radiophysics Laboratory in Sydney. There he was part of a team that developed radar and photographic equipment.

In 1944, Burhop was transferred to the Manhattan Project, arriving at the University of California, Berkeley to join the British team that was developing an isotope separation process. He was one of just three Australian scientists to work on the project (Mark Oliphant and Harrie Massey were the other two,) and remained at Berkeley until the end of the war. He also made occasional trips to the Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, TN as a part of his work.

After the war, Burhop took a teaching position at University College London. Since his days at Cambridge, his politics had been somewhat radical. The Australian Secret Intelligence Organization (ASIO) surveilled his activities for the next several years, making him one of a large group of Manhattan Project veterans that were investigated by their governments.

Burhop was also one of the many Manhattan Project veterans who became troubled by the proliferation of increasingly powerful nuclear weapons. He became the Chairman of the Atomic Science Committee of the Association of Scientific Workers in an effort to speak out in favor of global disarmament after the war.

Eric Burhop's Timeline
1911 Jan 31st Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
1931 Received a B.Sc from the University of Melbourne
1938 Received a Ph.D. from Cambridge College.
19421944 Worked at the Sydney Radiophysics Laboratory.
1944 Jan Began working on the Manhattan Project at the University of California, Berkeley.
1980 Jan 22nd Died in Camden, London, United Kingdom.

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