Jean Dow Bacher was born in 1907, and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She married fellow Ann Arbor native and leading Manhattan Project scientist Robert Bacher in 1930.
Jean and their two children, Andrew and Martha, accompanied Robert to Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, where he led the Bomb Physics Division. She worked as a “computer,” a person tasked with doing computations. The Bachers were close to Kitty and Robert Oppenheimer. Jean fondly remembered the recreational and social activities at Los Alamos, but also recalled scientists’ concerns over the dangers of the weapon they had helped develop.
Jean later earned an MFA degree in Art from Claremont Graduate University, and became active in promoting nuclear arms control. She died on May 28, 1994.
For more on Jean Bacher’s experiences during the Manhattan Project, see Standing By and Making Do: Women of Wartime Los Alamos by Charlotte Serber and Jane Wilson.