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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Keith Adamson

ColonelWashington, DC

Military Veteran
The New War Building, where General Leslie Groves had his office

By Avani Sihra

Keith Adamson was a colonel in the United States Army. He was an ordnance expert and a key military representative at the National Bureau of Standards.

After calls from Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard for the government to put more money into nuclear research, President Roosevelt created the Advisory Committee on Uranium. Adamson served as a committee member.

After hearing Szilard’s findings, Adamson was skeptical about devoting attention to atomic weapons research. He “scoffed” at Szilard because he believed it was “‘morale’, not research that led to victory” (Lanouette 217). However, after hearing more about the scientists’ work, Adamson began to believe in it and declared, “You’ll get your money!” (DeGroot 24).

For more information on Adamson, see William Lanouette, Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb (Skyhorse, 2013), and The Bomb: A Life by Gerard DeGroot (Harvard University Press, 2005).

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