Leroy Hartmann (1922 – 1944) was an electrical engineer in the Special Engineer Detachment Manhattan District CE in Oak Ridge. He died from accidental electrocution in 1944.
Hartmann, who graduated with honors from Cass Technical High School in Detroit in 1940, studied electrical engineering at Michigan Technical University (then called Michigan College of Mining and Technology) in Houghton, Michigan. In the “secret city” at Oak Ridge, he was one of over two dozen MTU alumni recruited by the Army to work on an electormagnetic calutron which separated the rare isotope to make uranium-235. Such fuel went into bombs like the one used over Hiroshima.
On Nov 6, 1944, Hartmann was working on the calutron, holding two leads that had been exposed by removing a low-voltage panel. Unexpectedly, the leads created an arc, startling Hartmann who bumped against the energized crucible with his knee. This resulted in his electrocution.
Hartmann loved to ski and read and was a dedicated student. As information about his passing was classified by the Army, his family only discovered his important service in the 21st Century. His work helped America to end the war, and his sacrifice is remembered.
Information provided by his great-niece Nanci Love based on her research in May of 2021