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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Lorraine Golden (Heller) Crawford

Research Assistant; Chemistry DivisionChicago, IL

Manhattan Project VeteranProject Worker/StaffSpouse to Manhattan Project Worker

Lorraine Golden (Heller) Crawford was a research assistant in the Chemistry Division of the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory (“Met Lab”) during the Manhattan Project.

She graduated from the University of Chicago in 1942 with a B.S. in biochemistry. After graduation, she worked as an electronics instructor at the University of Chicago for one year before joining the Met Lab in 1943.

Crawford was a member of Albert Ghiorso’s group in Section C-I. She worked alongside Patricia Walsh, who had also previously been an electronics instructor at the University. At the Met Lab, Crawford was tasked with investigating issues and challenges with Geiger counter maintenance and plutonium-finding alpha counters, a proportional counter type. 

In October 1944, she married John A. Crawford, her second marriage. John worked in the Instruments and Physical Measurements Group as a junior physicist and research assistant.

According to Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project, she and Walsh were both involved in minor security violations and a radiation spill. They were among a number of staff members who were reprimanded by security officers for leaving out reports and not locking their files.

The spill of beta and gamma emitters occurred on January 25, 1945. While the spill affected a wide area, the reported radiation levels were deemed non-severe. Shortly following the incident, she left the Met Lab.


For more information about Lorraine Crawford, please see the following references:

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