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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Mary Lucy Miller

Physical and Polymer Chemist; WACLos Alamos, NM

Manhattan Project VeteranMilitary VeteranProject Worker/StaffWoman Scientist
Mary Lucy Miller

Mary Lucy Miller was a physical and polymer chemist at the Manhattan Project’s Los Alamos, NM facility during World War II. She was a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). 

Miller joined the Army in 1943 and was stationed in Los Alamos. Based on her credentials and talent, Los Alamos administrators placed her in charge of one of the chemistry laboratories.

While she was offered a higher military rank to match her leadership position, Miller refused promotion from her private rank as a matter of principle. Miller was a member of the Women’s Army Corps until 1945. 

In May 1945, she was one of the sixty-seven WACs at Los Alamos and helped make up the forty percent of whom worked in the facility’s scientific areas. According to Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project, this was a “higher percentage than the figure for all Los Alamos staff” (p. 149).

 

Early Years

Miller earned her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in 1927. She pursued graduate degrees at Columbia University and earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in 1929 and 1934, respectively.

In between her master’s and Ph.D. studies at Columbia, she also taught at St. Mary’s Junior College in North Carolina from 1931 to 1932. After graduating from Columbia, she became a chemist at Rockefeller University. 

When World War II began, Miller was working as a research associate at Washington University in St. Louis’s School of Medicine.

 

Later Years

Following World War II, Miller became a research fellow at the American Cyanamid Company in Stamford, Connecticut. She worked at the company as a chemist until she retired in 1969.

 

For more information about Mary Lucy Miller and women in the Manhattan Project, please see the following reference:

Mary Lucy Miller's Timeline
1927 Earned her bachelor's degree from Syracuse University.
1929 Received her master's degree from Columbia University.
19311932 Taught at St. Mary's Junior College in North Carolina.
1934 Earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
19341938 Worked as a chemist at Rockefeller University.
1943 Enlisted in the Army.
19431945 Worked at Los Alamos as a member of the WACs.
19461969 Worked at American Cyanamid Company.

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