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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Olga (Giacchetti) Fineman

Technical Assistant; Chemistry DivisionChicago, IL

Manhattan Project VeteranProject Worker/StaffSpouse to Manhattan Project Worker

Olga (Giacchetti) Fineman was a technical assistant in the Chemistry Division of the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory during the Manhattan Project. 

Olga Giacchetti was born on January 19, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Bowen High School. After high school, she enrolled at the University of Chicago.

In January 1945, Fineman was transferred to the Met Lab from her job at the microphotographic laboratory at the University of Chicago. She was assigned to work in the Recovery and Solvent-Extraction Groups in the Chemistry Division. 

Working part-time at the Met Lab, Fineman was able to earn more money and gained the opportunity to finish her undergraduate degree. As a lab technician, she counted the prepared samples for alpha emissions, made up necessary solutions, and provide clean glassware and lab supplies to scientists in the lab. 

During a symposium at Argonne National Laboratory in 1996, Fineman also described the various safety precautions and warning signs in the lab: ‘I was instructed to heed the warning signs that were posted around the building: “Danger: Maximum working time 1 hour,” or “No admission without changing shoes when going into the filter-air section,” Gloves not allowed in the counting room,” and “Have you had your hands counted today?”

In July 1945, she became a full-time member of the Solvent-Extraction Group and performed chemical analysis of samples from test columns. Fineman received her B.S. in physiology from the University of Chicago in August 1946.

On August 31, 1946, she married Phillip Fineman, a former member of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). After World War II, the Finemans remained in Chicago. In 1968, they moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho. They had three sons, Keith, Bruce and Clifford.

At the age of ninety-two, Olga (Giacchetti) Fineman passed away on April 20, 2015 in Idaho Falls.


For more information about Olga (Giacchetti) Fineman, please see the following references:

Olga (Giacchetti) Fineman's Timeline
1923 Jan 19th Born in Chicago, Illinois.
1945 Jan Began working part-time at the Met Lab.
1945 Jul Began working full-time at the Met Lab.
1946 Aug Earned her B.S. in physiology from the University of Chicago.
1946 Aug 31st Married Phillip Fineman.
1968 Moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho.
1996 Spoke at a symposium at Argonne National Laboratory.
2015 Apr 20th At the age of ninety-two, died in Idaho Falls.

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