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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Ralph Gates (1925-2018) was a chemical and electrical engineer who was recruited to the Manhattan Project as a part of the Special Engineer Detachment in early 1945. He had completed three years of engineering school before the army called him for basic training. Due to his engineering ability he was instructed to study electrical engineering in New York, before he was transferred to Los Alamos after V-E Day.

At Los Alamos, Gates’ primary job was casting shape charges for the plutonium bombs. Although he was happy, Gates remembered his time at Los Alamos with mixed feelings and even wrote a poem describing his sentiments about missing out on the war.

Ralph Gates's Timeline
1925 Jan Born in Nashville Tennessee.
1944 Drafted by the Army.
1945 Jan Sent to New York to study electrical engineering at NYU.
1945 May Went to Los Alamos to work on casting shape charges for the implosion-type bomb.
2018 May 7th Passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bill Stumb, Ralph Gates and Bruce Crabtree at Vanderbilt

Lt. Anderson, Dolly Fisher, Lucille Hamer and Ralph Gates (Christmas 1945)

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