Richard Christian was born July 17, 1921. Wilson attended and graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) during World War II. He expected to be drafted at any moment and was instructed to report to New York City if he wanted to obtain a technical assignment when called by the Army. After training at Columbia University, he worked on the Manhattan Project subcontractors in Pennsylvania before being assigned to Oak, Ridge. There he was assigned to the test-construction liaison group of the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant for producing enriched Uranium-235. He worked there from 1944 to 1946.
With the purpose of the Project becoming clear, Wilson began attending lectures on the future of atomic weapon, and became convinced of the need for a world law to control their use. his concern about international conflict and nuclear war led him to join the World Federalist Movement and pass on a chance to participate in the postwar bomb tests on Bikini Atoll. Instead he returned to grad school for a degree in mechanical engineering and later joined the U-M engineering department. He continued attending the World Federalist meetings as well as meetings for a group called Moral Re-Armament.