Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Richard Watts

Research AssistantChicago, IL

Los Alamos, NM
Manhattan Project VeteranProject Worker/Staff

Richard Watts was a research assistant at the Chicago Met Lab and at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. He was present on December 2, 1942, when Chicago Pile-1 went critical. He recorded statistics of the experiment in his notebook, and when the pile went critical reportedly wrote, “We’re cookin’!” 

At Los Alamos, Watts led a team in the Electronics Group of the Physics Division. They developed a number of alpha-particle detectors–culminating in the portable “Pee Wee”–named for its mere nineteen pounds, to detect radioactivity in the work environment.

Related Profiles

Joseph Ianotta, jr.

Los Alamos, NM

Elzie Chapman

Tinian Island

Elzie Chapman served in the 1395th Military Police Company, Aviation.

Lloyd N. Williams

Y-12 Plant

Lloyd Williams worked for the Tennessee Eastman Corporation at the Y-12 Plant.

George Watt

Hanford, WA

George Watt was an American chemist. Watt was a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin.