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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Samuel Beall Jr. is a nuclear engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project at Chicago, IL, Oak Ridge, TN, and Hanford, WA.

Beall was born in 1919 in Plains, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby town of Richland. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1942 with a degree in electrical engineering and was hired by the DuPont Company.

In 1943, Beall joined the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory. He worked on a program to measure the ventilation system for the nuclear reactors under development. That fall, he was transferred to Oak Ridge, where he worked at the X-10 Graphite Reactor. In 1944, he moved to Hanford, where he worked on the bismuth phosphate process for plutonium separation.

After the end of World War II, Beall returned to Oak Ridge. He worked on a number of nuclear reactors at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including the Low Intensity Test Reactor (LITR), the Homogenous Reactor Experiment (HRE), and molten salt reactors. Beall served as the head of the Reactor Division from 1963-1971, and then ran the Energy Division from 1972-1974. He also traveled internationally for the U.S. Agency for International Development, advising civilian atomic energy programs in India, Pakistan, South Korea, Iceland, and the Netherlands.

Beall has also been involved in the food preparation and restaurant business, and served on the board of the Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant chain, which his son founded. For more on Beall, read this “Historically Speaking” column from the Oak Ridger or this profile in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Samuel Beall Jr.'s Timeline
1919 May Born in Plains, Georgia.
1942 Received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee.
1943 Joined the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory.
1943 Sep Transferred to Oak Ridge to work at the X-10 Graphite Reactor.
1944 Moved to Hanford, WA to work on plutonium separation.
19631971 Served as director of the Reactor Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
19721974 Directed the Energy Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Sam Beall in front of the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge. Photo courtesy of Sam Beall.

Beall (far left) at Oak Ridge with Senator John F. Kennedy, ORNL director Alvin Weinberg, and Senator Albert Gore, 1959. Photo courtesy of Sam Beall.

Beall (far right) having a meal with Alvin Weinberg, Hans Bethe, Eugene Wigner, and other scientists. Photo courtesy of Sam Beall.

Beall with the homogenous reactor in 1953. Photo courtesy of Sam Beall.

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