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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Seth Neddermeyer

PhysicistLos Alamos, NM

Manhattan Project VeteranScientist
Seth Neddermeyer

Seth Neddermeyer (1907-1988) was an American physicist.

Neddermeyer was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project by J. Robert Oppenheimer from the National Bureau of Standards. He proposed using an implosion method for the bomb that would use powerful explosives to compress a core of radioactive plutonium to a critical mass. Although Oppenheimer doubted the feasibility of the implosion method, he appointed Neddermeyer to the new post of group leader in the Ordnance Division for implosion experimentation.

However, Neddermeyer struggled with the idea’s implementation, and in January 1944 James B. Conant recruited George Kistiakowsky to help with the program. In June of that year, Oppenheimer asked Kistiakowsky to assume all work on implosion as an associate division leader and demoted Neddermeyer to senior technical adviser. The implosion design would be used in the Trinity Test and Fat Man bomb.


Seth Neddermeyer's Timeline
1907 Sep 16th Born in Richmond, Michigan.
1929 Received B.A. in Physics from Stanford University.
1935 Received Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology.
1943 Apr Became leader of the Implosion Experimentation group at Los Alamos.
1944 Demoted to senior technical adviser.
1982 Received the Enrico Fermi Award from the United States Department of Energy.
1988 Jan 29th Died in Seattle, WA.

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