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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

William J. Nicholson was born on March 2, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. Growing up, he was interested in engineering, aviation, and aeronautics. 

After graduating from high school, he heard that the University of Chicago was hiring, so he decided to apply. He worked as a laboratory helper at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory (“Met Lab”) during the Manhattan Project. In 1943, he left the Met Lab, and turned down job offerings for Sites X,Y, and Z (later revealed to be Hanford, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge). Instead, he aspired to join the Navy Air Force, and he passed the examination to join. 

He ultimately served in the European Theater with the Army Air Force, before being discharged in late 1945. He was also deployed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Pyote, Texas, during his service.

After the war, he went back to school at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Nicholson then began a long and successful career in the oil industry. This included serving as a Director of Operations for Amoco Chemicals for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

William J. Nicholson's Timeline
1924 Mar 2nd Born.
1942 Graduated from St. Rita's School.
19421943 Worked at the Met Lab.
19431945 Served in the Army.
19461950 Studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology, graduating in 1950.
1950 Began a career with the Sinclair Research Laboratories.
1966 Began to work for Amoco Chemicals.

A certificate received by Bill Nicholson from the Office of Scientific Research and Development, signed by Vannevar Bush, 1945.

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