Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

William Jacob Knox

ChemistColumbia University

African-AmericanManhattan Project VeteranScientist
A cyclotron at Columbia University

William Jacob Knox was an American chemist.

Knox was born in 1904 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard University as an undergraduate, and went on to receive an M.S. and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1943, Knox went to work on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University. He worked on the separation of uranium isotopes by using corrosive uranium hexafluoride gas. He would eventually be named a section leader in the Corrosion Section. Knox was of only a few African-American scientists to work on the project, and was the only supervisor. His younger brother, Lawrence Knox, also worked on the Manhattan Project.

After the war, Knox worked for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY. During this time, he was active in the Rochester civil rights movement. He was an active member of the NAACP, was a founding member of the Rochester Urban League, and helped established scholarships for minority students. He also taught briefly at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University before retiring in 1973.

Knox died on July 9, 1995, in Newton, MA.

William Jacob Knox's Timeline
1904 Jan 5th Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
1935 Received a Ph.D. from MIT.
19431945 Worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University.
1995 Jul 9th Died in Newton, MA.

Related Profiles

Gilbert P. Mathis

Los Alamos, NM

Gilbert Mathis was an electrical engineer at Los Alamos from 1943 to 1946. He was recruited for the Manhattan Project as a member of the US Army Signal Corps.

William A. Dodd Jr.

Oak Ridge, TN

Dodd worked in the United States Engineer District Office.

H. C. McBirney

Oak Ridge, TN

Edward Tarnacki

Los Alamos, NM