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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Bob Carter’s Interview (2018)

Robert Carter spent a year and a half as a graduate student at Purdue University before being recruited to work for the Manhattan Project. At Los Alamos, Carter’s team, which included his close friend Joan Hinton, worked on the research reactor. Eventually, Carter and Hinton came to work closely with Enrico Fermi, who became a mentor and friend to the two of them. Carter fondly recounts his dinners and hikes with Hinton and Fermi, both at Los Alamos and after. After the war, Carter enrolled in graduate courses at University of Illinois before returning to Los Alamos for fifteen years. For the rest of his career, Carter worked for various government agencies before retiring. Carter also discusses his friend Harry Daghlian and advising prominent physicist George Gamow on a project.

Ruth Howes’s Interview

Ruth Howes is professor emerita of physics and astronomy at Ball State University with an interest in the history of women physicists. She has researched and written on the role of female scientists in the Manhattan Project. Howes is the co-author of “Their Day in the Sun: Women of the Manhattan Project,” which tells the “hidden story of the contribution of women in the effort to develop the atomic bomb.”

Bob Carter’s Interview (2015)

Bob Carter is an American physicist who joined the Manhattan Project first at Purdue and then at Los Alamos. He worked in a group that was assigned to create an operating nuclear reactor that ran on enriched uranium. In this interview, Carter discusses how he came to be interested in physics and wrapped up in the Manhattan Project and nuclear physics instead of being drafted. He also talks about his experience at Los Alamos working on the enriched uranium reactor and how he taught several big name scientists, including Enrico Fermi, how to operate it. Carter also discusses meeting Oppenheimer and seeing the Trinity test unauthorized, as well as his interactions with spies Klaus Fuchs and Ted Hall.

Albert Bartlett’s Interview

Albert Bartlett worked with mass spectrometers at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. He was part of the group that photographed the Operations Crossroads nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll after the war. In this interview, he recalls his time at Los Alamos and his colleagues, including Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin, who would both die of criticality accidents. He discusses the significance of the colloquia that allowed scientists to share their research on the project. He also recalls fun times including skiing on Sawyer’s Hill, hiking, and dorm parties that used scientific materials to make the punch.