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 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 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.
Julius Tabin was a physicist and a member of Enrico Fermi’s team at Los Alamos that developed the world’s first atomic bomb during World War II. Tabin, working alongside fellow physicists Herbert Anderson and Darragh Nagle, carried out experiments under Fermi. In July 1945, Tabin witnessed the Trinity Test and afterwards went into into the crater left by the blast, riding in a specially modified lead-lined tank to collect surface samples at ground zero. In this interview, Tabin describes in great detail the personalities of Enrico Fermi and J. Robert Oppenheimer. He further elaborates on how the scientists at Los Alamos got along and the problem-solving strategies they used. Tabin finishes with a reflection on technological progress since WWII and his family.