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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Richard Money’s Interview

Richard “Dick” Money was a chemist. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he was introduced to the Manhattan Project’s Metallurgical Laboratory. He was hired by the Met Lab and sent to work for Clinton Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN during the Manhattan Project. He went on to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years and then became a science and math teacher. In his interview, Money discusses how he became involved in the Manhattan Project and his jobs and responsibilities while working in these secret labs. He describes his post-war involvement with the Bikini Atoll tests and the Rover program at Los Alamos. Money also explains various scientific and chemical innovations made during the Manhattan Project and Cold War, as well as radiation accidents and safety procedures developed in response to the lab accidents. Finally, Money shares about his personal life and his transition from the laboratory to the classroom.

Julia Maestas’s Interview

Dr. Julia Maestas is the granddaughter of Manuel Maestas, a homesteader at Los Alamos, and daughter of Elipio Maestas, who worked as a civil guard for the Corps of Engineers at Los Alamos. In her interview, she discusses her family’s history and what it was like growing up in Los Alamos. She shares childhood memories about friends, skating, and watching movies. She also describes how her tri-cultural background and education at Los Alamos led to her career in speech pathology and educational psychology.

Eulalia Quintana Newton’s Interview

Eulalia “Eula” Quintana Newton worked at Los Alamos for a total of 53 years, beginning in 1944. She received a Distinguished Performance Award for her exceptional service to the Los Alamos laboratory. In this interview, she discusses the many jobs she held at Los Alamos. After working in the housing and secretarial departments, she eventually rose to the position of group leader in the mail and records department. Quintana Newton recalls being the first Hispanic woman without a college degree to become a group leader at the laboratory. She also describes the impact of Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project on the Española Valley community.

Norris Bradbury’s Interview – Part 2

Norris Bradbury worked as a physicist on the Manhattan Project and served as director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1945-1970. In this interview, he recalls the challenges of running LANL and how he admired the way J. Robert Oppenheimer had managed it during the war. He explains the decision behind moving ahead with developing the hydrogen bomb, and why Oppenheimer opposed it. Bradbury recalls how the transfer of nuclear weapons control from military to civilian hands went, and how he and his staff interfaced with the Atomic Energy Commission. He also discusses the personality and legacy of Oppenheimer, General Leslie Groves, and Edward Teller.

Ted Taylor’s Interview – Part 3

In this interview, physicist Ted Taylor discusses how technology developments today will impact farming and energy in the future. He elaborates on his time working at Los Alamos on nuclear weapons and the hydrogen bomb, recalling Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Norris Bradbury’s emotional response to the first successful hydrogen bomb test. He recalls the social life at the laboratory and the scientists he worked with, including Darol Froman, Robert Serber, and George Gamow, and how secrecy impacted their work.

Norris Bradbury’s Interview – Part 1

Norris Bradbury was an American physicist and director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1945-1970. During the Manhattan Project, Bradbury directed the implosion field test program and helped prepare the “Gadget” for the Trinity test. In this interview, Bradbury explains why he was selected to work at Los Alamos, and discusses his work on the plutonium implosion bomb. He recalls his interactions with Manhattan Project leaders J. Robert Oppenheimer, George Kistiakowsky, and Admiral Deak Parsons. Bradbury watched over the “Gadget” at the top of the Trinity test tower to ensure that no one “monkeyed” around with it. He remembers his surprise when Oppenheimer picked him to take over as director of the laboratory, and the challenges he had to overcome to keep the lab up and running.

Ted Taylor’s Interview – Part 2

From 1948-1956, Ted Taylor worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, developing fission bombs of minimal size and maximal capacity. Later in life, while working for the Defense Department, Taylor began to realize the real-world implications and consequences of the bombs he developed. In this interview, he discusses the team feeling of developing the H-bomb after the war and during the Cold War arms race, and the role of people he terms “weaponeers” had in driving the development of the H-bomb. Taylor then turns his attention to discussing how his mindset changed in the 1960s and why he began to support the total abolition of atomic weapons. He explains why he thinks nuclear weapons should be globally outlawed, much like chemical and biological weapons.

Helene Suydam’s Interview

Helene Suydam and her husband, Jerry, moved into J. Robert Oppenheimer’s house on Bathtub Row in Los Alamos shortly after the Manhattan Project ended in 1947. In this interview, Suydam discusses the history of Los Alamos and the homes built there during the Manhattan Project. She also discusses her relationship with some of the people who remained at the laboratory after the Project, including director Norris Bradbury.

Raemer Schreiber’s Interview (1993)

Raemer Schreiber worked at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project and after the war developing the hydrogen bomb and the Rover nuclear rocket program. In 1945, Schreiber was transferred to the Gadget Division and was a member of the pit assembly team for the Trinity Test, watching the explosion from base camp. He flew to Tinian Island with two plutonium hemispheres and helped assemble the Fat Man bomb used on Nagasaki. He witnessed the 1946 radiation accident that killed Louis Slotin, but was allowed to leave Los Alamos after being examined to go to Eniwetok for the Bikini test. He recalls the challenges that went into designing the hydrogen bomb, as well as the personalities of various scientists including Edward Teller and Norris Bradbury.

Dolores Heaton’s Interview

Dolores Heaton’s father worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, and she arrived at Los Alamos with her family as a young girl. Heaton recalls what it was like growing up in Los Alamos as a child. With the housing shortage present there, Heaton and her family lived in Quonset huts and were subjected to rationing. Heaton also shares her memories of eating sandwiches with J. Robert Oppenheimer and growing up with the children of the famous scientists working on the Manhattan Project. She talks about the diversity of her school, the first-class education she received, and why Los Alamos was truly a unique town to be raised in.