Women workers heading to work at the Y-12 Plant

March is Women's History Month. Thousands of women worked on the Manhattan Project as scientists, technicians, secretaries, military service members, and in other capacities.

Mary Lou Curtis worked on polonium research on the Dayton Project during the Manhattan Project. She described how being a woman had impacted her career as a scientist: "It was a handicap being a woman, but I took it for granted that that's the way it had always been. I know that I had to be better at what I was doing than any man that wanted my job. But Monsanto was a wonderful company to work for."

ScientistsAfrican-American Scientists in the Manhattan Project
J. Ernest Wilkins. Photo courtesy of Dan Dry/Wikimedia Commons.
For Black History Month, the Knoxville News Sentinel published two in-depth articles on African-American scientists in the Manhattan Project, Bias kept black scientists out of Oak Ridge's atomic bomb work and  15 African-Americans who were hidden heroes of the Manhattan Project. Written by Brittany Crocker, the articles describe the contributions the scientists made to the project, the discrimination they faced throughout their careers, and segregation at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.

The articles shed light on the "hidden heroes" of the Manhattan Project, such as J. Ernest Wilkins. Wilkins became the youngest person admitted to the University of Chicago when he was accepted at age 13. He received his doctorate at age 19, and was 21 when he began working on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago.

In 1944, Edward Teller recommended Wilkins to Harold Urey at Columbia University: "Mr. Wilkins is in [Eugene] Wigner's group at the Metallurgical Laboratory and has been doing excellent work. He is a colored man and since Wigner's group is moving to (Oak Ridge) it is not possible for him to continue working with that group." As Brittany Crocker explains in her article, in Oak Ridge African-Americans were limited to labor positions and assigned to crude housing. Wilkins continued to work with Wigner in Chicago and had a very distinguished career in applied mathematical physics.   

George Reed. Photo courtesy of Argonne NL. 
George Warren Reed was a chemist who also worked at the Met Lab. He later told his son, "My life story would be very different had not World War II intervened with the need to more fully utilize all the nation's manpower." Reed went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He worked in the chemistry division at the Argonne National Laboratory and for NASA.

The articles also profile Jasper Jeffries, Carolyn Parker, Blanche Lawrence, and other African-American scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project.
DoctorAtomic"Doctor Atomic" Coming to the Santa Fe Opera
"Doctor Atomic" performance at the Metropolitan Opera
This summer, the Santa Fe Opera will perform composer John Adams's Doctor Atomic. The opera takes place in the hours before the Trinity test on July 16, 1945. With a libretto by Peter Sellars, the opera is a powerful interpretation in words and music of the scientific, political, moral and ethical tensions inherent in the birth of the atomic bomb.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) is developing an online interpretive program, "Doctor Atomic Trail," to complement the opera. The program  will be part of the "Ranger in Your Pocket" series and explore Manhattan Project sites in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, and the Trinity Site. For example, a program on Santa Fe's 109 East Palace will feature interviews with Jennet Conant, author of 109 East Palace, and Dorothy McKibbin, the "Gatekeeper of Los Alamos" who presided there.
The Oppenheimer House

The Trinity Site program will present eyewitnesses recalling their feelings of relief, awe and foreboding as the mushroom cloud rose. With these and other accounts, the program should be a valuable resource for opera fans, tourists, students as well as audiences worldwide. 
A beta version will be available for the opening night of "Doctor Atomic" on Saturday, July 14.  For more about the "Doctor Atomic Trail," please see the full article on our website.
EdGerjuoyIn Memoriam: Ed Gerjuoy
Ed Gerjuoy in Berkeley, 1940
We are sad to report that our dear friend, physicist Edward Gerjuoy, passed away on January 31, 2018, at the age of 99. He was born on May 19, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents who immigrated from Russia and Romania.

In 1937, Gerjuoy graduated from City College in New York, where he studied mathematics and physics. He then enrolled as a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, and studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer. 

Gerjuoy reflected on his experiences in an  oral history interview with the Atomic Heritage Foundation: "I asked my favorite professor at City College, Mark Zemanski, where I should go to learn modern physics. He answered without hesitation that the best school was Berkeley with Professor Oppenheimer. That was the first time I had ever heard of his name. Since it was as far as I could possibly go from home, there was no question, and out I went."

Ed Gerjuoy in his physics department office, 1965
After earning his Ph.D. at Berkeley, Gerjuoy worked during World War II in New London and New York City on sonar technology and anti-submarine strategies. 

Gerjuoy had a very full and productive career that straddled physics and law. He taught physics at University of Southern California, New York University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He served as editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association's Journal of Law, Science, and Technology and earned a law degree in 1977.

From 1981 to 1987, he was an administrative law judge on Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board. In 2002, he returned as emeritus professor to Pittsburgh, researching quantum computing. 

Ed Gerjuoy had incredible intellectual curiosity, energy and a great sense of humor. He will be deeply missed.  For more on Edward Gerjuoy, please see our full article on his life and career.
AHF on Social Media
President Kennedy at LANL, December 1962
Follow us on social media for daily updates on the history of the Manhattan Project. Our Facebook page has 3,800 likes, and our Twitter account has nearly 5,000 followers. 

Our YouTube channel has almost 1 million views with 2,000 subscribers. The channel hosts our oral history videos, "Ranger in Your Pocket" vignettes, and historic films.

Some of the popular videos include nuclear test videos, President John F. Kennedy's visit to Los Alamos; silent footage from Tinian showing the preparation of the Little Boy and Fat Man bombs, and the return of the Enola Gay after the Hiroshima atomic bombing mission; and the Trinity Test

Our most popular video by far shows the nuclear test Operation Upshot-Knothole: Shot Annie, with over 110,000 views in less than 2 years.
NagasakiSurvivorNagasaki Survivor Visits Hanford
A cathedral in Nagasaki after 
the atomic bombing
Mitsugi Moriguchi, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, is visiting Washington State and will tour Hanford's B Reactor on Friday, March 9, 2018. This is believed to be the first time a Nagasaki survivor has visited the Hanford site.

According to the Tri-City Herald, "The intersection of health concerns of the people of Nagasaki and those who lived downwind or downriver of Hanford during its plutonium production years will be the focus of Moriguchi's visit."

For more information, please see He survived atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Now he's visiting Hanford

To learn more about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the hibakusha  ("atomic bomb-affected people"), please visit our website. 
RoundupHistory Article Roundup
Alvin Weinberg
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting content published on the Manhattan Project and nuclear history in the past month.

Science and Conscience: Chicago's Met Lab and the Manhattan Project: An exhibit at the University of Chicago's Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery focuses on the Chicago Met Lab's role during the Manhattan Project. It also documents scientists' responses to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Daughter keeps mother's promise to digitize renowned physicist's research in Oak Ridge: S elma Shapiro, the first director for the Oak Ridge Children's Museum, was good friends with Oak Ridge National Laboratory director Alvin Weinberg. Weinberg gave Shapiro his ORNL papers, and now her daughter Rhonda Bogard is raising funds to digitize the collection.

The Norsk Hydro Plant
How a Sneak Attack By Norway's Skiing Soldiers Deprived the Nazis of the Atomic Bomb: Smithsonian magazine describes  Operation Gunnerside, the successful mission by Norwegian commandos to set off explosives inside the Norsk Hydro plant in Nazi-controlled Norway. This mission and other acts of sabotage prevented the Nazis from using the plant's supply of heavy water in their atomic bomb project.

Unexpected Encounter Leads To Interview With Manhattan Project Veteran Reid Cameron : Sharon Snyder describes her visit to Grand Junction, CO, with Heather McClenahan to record an interview with Manhattan Project veteran Reid Cameron.
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

Nancy Bartlit is the former president of the Los Alamos Historical Society and the author of Silent Voices of World War II: When Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun. In this interview, she describes efforts to preserve properties at Los Alamos and vision for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

Jim Eckles worked for nearly 30 years for the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office, in charge of tours of the Trinity site, and has written a book on its history. He discusses the pre-war history and preparations for the Trinity Test, including the 100-ton TNT test and "Jumbo." Eckles also discusses some of the key workers at Trinity site. He also explains some of the controversy around the site, including radiation levels, concerns over fallout from the test, and the atomic bombings of Japan.

Valeria Steele Roberson is the granddaughter of Kattie Strickland, an African American who moved to Oak Ridge from Alabama with her husband to work on the Manhattan Project. Roberson discusses how Oak Ridge offered African Americans higher-paying jobs and the prospect of social and economic advancement, despite pervasive segregation, discrimination, and inequality. Roberson also discusses housing for African Americans, recreational activities, and the day-to-day life at Oak Ridge.
We are very grateful for your continued support!  In 2018, we have a very ambitious agenda. Help us leverage the $98,000 matching grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to capture another 98 oral histories of Manhattan Project veterans and experts. 

The Manhattan Project was a great human collaboration. We aim to capture the diversity of the talented and dedicated men and women who were essential to its success.
Your  donation will help us record interviews with  Manhattan Project participants living across the country and leave a valuable legacy for future generations. 

Thanks very much for your help.

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