Last week marked the 73 rd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final days of World War II. Members of the  509th Composite Group of the U.S. Army Air Forces flew from Tinian Island in the Pacific to drop the bombs, nicknamed  “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” on the cities of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945), and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945), respectively.

By the end of 1945, the bombings had killed an estimated 140,000 people at Hiroshima and 74,000 at Nagasaki, including those who died from radiation poisoning. Historians, scientists, and politicians  continue to debate the decision to drop the bomb and the role of the bombings in Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. For a detailed timeline of the atomic bombing missions and the aftermath, please click  here.

AHF’s website has many resources on the bombings, including an article on their survivors (known as  hibakusha), and Manhattan Project veterans’ reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For interviews with service members who flew on the atomic bomb missions, visit AHF's  "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website.
  • "Doctor Atomic" Weekend
  • In Memoriam: Ted Petry
  • Manhattan Project Sites News
  • History Article Roundup
  • "Voices of the Manhattan Project"
"Doctor Atomic" Weekend
Saturday, July 14, 2018, was the Santa Fe Opera's opening performance of “Doctor Atomic," composed by John Adams with a libretto by Peter Sellars. The performances have received very positive reviews, including in Physics Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

This is the first time the opera has been performed in New Mexico, where the opera takes place. Sellars met with various groups ahead of the production, including members of the Pueblos and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders. Members of the New Mexico’s Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque Pueblos perform a sacred Corn Dance for healing before each performance. Some of the Downwinders are part of the cast, entering the stage during the discussion between General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer over whether to evacuate the communities near the Trinity Site.

AHF President Cindy Kelly attended the opera with a small group (pictured above listening to Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan). AHF arranged events for the group to complement the performance, including tours of the Los Alamos History Museum and the “ Atomic Histories” exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum. As Kelly explains, "The Santa Fe Opera's production was unique. The Pueblos' dancers and the Downwinders underscored the immediacy of the events for today. The stage was open to the landscape of New Mexico and magically linked the audience with the action in space and time. An unforgettable experience."
In Memoriam: Ted Petry
Manhattan Project veteran Ted Petry passed away on July 28, according to the University of Chicago. Petry was 94. He was the last known living witness to Chicago Pile-1, the first controlled, self-sustained nuclear chain reaction. AHF was fortunate to be able to interview Petry earlier this year. You can watch the interview on the Voices of the Manhattan Project website.

Petry handled graphite and helped plane carbon blocks for Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1), which workers and scientists built under the West Stands of Stagg Field on the University of Chicago campus. He remembered the assembly of CP-1: “There were stairs that went down to the bottom of the tower. We put a 2x12 on one side of the stairs, and we could slide the carbon blocks down. Eventually, it got very slippery and they really whizzed down there. We would have a mattress down at the bottom where they would land. Then we could pile them up. I understand there were 45,000 blocks in the pile. Wow. I didn’t believe that we worked with that many!”

Petry was modest about his role in CP-1. “It was so secret at that time. It was just a job,” he stated. He met President John F. Kennedy in 1962 at a White House ceremony commemorating the 20 th anniversary of the event, and was recognized at the University of Chicago’s commemoration of the 75 th anniversary of CP-1 in 2017. He was also profiled by the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post.

You can read the full in memoriam here
Manhattan Project Sites News
On July 29, the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) closed its doors at its location at 300 S. Tulane Avenue, where it had been open to visitors since 1975. AMSE will reopen in its new location at Main Street Oak Ridge in mid-October, with a grand opening ceremony planned for October 18 (photo of construction, right, courtesy of John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today). According to Oak Ridge Today, “Exhibits in the new AMSE fall within one of five major categories: energy leadership, big science, national security, environmental restoration, and the Manhattan Project.” The museum will be open in its new location seven days a week.

As Oak Ridge city historian Ray Smith explains, Ken Mayes, who served as deputy director at AMSE for 12 years, has made the decision to step away from the museum. We have enjoyed working with Ken over the years and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

The City of Oak Ridge, in partnership with Explore Oak Ridge, has received a $56,000 grant to help creative interpretive signs for historic sites in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Oak Ridge Today reports that part of the grant “is to enhance the city’s component of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The grant funding could be used to create interpretive signs at historic places like the Guest House and Chapel on the Hill. The interpretive signs will be accessible and include pictures and content.”

On July 13, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park - Los Alamos Friends Group and the National Park Service (NPS) signed a Philanthropic Partnership Agreement to further their mutual goals and support the funding needs of the park. Manhattan Project National Historical Park Superintendent Kris Kirby signed on behalf of NPS, and Los Alamos Friends Group President Kristin Henderson signed for the group.
Happy birthday to the Los Alamos History Museum! The Museum is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. It held a celebration on July 28 with cake. In an article in the Los Alamos Monitor, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan discusses the history of the museum, how the museum’s exhibits have changed over the years, and how social media has broadened its audience.

She says, “We want people to think, ask questions and to have an interactive experience rather than just have things shown to them…People that haven’t been to the museum, they follow what we do [online] and they interact with us based on what we talk about on social media. That’s been an interesting change.”
In March, Mitsugi Moriguchi, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, visited the B Reactor in Hanford, WA. He is believed to be the first Nagasaki survivor to visit the reactor. PBS Newshour recently ran a segment on his visit, featuring Moriguchi, B Reactor Museum Association President John Fox, and others. Moriguchi explains in the segment, “I came here because I wanted to know what the town that produced plutonium is doing today, and what it plans to go on doing in the future."
History Article Roundup
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting content published recently on the Manhattan Project, World War II, and nuclear history:

Baseball Hall of Fame to Celebrate a Catcher (and a Spy): The New York Times previews an upcoming exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Moe Berg, the catcher and spy who worked for the Office of Strategic Services and the Manhattan Project’s Alsos Mission during World War II.

A Child of the Manhattan Project Discusses Complex Legacy of the Bomb: Thoughtful interview with D. Leah Steinberg, author of Raised in the Shadow of the Bomb: Children of the Manhattan Project. Steinberg’s father, Ellis P. Steinberg, and uncle, Bernard Abraham, both worked on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory.

A secret city opens up: Curbed highlights the UrbanSense project, a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the City of Oak Ridge to develop “a sensor network and visualization platform to enable cities to monitor population movement, traffic, social dynamics, and environmental conditions in real time.”
‘Half-Life of Genius’ explores lesser-known Manhattan Project physicist: The Albuquerque Journal discusses a new film, “The Half-Life of Genius,” on the life of physicist Raemer Schreiber (pictured).

Last Surviving Crew Member Has 'No Regrets' About Bombing Hiroshima: NPR and the podcast Radio Diaries interviewed Manhattan Project veteran Russell Gackenbach for their “Last Witness” series on the last surviving people who witnessed historic events. Gackenbach was the navigator on the Necessary Evil, one of the observation planes on the Hiroshima mission. AHF interviewed Gackenbach in 2016.
Mother, daughter donate never-before-seen photos of Hiroshima after atomic bombing: A mother and daughter in Hawaii have donated 36 photographs of Hiroshima taken soon after the atomic bombing to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. (Pictured: Paper cranes, symbols of peace, in Hiroshima).
"Voices of the Manhattan Project"
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website
Avner Cohen is an Israeli-American historian and a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. His 1998 book, Israel and the Bomb, is the definitive historical work to date on the Israeli nuclear program. In this interview, Cohen discusses his professional background and the difficult process of writing about the development of nuclear weapons in Israel. He explains the policy of opacity or amimut regarding the nuclear program, as well as the role of the United States and France in supporting the program. Cohen describes the origin of Israel’s nuclear weapons development, including the influence of the Manhattan Project; how Israel’s nascent nuclear program may have played a role in the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; and the 1979 Vela Incident. Cohen also discusses Franco-Israeli nuclear cooperation and the development of the French nuclear program.
Virginia S. Coleman grew up in Louisburg, North Carolina. She was a chemist at the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project, and was one of the women featured in Denise Kiernan’s book The Girls of Atomic City. In this interview, she remembers arriving at Oak Ridge and her wait in the “bullpen” until she could be cleared to work there. Coleman describes the projects she was involved with and remembers some of her colleagues. She also describes riding the bus at Oak Ridge and her experiences as a social worker after the war.
Tony Essaye discusses his life and fascinating career in this interview. He was born in London, England but grew up in the U.S. after being evacuated during World War II. He joined ROTC during his college years at Georgetown and was stationed in Japan during the 1950s. Essaye went on to become a lawyer and served as a counsel for the Peace Corps under Sargent Shriver. He was one of the lawyers who represented the Washington Post during the Pentagon Papers cases; actor Zach Woods portrays Essaye in the 2017 film “The Post.” He went on to work in a legal capacity for various political campaigns and politicians, including for Walter Mondale and Bill and Hillary Clinton. He also co-founded the International Senior Lawyers Project. In this interview, he offers his reflections on his career as well as major political events.
Ruth Huddleston was born in Windrock, Tennessee. During the Manhattan Project, she got a job at Oak Ridge as a cubicle operator or “Calutron girl” at the Y-12 Plant. In this interview, she recounts her experiences at Y-12. She describes the bus ride to Oak Ridge, operating the calutrons, and the emphasis on secrecy. She recalls how she had mixed feelings after learning about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and talks about her career as a teacher and guidance counselor.
Thomas (Thom) Mason is the President and CEO of Triad National Security, LLC and the director designate of Los Alamos National Laboratory. A condensed matter physicist, he previously served as the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2007-2017, and as Senior Vice President for Global Laboratory Operations at Battelle. In this interview, Mason describes some of the major scientific projects at Oak Ridge from the Manhattan Project to today, including the Spallation Neutron Source, nuclear reactor development, scientific computing, and nuclear nonproliferation efforts. He also explains why he believes that the science done at universities and national laboratories creates “a fertile ground” for innovation.
Trisha Pritikin was born and lived ten years in Richland, Washington, just a few miles away from the Hanford Site. Her father worked in the 100 Area at Hanford, overseeing some of the reactors, while her mom worked as a secretary at Hanford. In her interview, Pritikin recalls her love of Richland at a young age and describes the happiness of many of the people there. At age 18, she began to develop health complications which she believes to be caused by childhood exposure to radioactive iodine and other radionuclides released from chemical separations at Hanford. Pritikin discusses how drastically her health situation deteriorated because of an undiagnosed autoimmune thyroid disorder (Hashimoto’s disease), and related health issues, and how she became a lawyer in spite of the disabling health issues she faced. She provides an overview of the decades-long Hanford Downwinder litigation efforts and her advocacy for justice for Hanford's Downwinders, the children of Hanford workers, and others exposed to Hanford’s airborne and Columbia River radiation releases. 
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