War loan drive at Oak Ridge, 1944. Photograph by Ed Westcott, courtesy DOE-Oak Ridge Office. 

We hope you enjoyed celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends! One of the ways that the government appealed to Americans' patriotism during World War II was through war bond drives, like the one at Oak Ridge, TN shown above.

"Every two weeks I bought a fifty-dollar war bond," Patricia Hansard, a "Calutron girl" at Oak Ridge, remembered. "My mother kept them in a safe deposit box for me."
Many Manhattan Project workers recall how patriotism motivated their wartime efforts. "E verybody had somebody in the war," Rosario Martinez Fiorillo, who grew up near Los Alamos during World War II, remembered. In collaboration with local partners, AHF is working to document the experiences of people from northern New Mexico who participated in the Manhattan Project. Read below for more information on this project and other updates. 

NorthernNMNorthern New Mexico and the Manhattan Project

Painting at El Convento in Española, NM commemorating local contributions to the Manhattan Project
"It was an entirely different world," Eulalia "Eula" Quintana Newton remembered, describing life in the northern Rio Grande valley before the coming of the Manhattan Project. "Our lives changed entirely." 

The Manhattan Project had a profound impact on the communities of northern New Mexico. The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) has been collaborating with local partners to collect and publish interviews with residents of northern New Mexico about their experiences. 

"We are pleased to share these interviews, the first results of this collaboration, on our Voices of the Manhattan Project website ," said Cindy Kelly, President of AHF. "These resources will be available to visitors to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, students, educators, museums, journalists and audiences worldwide." 

Earlier this year, AHF interviewed Frances Quintana, Lydia Martinez, and Floy Agnes Lee about their work on the Manhattan Project. These oral histories are now on the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website, along with more than 450 interviews with Manhattan Project participants, family members, and experts.
Floy Agnes Lee

In addition, AHF has worked with Willie Atencio and David Schiferl to publish a collection of interviews conducted with Manhattan Project participants from northern New Mexico in 2009. Atencio, a longtime employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Bradbury Science Museum, worked with retired LANL physicist David Schiferl to capture numerous interviews.

In 1942, Los Alamos was designated as the site for the Manhattan Project's top-secret scientific laboratory. Native Americans and Hispano homesteaders living on the Pajarito Plateau were forced to leave their lands. Victor and Refugio Romero, who lived in a log cabin seasonally on the plateau, were among the people displaced. "All of a sudden the Army declared, 'You can't come and plant any more over here. We're going to take over. The government wants your land,'" recalled Rosario Martinez Fiorillo, the Romeros' granddaughter. Today, visitors to Los Alamos can see the restored Romero Cabin.

Short of laborers, the Army Corps of Engineers recruited people from neighboring Hispano communities and Pueblos to help build the laboratory and residences. As the interviews document, the Army hired them as construction workers, janitors, housekeepers, technicians, clerks, mess hall staff, mail couriers, maids and other roles. Trucks and green Army buses stopped at the Hispano communities and the Pueblos each morning to pick up workers and take them to jobs on "the Hill," as Los Alamos was called.
The historic Romero Cabin
"We all took a part  in it," remembered Esequiel Salazar , who worked as a carpenter an d surveyor. "I think it's important that people realize that the scientists couldn't do their jobs if it wasn't for the cement workers that were putting in the slabs and building their laboratories. The janitors, the laborers, the carpenters, everybody took a part in it."

The interviews include various perspectives on the Manhattan Project and its impact on northern New Mexico's communities. AHF is grateful to Willie Atencio and David Schiferl for their collaboration in publishing their interviews, and PAC 8 Community Media Center in Los Alamos for digitizing them. The project has also been funded in part by a grant from the Bonderman Southwest Intervention Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Los Alamos National Bank, and the Kerr Foundation.

On October 12 to 14, 2017, Northern New Mexico College and the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area are organizing a conference called "Querencia Interrupted: Hispano and Native American Experiences of the Manhattan Project." AHF is pleased to sponsor the event along with the Los Alamos National Bank. 

The conference will bring together scholars, writers and artists to reflect on the Manhattan Project and its impact. To register and for more information about the conference, click hereAHF looks forward to the conference and continuing to work with local partners to capture the intertwined histories of the communities and the Los Alamos laboratory.
MendelThe Discovery of Mendelevium
Scientists using chemical separation methods to find mendelevium atoms.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation has recently received a historic video showing some of the famous scientists who led the race to discover new chemical elements. The video depicts the discovery of mendelevium, or element 101, in 1955. Produced and narrated by  Claude Lyneis, a retired physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the video highlights the tools and techniques used by the scientists in their exciting discovery.  Click here to see the video.

Scientists have been looking for new elements for hundreds of years. When Dmitri Mendeleev organized the known elements according to a periodic, or repeating, system in the 1860s, there were gaps, elements not yet known but with properties that could be predicted by their relationship to close chemical neighbors. Mendeleev's table has since been expanded to incorporate new elements beyond those postulated by Mendeleev. Such elements include  uraniumplutonium, and mendelevium.

The video depicts the discovery of mendelevium as reenacted by some of the same scientists who performed the experiments. It dramatically showcases the skill and speed required to synthesize the new element. These techniques put the Berkeley team at the forefront of elemental discovery. The work of Glenn Seaborg and Albert Ghiorso led to the discovery of over a dozen new elements, and helped to expand and change the shape of the periodic table, adding and filling in what is now the actinide series.

As of 2016, there are no longer any gaps in the first seven rows of the periodic table. Future expansion remains uncertain, but the search for new elements still continues to this day. The Atomic Heritage Foundation is grateful to Dr. Lyneis for his work and explanations of this revolutionary discovery.

To read the full article about the video and the discovery of mendelevium, click here.
HSInMemIn Memoriam: Haskell Sheinberg
We are sad to announce the passing of  Haskell Sheinberg in Santa Fe, New Mexico on May 31, 2017. He was ninety-seven years old. As a member of the  Special Engineer Detachment (SED), Sheinberg worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.

In  an interview on the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website, Sheinberg recalled his decision to join the Army. His brother had already been drafted and he desired to "go where there's action." After basic infantry training, Sheinberg was sent to Oak Ridge and then Los Alamos in late 1944. He helped purify plutonium under the leadership of  Arthur Wahl, one of the co-discoverers of plutonium along with Joseph W. Kennedy, Edwin McMillan and Glenn Seaborg in 1940.

After the war, Sheinberg worked in powder metallurgy, ceramics and particle technology at Los Alamos. One of his group's projects was the construction of hydrogen bomb components for the  Bravo test. Next to fathering his two sons, he regarded his most important achievement as developing nuclear rocket propulsion engines for a non-weapons program called Rover.

Sheinberg was a creative engineer, who held twenty-six domestic and foreign patents. He had a long and prestigious career at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and in 2005, he had a conference room named in his honor.

To listen to Sheinberg's oral history, please click here.
OnlineStoreAHF's Online Store

Summer is a great time to visit or learn more about the Manhattan Project sites around the country. Check out our online store for books and films on the Manhattan Project, including our set of guidebooks to the Manhattan Project in New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, and Manhattan, and our popular anthology, The Manhattan Project.

We also sell notecards, posters, and T-shirts and hats. The T-shirts feature the Los Alamos Main Gate, Hanford's B Reactor, and Oak Ridge's Chapel on the Hill, and are available in a variety of colors and sizes. The notecards include the same designs along with the "Gadget" at Trinity Site. These items make great gifts for friends and family!
HistRoundUpHistory Article Roundup
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting articles published on the history of science, the Manhattan Project, and nuclear history this month.

Charlotte Serber's
Los Alamos ID photo.
The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Project's Secrets : Atlas Obscura profiles Charlotte Serber, the head technical librarian at Los Alamos. She was the only female Division Leader at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.

How a Refrigerator Led to Einstein's Pleas for Atomic Bomb Research: In an article for National Geographic, journalist Erin Blakemore spoke with AHF President Cynthia Kelly about how the Einstein-Szilard letter helped initiate the Manhattan Project.

Unsealed 75 years After the Battle of Midway, New Details of an Alarming WWII Press Leak : 75 years after the Battle of Midway, the Washington Post describes how a Chicago Tribune report after the battle "enraged" the U.S. Navy and the Roosevelt administration. Testimony from a grand jury investigation into the leak was finally released a few months ago.

From Wartime Devastation to Academic Discrimination, Cecile DeWitt-Morette Overcame It All: Terrific article on the accomplishments of mathematical physicist Cecile DeWitt-Morette, who died recently at the age of 94.

The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool: Entertaining Atlas Obscura article on how spies have used knitting to encode messages in wartime.
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

John Coster-Mullen  is a photographer, truck driver, and nuclear archeologist. He has played a crucial role in establishing a public, permanent record of the creation of the bomb, and was featured as "Atomic John" in a story in The New Yorker. In this interview, Coster-Mullen discusses the origins of his project and roadblocks he has encountered along the way, and addresses concerns that his work has revealed classified information.

Lydia Martinez grew up in El Rancho, NM, and began to work at Los Alamos when she was seventeen years old during the Manhattan Project. She worked in various jobs during the war and after it became the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), including as babysitter, secretary, and technician. In this interview, she describes her forty-two years of employment of being a technician, maid, secretary and other positions.

Rosario Martinez Fiorillo  grew up in northern New Mexico during the Manhattan Project. Her ancestors were Hispano homesteaders who built the Romero Cabin, an important pre-Manhattan Project structure at Los Alamos. In this interview, she reflects on her experiences living in the village of Guachupangue, and recalls an Army convoy passing by her house before the Trinity Test.

Virginia Montoya Archuleta is the youngest daughter of Adolfo and Elaisa Montoya. Her father Adolfo was the head gardener at the Los Alamos Ranch School. In this interview, she describes her father's work at the school and her memories of living in Los Alamos. She also discusses her family's role in a lawsuit seeking compensation for homesteaders displaced by the Manhattan Project.

Frances Quintana  grew up in El Rancho, NM, and her family's farm at Los Alamos was requisitioned when the Manhattan Project took over the site. Frances became one of the many Hispanos who were bused up to work at Los Alamos. Her first job was baby-sitting Julie Hawkins, the daughter of David and Frances Hawkins. She maintained a close relationship with the family, and with Julie through today. In this interview, Frances discusses her various jobs at Los Alamos, both during and after the war.

Esequiel Salazar  worked at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project as a carpenter and a rod-man assisting surveyors for the Robert E. McKee Company. After the war, Salazar deployed as a soldier to occupied Japan and had a long career with LANL. Combined, he and his wife contributed 100 years of service to the Los Alamos laboratory. In this interview, Salazar highlights the essential work of Hispano workers and other laboratory employees during and after the Manhattan Project. He touches on the politics surrounding contractors and labor during Los Alamos's early years.

James L. Smith is a physicist at LANL. In this interview, Smith recalls his more than forty-year career at LANL. He describes some of the history of the Manhattan Project and LANL's innovative work during the war through today, including work on the human genome, computing, and radiation detection. He emphasizes the importance of having multidisciplinary national laboratories to produce pioneering innovations and scientific discoveries. Smith also recalls his friendship with Edward Teller, whom he taught about superconductivity, and other Manhattan Project scientists including Nicholas Metropolis. He discusses Teller's relationship with Oppenheimer and other scientists.

Jim Walther is the director of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM. He begins this interview by discussing his working relationship with Jim Sanborn, the sculptor behind the renowned exhibits "Atomic Time" and "Critical Assembly." He continues with a discussion of health physics, the history of nuclear reactors, and other innovations from the Manhattan Project. Walther also talks about the portrayal of nuclear issues in popular culture. He concludes by addressing the importance of studying the Manhattan Project and other nuclear issues.
We are proud to bring you new first-hand accounts from Manhattan Project participants as well as interviews with experts month after month. Please let us know if you have any good candidates for us to interview and support our efforts by sending a check or donating online

Your  donation  will enable to continue our important and time-sensitive mission to capture the recollections of Manhattan Project participants before it is too late. Thanks very much!

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