It has been a very cold January so far in Washington, DC. During the Manhattan Project, scientists and workers at Los Alamos, NM, as well as the other sites including Hanford, WA, and Oak Ridge, TN, often had to get to work in the snow.

In a 1965 interview with journalist Stephane Groueff, Los Alamos laboratory director J. Robert Oppenheimer remembered the beauty of the snow around Los Alamos: "I will quote Emilio Segrè when he first came to Los Alamos in April of '43. He stood by Fuller Lodge, a sort of hotel. At that time, there was nothing in front of it, and you looked out over the desert and to the Sangre de Cristo, which were covered with snow. It was extremely beautiful. And Segrè said, 'We are going to get to hate this view.' [Laughter]" The photo above (courtesy of the Los Alamos Historical Society) shows Fuller Lodge in the snow - a picturesque sight. 

Oak Ridge "Ranger in Your Pocket" Launches
The X-10 Graphite Reactor in 1950
T he Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) is pleased to launch a new online interpretive program on Oak Ridge with 16 audio/visual vignettes. This beta program is part of AHF's Ranger in Your Pocket series  on the Manhattan Project and features vignettes with eyewitness accounts and expert commentary. AHF welcomes feedback on the beta program as we will plan to expand the program over the next year.

This initial Oak Ridge program highlights the historic X-10 Graphite Reactor, a prototype plutonium production reactor and the first nuclear reactor designed for continuous operation. 

The program also features the three uranium enrichment facilities that employed different methods to separate uranium isotopes for an atomic bomb. The Y-12 plant used a technology called electromagnetic separation; the K-25 plant, gaseous diffusion; and the S-50 plant, liquid thermal diffusion. These plants produced the enriched uranium for the atomic bomb, "Little Boy," dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

A woman operator at the Y-12 Plant
In the vignettes, former workers and Oak Ridge historians explain why the plants were built and how they operated. At Y-12, young women, who were not told what they were working on, were hired to operate the control panels for electromagnetic separation machines called "calutrons," earning them the moniker "calutron girls." "You had a board that stood about ten feet tall, and you had to turn these gauges constantly," remembered Gladys Evans. "You'd have to try to raise a needle up to get the highest production that you could get."

The vignettes describe what it was like to live in the muddy, frontier-like city. Bill Wilcox arrived in Oak Ridge in 1943. He called the city a "remarkable place." "Groves realized that it was important to have the feeling of a community," he explained. "He wanted it to have the feel of a normal town. It was a great place to raise kids." Wilcox worked at the Y-12 and K-25 plants and later became the City of Oak Ridge's official historian. He stayed in Oak Ridge for the rest of his life, marrying and raising his family in the town. 

Oak Ridge, 1944
Ranger in Your Pocket: Oak Ridge will be an educational tool for students, online audiences around the world, and visitors to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. AHF is grateful to William H. Wilcox, son of William J. (Bill) Wilcox, Jr., the Wilcox family, and Ellen Cherniavsky, daughter of Philip Abelson, for their valuable support for this program.

Over the next year, AHF will expand the program to incorporate more stories and perspectives that reflect the complexity of this history. New vignettes will include testimonials from some of the thousands of African-Americans who worked at Oak Ridge and endured segregation there, as well as accounts of people displaced by the Manhattan Project.

AHF recently received a generous grant from the IEEE Foundation to develop a "Ranger in Your Pocket" on "Oak Ridge Innovations." In partnership with the IEEE East Tennessee Section, we will highlight Oak Ridge's legacy for science and society today, from the development of nuclear reactors to particle physics, computer science, health physics, and medicine. AHF looks forward to sharing different perspectives on Oak Ridge's history and legacy today.
MPSitesManhattan Project Sites News
The B Reactor at Hanford
In 2018, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with the National Park Service, Department of Energy, National Park Foundation, local Manhattan Project communities and organizations around the country. Our overarching goal is to tell the story of the Manhattan Project through the voices of the participants as well as provide expert commentary on diverse aspects of its legacy for science and society.

On January 8, the National Park Foundation published a blog post, Interpreting the Legacy of the Manhattan Project, featuring the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and AHF's work to preserve and interpret the history of the Manhattan Project. 

This spring, AHF will be publishing an expanded version of our  Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State , in partnership with the B Reactor Museum Association. Thanks to support from the City of Richland and Betsy and Warren Dean, the revised guidebook will highlight the new National Historical Park, additional historic sites, the role of the railroads at Hanford, and expand sections on Native Americans and African-Americans at Hanford. 

An African-American worker at Hanford
The Tri-Cities area is proving to be a popular science tourism destination. In 2018, the Tri-Cities will host the American Chemical Society's regional meeting as well as the Eastern Washington Section of the American Nuclear Society. According to the Tri-City Herald, "The chemical society was reportedly attracted by the opportunity for members to visit the Hanford B Reactor museum and the Hanford LIGO Observatory, where scientists helped confirm the existence of gravitational waves."

In other Tri-Cities news,  the Tri-City Herald reports that Pasco has received two grants "to survey properties associated with the African-American heritage in east Pasco."   In the 1940s, segregation severely restricted where thousands of African-American workers and their families could live. Blacks were not allowed to live in Kennewick, and only full-time workers could live in Richland.  As a result, many African-Americans settled in Pasco, where they were further restricted to housing east of the railroad tracks. The Washington state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the National Park Service are contributing funds for the project.
Museum Exhibits and Events

"Bottom Half of the Disassembled Physics Package of Trinity Device" by Jim Sanborn
In February 2017, a magnificent exhibition, "Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by Jim Sanborn," opened at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM. "Critical Assembly" was a temporary exhibition at the Museum through October 2017. Now, it has reopened as a permanent exhibition at the Museum, thanks to philanthropists Clay and Dorothy Perkins.

"Critical Assembly" recreates the Manhattan Project scientists' experiments at Los Alamos to determine when plutonium would go "critical" in an atomic bomb. Artist Jim Sanborn spent ten years investigating the Manhattan Project and collecting artifacts from the Black Hole in Los Alamos and many other sources. For more information, please see the Los Alamos Monitor article or our article on the exhibit. You can watch a terrific interview with Sanborn here

From January 12-April 27, the Los Alamos History Museum's Rotating Exhibit Gallery will host an extraordinary exhibit of Nobel Laureate portraits by Peter Badge. The portraits include physicists Hans Bethe, Joseph Rotblat, and Roy Glauber. Badge, who has photographed over 400 Nobel Laureates, said, "It is such an honor to showcase the portraits of Nobel Laureates in the place where so many of them lived and conducted research that has also delivered tremendous value to society."

AMSE deputy director Ken Mayes in the Museum
Construction work is underway at what will be the new location for the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in Oak Ridge, TN. According to Oak Ridge Today, "Inside, there will be about 7,200 square feet of exhibit space, two 800-square-foot classrooms, and a large theater with a stage, consultant Ray Evans told Oak Ridge City Council members during a December 19 work session." Construction work is expected to take about 4.5 months and cost about $1.5 million. The Museum may move in June. For now, AMSE is still open at 300 S. Tulane Ave., where it has welcomed tourists since 1975.

On January 24, the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Energy, and Children's Museum of Oak Ridge will have an open house at the Children's Museum to celebrate the Museum as the new location for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park's Oak Ridge visitor center and offices. The open house will be from 3-6 PM. For more information, please see Manhattan Project Park has open house at Children's Museum on Jan. 24.
FrenchFrench Contributions to the Atomic Age
In November 2017, the Atomic Heritage Foundation was awarded a grant by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation to produce a "Ranger in Your Pocket" program on French scientists' contributions to the Atomic Age.

Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie
The "Ranger" program will explore how French scientific discoveries in the early 20th century contributed to the harnessing of nuclear energy and the Atomic Age. The pioneering work on radioactivity of Henri Becquerel, Marie and Pierre Curie, and Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie revolutionized modern physics.

In 1940, Frédéric Joliot-Curie was directing research at the College de France on the feasibility of a controlled nuclear reaction. In June as the Nazis were closing in on Paris, he sent his colleagues Lew Kowarski and Hans Halban on a daring escape by boat to England with France's entire supply of heavy water to prevent the precious material from falling into Nazi hands. As Kowarski recalled: "We were led on the boat in the middle of the night. Staff officers, colonels and possibly the generals carried our suitcases, because at this moment of despair, they had the dim impression that we were carrying some kind of hope."

Physicist Hans Halban
With first-hand accounts and expert interviews, the program will highlight how French scientists contributed to nuclear research and the Manhattan Project. After the war, France was in the vanguard of nuclear power, nuclear medicine, and other peaceful applications. French and American experts will address today's nuclear issues, stimulating informed public consideration of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and other important issues.

As part of the project, we plan to interview members of French scientists' families, including the Curie family. AHF's Cindy Kelly interviewed Phillippe Halban, son of physicist Hans Halban, in December 2017 for the project, and will interview Hélène Langevin-Joliot, daughter of the Joliot-Curies, in May 2018. We are very grateful to the Lounsbery Foundation for its support of this project.

We plan to launch the "Ranger" program in the fall. In addition, we are working to raise funds to produce a complementary "Ranger" program to highlight the contributions of scientist refugees, many of them Jewish, who fled Europe and worked on the Manhattan Project.
RoundupHistory Article Roundup
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting arti cles published on Manhattan Project, World War II, and nuclear history this month.

- Streetcars that survived A-bomb are still running in Hiroshima: AJW by the Asahi Shimbun reports on two streetcars, damaged in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, that are still operating today.

- Baseball and the Atom Bomb: Physicist and author Paul Halpern has an article for Forbes Starts With A Bang on Moe Berg, the former Major League Baseball catcher and spy who was part of the Manhattan Project's Alsos Mission.

- How the Presidency Took Control of America's Nuclear Arsenal: The Smithsonian Magazine provides an overview of presidential control of America's nuclear weapons, and where the idea of a nuclear "button" comes from.

John-Coster Mullen
- North Korea Designed A Nuke. So Did This Truck Driver: NPR profiled John Coster-Mullen, the photographer, truck driver, and nuclear archaeologist who has played a crucial role in establishing a public, permanent record of the creation of the atomic bomb.

- Object of Intrigue: Banknotes for a Japanese-Occupied Hawaii: Atlas Obscura shares the story of how the US rushed to print special banknotes for Hawaii in 1942. If Japan invaded Hawaii, the US could devalue the state's currency so it would be worthless for Japan. The government also collected $200 million of pre-war cash from Hawaiians, and burned it all.

- Preserving the Hibakusha Legacy: Project in Hiroshima Aims to Keep Testimonies of Atomic Bomb Survivors Alive: describes an effort in Hiroshima to preserve the stories of atomic bomb survivors. In the A-bomb Legacy Successor program, younger participants called A-bomb successors spend several years learning the stories of survivors, then share those stories with the public.
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

Charles Yulish has devoted his career to nuclear and environmental science. From an early age, Yulish fell in love with nuclear energy. While in high school, he received radioisotopes from an unwitting Atomic Energy Commission for his classroom laboratory. In this interview, Yulish remembers his teacher, who instilled in him a curiosity towards all things nuclear. He talks about his 50 year career in nuclear research and policy. He worked for many years for the United States Enrichment Corporation and its "Megatons to Megawatts" program. He also consulted with the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico, who wanted to set up a nuclear storage waste site on its land in the 1990s when the US government was considering such a program.

Al Zeltmann grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After being drafted into the Army during World War II, he was assigned to the Special Engineer Detachment and arrived at Los Alamos in 1944. After the war, he stayed at Los Alamos, and worked as a physical chemist at the Los Alamos laboratory for nearly 40 years. In this interview, he recalls his Manhattan Project work, including on the "RaLa" experiments with Gerhart Friedlander, and describes the relationship between the military and civilians on "The Hill." He also remembers receiving some unusual instructions from a mail censor after his wife complained he "wasn't very warm" in his letters.

Many thanks for your many contributions at the end of 2017. We are very grateful for everyone who took the time to write a check or donate online. We could not accomplish what we do without your 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 oral histories of Manhattan Project veterans. 
Your  donation will be doubled and help us record interviews with  Manhattan Project participants living across the country. If you care about preserving and interpreting the Manhattan Project for future generations, please donate now. Every contribution counts!

Thanks very much for your help.

Atomic Heritage Foundation 
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