Recognize this duo? Yes, it really is General Leslie R. Groves with the renowned young actress Donna Reed.  

So what brought this unlikely pair together? Donna Reed was the impetus for the 1947 film "The Beginning or the End," a fictionalized account of the Manhattan Project. Reed's  high school science teacher, Edward Tompkins, worked on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge and must have sparked her interest. For more about the film, see our article The Manhattan Project in Popular Culture.

As an actress, Donna Reed is best known today for her roles in "It's a Wonderful Life," "From Here to Eternity," and "The Donna Reed Show." The photo is from the Patricia Cox Owen Collection, AHF, taken after the war.

Be sure to check out some of our other recent history articles . You can read about  Atomic Culture Heavy Water Reactors Operation Gunnerside , the  Provisional Engineer Detachment Soviet Closed Cities , and more. 

If there are topics you would like to see covered on our website, please contact us and let us know!

MPEventsManhattan Project Events and News

The B Reactor at Hanford
Fall is a great time to enjoy a number of Manhattan Project-related events around the country. This Saturday, Hanford, WA, will host a "Ride the Reactor" tour where cyclists can bike around the iconic B Reactor. The $60 registration fee includes the bike ride, a catered lunch and a tour of B Reactor. Proceeds will go to a nonprofit supporting the Hanford unit of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park (NHP). To register, please click here.

In other exciting news, Becky Burghart has been named the site manager for the Hanford unit of the Manhattan Project NHP. She previously served as chief of interpretation at White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, N.M, which is home to the Manhattan Project's Trinity Site. In the Tri-City Herald, Burghart said the new position provides her "with a unique opportunity to draw on my interpretive background and community collaboration experience in the early development of one of the newest units of the National Park Service."

The replica of the Trinity Tower.  Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque will premiere its replica of the Trinity Site tower on October 6 at 5:30 PM. The event will include a showing of the History Channel production "Modern Marvels: The Manhattan Project." 

The tower replica, which includes a "Gadget," was supported by philanthropists Clay and Dorothy Perkins.  In the Museum's press release on the tower, Museum Director Jim Walther stated, "We are proud to exhibit the largest collection of artifacts relating to the Trinity Test...We are open daily to bring this story to life for visitors of all ages and backgrounds."

On October 11 at 5 PM, Nancy Bartlit will give a talk on the "Silent Voices of World War II: The Navajo Code Talkers' Indispensable Secret Role in the Pacific Theatre" at The Aztec Senior Center, 101 S. Park Ave. in Aztec, NM.

Over 400 code talkers were deployed during the war, serving in every Marine unit in the Pacific. The Japanese never broke the Navajo code. Bartlit, a former president of the Los Alamos Historical Society, explained her veneration for the Navajo codetalkers: "What they did was absolutely astonishing...We so relied on them."

Jennet Conant speaking at Politics and Prose in Sept. 2017
On October 12, au
thor and journalist Jennet Conant will speak at 7 PM in Fuller Lodge on her new book, Man of the Hour: James B. Conant, Warrior Scientist. This  biography of her grandfather, Manhattan Project leader and Harvard president,  was positively reviewed by historian Alex Wellerstein in Nature. Conant's other works have included 109 East Palace and Tuxedo Park. AHF's Cindy Kelly and Nate Weisenberg enjoyed meeting Conant at Politics & Prose in Washington, DC.

Oak Ridge's 75th anniversary events are underway. In September, over 100 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a new pavilion for Oak Ridge's International Friendship Bell in
Alvin K. Bissell Park. For more, please see the   Knoxville News Sentinel article about the ceremony.

Late Manhattan Project veteran Bill Wilcox 
with the International Friendship Bell (2008)
Upcoming Oak Ridge events include a fire prevention celebration on October 7 and a photograph collection viewing at the Oak Ridge Public Library on October 25. To learn more, please visit the Oak Ridge 75th anniversary website.

In other Oak Ridge news, the American Museum of Science and Energy's move to a new building has been delayed by five months. The Museum will be moving from its current building of about 54,000 square feet to an 18,000 square feet building once occupied by Sears and Downtown Hardware. Now the move is expected to happen in May 2018. The current AMSE building will eventually be demolished and the site developed for retail. For more information, please see the Oak Ridger article AMSE move delayed 5 months.
AlsosUS Nuclear Weapons Complex Google Map
Part of the Google map of US nuclear weapons complex sites
The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues is a digital library with a vetted, annotated bibliography of over 3,000 books, articles, films, CDs, and websites about a broad range of nuclear issues.

The library was founded and is managed by Dr. Frank Settle, professor emeritus of chemistry at Washington and Lee University and author of General George C. Marshall and the Atomic Bomb. The title "Alsos" is an homage to the Manhattan Project's Alsos Mission, which, like the digital library, was associated with gathering information.

The Alsos Digital Library recently completed the first edition of a Google map with the locations of offices, mines, mills, plants, laboratories, and test sites of the US nuclear weapons complex from World War II to 2016. The map includes over 300 sites including the Manhattan Project sites. 

The Eldorado radium and uranium mine, 
one of the sites on the Alsos Google map
The map was inspired by the The Traveler's Guide to Nuclear Weapons CD-ROM by James Maroncelli and Timothy Karpin. In a 2017 interview with AHF, Settle said, "I've always liked maps, and "The Traveler's Guide" had a nice description of what went on at each site. I said, 'This would be fun, to put pins in a Google map with a little description and a reference to the page in their guide.' That's what I've been doing. "

The Alsos Digital Library and the US Nuclear Weapons Complex Map are terrific resources for students, scholars, and members of the public interested in this history. 
InMemoriamIn Memoriam: Anne McKusick, Murray Peshkin, and Pete Domenici
In September, we lost three friends: Manhattan Project veterans Anne McKusick and Murray Peshkin and former New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici.

Dr. Anne McKusick passed away on September 17 at the age of 95. She was born in Rochester, NY. After earning a Bachelor's degree in physics from Cornell University, in April of 1944 she went to work for the Tennessee-Eastman Company at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, TN. She worked on uranium purification, separating U-235 from U-238.
In a 2011 interview with AHF, McKusick remembered, "When I got to Oak Ridge, it was perhaps not surprising that there were no girls who were physicists. I remember somebody saying to me once, "You consider that you're a girl who happens to be a physicist, or a physicist who happens to be a girl?" It was just that women weren't thought to be capable of learning the subject, or thought that it was strictly a man's field at that time."

After the war, she considered studying physics but went into medicine. Dr. McKusick became a rheumatologist and an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Murray Peshkin, who passed away on September 20 at age 92, was recruited by the Army to work at Los Alamos during World War II. He was assigned to do mathematical calculations in a group working under Richard Feynman. After the Trinity test, Peshkin was part of a group that was in charge of retrieving blast gauges. In a 2008 interview with AHF, he remembered, "Volunteers were needed to go in and dig out some blast gauges. There were five of us who volunteered partly out of curiosity and because the other experimenters had already been exposed to a lot of radioactivity and we had not."

Peshkin disliked David Greenglass, the famous spy. He also worked with Louis Slotin after the war, but was not involved in the fatal "tickling the dragon's tail" experiment. Peshkin went on to become a professor at Northwestern University and worked for many years at Argonne National Laboratory.

A Vice article by Brian Merchant in 2015 covered Peshkin's career and Manhattan Project work. After learning of his death, Merchant wrote, "Murray represents the passing of a generation of scientists and thinkers who knew full well the weight of the bomb. To me, his passing signifies in part the loss of that moral gravity, that finely tuned relationship to the weapon."

Senator Pete Domenici speaking at an AHF/LAHS event at Los Alamos in 2004
Former US Senator Pete Domenici was a champion of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and instrumental in preserving the nation's Manhattan Project heritage. 

He served six terms in the US Senate representing New Mexico from 1973-2009. As Senator, he supported efforts to preserve New Mexico's Manhattan Project history, and spoke at AHF events. After leaving the Senate, he served as a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He passed away at age 85 on September 13.
RoundupHistory Article Roundup
Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting articles published on Manhattan Project and nuclear history this month.

Clifton Truman Daniel. Photo courtesy Kyodo News/New Yorker
- Bences Gonzales's Grandson at Bandelier: Paul Cruz served as artist in residence at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico in September. Cruz is a talented jewelry artist and the grandson of Bences Gonzales. Gonzales worked for the Los Alamos Ranch School and the Manhattan Project and became an important civic leader.

- Harry Truman's Grandson Impersonates Him and Considers the Age of Trump: This New Yorker article interviews Clifton Truman Daniel, Harry Truman's grandson, who will be playing Truman in the play "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!," on October 12 in Wilmington, NC.

A billboard in Oak Ridge in 1944
- How The U.S. Created A 'Secret City' In Oak Ridge To Build The Atomic Bomb, 75 Years Ago: WPLN - Nashville Public Radio recounts the selection of Oak Ridge, TN as a Manhattan Project site, 75 years ago.

- Stanislav Petrov, Soviet Officer Who Helped Avert Nuclear War, Is Dead at 77: Stanislav Petrov, the Soviet officer who helped avert nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1983, died earlier this year at the age of 77. On September 26, 1983, Petrov was the duty officer at a command center when a nuclear early-warning system reported a missile being launched from the United States. Petrov correctly judged that the report was a false alarm.
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently published on the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

John Attanas worked as a chemical engineer and supervisor for the E.I. DuPont Company during World War II. In his interview, he describes living and working on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, TN and Hanford, WA. He recalls witnessing the Trinity Test and DuPont's attention to radiation safety, as well as working for the Air Force and General Electric after the war. 

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein was the daughter of Elbert Lowdermilk, the contractor whose construction company built roads and utility lines around Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Lowdermilk Honstein describes her father's projects, from building the first road to Los Alamos to successfully maneuvering an "atom smasher" up the hill. She discusses her life in Española and her memories of exploring Los Alamos and the Pueblos. 

Jenny Kimball is the Chairman of the Board of the La Fonda on the Plaza. In this interview, she discusses the rich history of La Fonda, from its establishment in the 1600s through its development as part of the famous Harvey hotel chain to its award-winning status today. She describes the important work of Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, who designed La Fonda and other iconic Harvey hotels. Kimball describes the process of restoring the interior of La Fonda as it looked earlier times. She also notes La Fonda's role as a watering hole for Manhattan Project scientists working in Los Alamos.

With the 75th anniversary of the Manhattan Project upon us, we are delighted to receive a generous $198,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. However, we need your help to  raise $98,000 to meet Murdock's challenge matching requirement. 
With your generous  donation, you  will enable us to capture the recollections of Manhattan Project participants before it is too late and develop interpretive programs on Hanford, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and the Trinity Site. We have an ambitious agenda and every contribution counts!

Thanks very much for your help as we work to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

Atomic Heritage Foundation 
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