The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Stephane Groueff

Richard Baker's Interview

Richard Baker: The first plutonium that, other than the cyclotron that produced plutonium, was made at what was called the Clinton Piles at old X10 down in Oak Ridge. The Chicago Met Lab worked on the micro scale reduction of the metal. This produced rather small quantities but never enough quantities to study its properties in any accurate manner.

Joseph Katz's Interview

Joseph Katz: Now it was recognized that plutonium would have a chemistry that would be quite similar to that of uranium. And developing procedures for the separation of plutonium from irradiated uranium. The assumption that was most commonly made was that the chemistry of plutonium would be similar, if not identical to that of uranium and this, of course was an entirely reasonable assumption to make.

Lew Kowarski's Interview - Part 2

Stephane Groueff: One thing I don’t understand, and it’s a very ignorant question, but what was actually the difference between [Enrico] Fermi’s experiment in ’34 and [Otto] Hahn’s? Because, why do we say that Hahn was the first one, while Fermi also bombarded uranium?

Lew Kowarski: I don’t it’s true to say that Hahn was the first one.

Groueff: It’s not true.

Kowarski: I think it’s one of those simplifications—there are people who find them all right. I don’t.

Lew Kowarski's Interview - Part 1

Kowarski: So born in Leningrad, February, 1907. Father, businessman. Mother had a little career of her own as a singer, but [inaudible]. Father, his business started to be paper, pulp and paper, and then from that he branched off to supplying paper to newspapers and magazines, and from there he branched off into participation in magazines. And so his business gradually grew less and less pulp and more and more literary, if you see what I mean.

Groueff: Yes.

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