The Manhattan Project

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

Stephane Groueff

20th Anniversary of the Atomic Age

Interviewer: December 2, 1962 marks the twentieth anniversary of the first nuclear chain reaction achieved at the University of Chicago. That day a group of scientists, led by the late Dr. Enrico Fermi, operated man’s first atomic reactor. The occasion ushered in the atomic age. Present at that historic moment was Dr. Norman Hilberry former director of Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. This is how he explains his part in that day.

K.T. Keller's Interview - Part 1

Keller: My father was a very poor boy. And, in fact, their family had been broken up when he was eleven years of age. And he was indentured to a Mennonite preacher farmer in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania who raised him. And when he was twenty, he went into business as a horse dealer in the town.

Groueff: Your father was a poor man?

Keller: Yes.

Groueff: And not educated?

John Wheeler's Interview (1965)

Stephane Groueff: So I think the best thing is just talk. So if you want to start from the beginning and tell me a little bit about yourself, Dr. Wheeler, and where you come from and a few words about your career, and how you happen to get involved with the atomic project.

John Wheeler: Well I would say that my most important decision I ever took was to go to work with Niels Bohr. I remember writing the fellowship application when I was twenty-one years old to go to work with him because—

Dorothy McKibbin's Interview (1965)

Stephane Groueff: If you can tell me even before you came here briefly, your life before and how you happened to be here.

McKibbin: Well, I was brought up in Kansas City, and went to Smith College and traveled a great deal with my father after my graduation, through Europe, through Alaska, through South America.

Groueff: So, your father was—

McKibbin: A lawyer in Kansas City.

Crawford Greenewalt's Interview

Crawford Greenewalt: My first contact was to go out to Chicago with a very large group of people and I have forgotten how many there were, perhaps fifteen or twenty as I recall, it may have been less than that. That is surely in the record too, where we were all exposed to this Chicago development.

Stephane Groueff: By whom?

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