The Manhattan Project

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


Philippe Halban's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, and this is Thursday, December 14, 2017. I’m in Geneva, Switzerland, with Philippe Halban. My first question is for you to tell us your full name and spell it.

Philippe Halban: My name is Philippe Halban. I usually pronounce it the English way. It’s spelled the French way, with two p’s and an e at the end. My mother was French. That explains my first name. I’m delighted to be able to speak with you today about my father.

Kelly: Just one thing. Could you spell Halban?

Philippe Halban

Philippe Halban is a European biologist. His father, Hans Halban, was an Austrian-Jewish physicist who conducted nuclear research with Frédéric Joliot-Curie in France before World War II and later for the Manhattan Project in Britain and Canada. In this interview, Philippe provides an account of his father’s life, including Halban’s family, education, and love of science. He discusses his father’s relationships with fellow scientists, including Francis Perrin, Lew Kowarski, and Joliot-Curie.

Elspeth Bobbs's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is October 12, 2017, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am with Elspeth Bobbs, who has some very interesting stories. But first, I want Elspeth to say her name and spell it.

Elspeth Bobbs: Elspeth. It's Scottish. E-L-S-P-E-T-H.

Kelly: Your married name, last name, Bobbs? 

Joseph Rotblat's Interview

Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with Professor Joseph Rotblat, R-O-T-B-L-A-T, at his office in London. Well it really was quite a production. Seven hours!

Joseph Rotblat: Yes, oh yes, quite a production.

Sherwin: I thought Sam Waterston played a marvelous part.

Rotblat: Who?

Sherwin: The person who played [J. Robert] Oppenheimer.

Sir Rudolf Peierls's Interview

Martin Sherwin: This is Martin Sherwin. I'll be interviewing Sir Rudolf Peierls at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Today's date is June 6th, 1979. 

You first met [J.Robert] Oppenheimer in Zurich in 1929?

Rudolf Peierls: Right, yes.

Sherwin: At that time, I think you mentioned you were working with [Wolfgang] Pauli's group?

Peierls: Yeah.

Sherwin: Who else was there in that group?

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.

Eileen Doxford's Interview

[We would like to thank the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society for donating this interview.]

Interviewer: It is Friday the 22nd of May, 2009 in Lymm speaking to Eileen Doxford at her house. Eileen can you tell me where you were born and some basic things about your family?


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