The Manhattan Project

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

Chicago Met Lab

Robert R. Wilson's Interview

Owen Gingerich: This is an interview between Owen Gingerich and Robert Wilson. You use your middle initial. It’s Robert R.?

Robert Wilson: Yes, usually.

Gingerich: Robert R. Wilson, who is a builder of high energy accelerators and who was one of the physicists at Los Alamos. We are speaking today in Philadelphia, where we both happen to be for the American Philosophical Society. It’s April 22. No, it’s Shakespeare’s birthday. It’s April 23. That’s the documentation for the day.

Robert R. Wilson

Robert R. Wilson was an American physicist. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where he first met Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer recruited Wilson and his entire group at Princeton to work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos on the cyclotron. After arriving at Los Alamos in 1944, Wilson became head of the Research Division. After the war, he became one of the few scientists to speak out against the bomb, and he helped organize the Association of Los Alamos Scientists (ALAS), which called for the international control of atomic energy.

Marvin Wilkening's Interview (1995)

[Many thanks to Thomas Scanlan for recording and donating this interview to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Thomas Scanlan: —Is part of an interview, which I held with Professor Marvin Wilkening at his home on Socorro, New Mexico on July 15, 1995. 

Now, I was reading that you had worked at four different places associated with the Manhattan Project.

Marvin Wilkening: That’s right.

Scanlan: Was your first work with [Enrico] Fermi at Chicago?

Mildred Goldberger's Interview

Martin Sherwin: You must have met the Oppenheimers when Murph [her husband, Marvin Goldberger] met them?

Mildred Goldberger: No.

Sherwin: No?

Goldberger: No, Murph met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer quite early on, I think. Not during the war. But he was an early invitee to the Rochester Conferences. I am sure Oppenheimer was there. In any case, they were known to one another.

Sherwin: Right, I had known that in ’48—

Goldberger: Yeah, right.

Marvin Goldberger's Interview

Martin Sherwin: President Goldberger, Marvin Goldberger of California Institute of Technology at Caltech in Pasadena, March 28, 1983. This is Martin Sherwin.

This is something obviously I should have done three years ago back in Princeton when you had more time, etc.

Marvin Goldberger: That’s all right. I have plenty of time.

Sherwin: You first met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer after the war, right?

Marvin Goldberger

Marvin "Murph" Goldberger (1922-2014) was an American physicist who became President of Caltech and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Goldberger's academic career began in 1943 when he received a B.S. in physics from Carnegie Mellon. A member of the Army Special Engineer Detachment (SED,) he ended up at the Metallurgical Lab at the University of Chicago soon after. He spent two years working at the Met Lab as part of the Manhattan Project. 

Henry DeWolf Smyth

Henry DeWolf Smyth (1898-1986) was an American physicist, diplomat, and bureaucrat.

During World War II, Smyth was a member of the National Defense Research Committee’s Uranium Section, producing fissile material for the bomb. He also proposed the electromagnetic methods that were used to enrich the first samples of U-235 during the Manhattan Project. Smyth worked as a consultant for the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1945 and served as an associate director of the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory.

Walter Zinn

Walter Zinn (1906-2000) was a Canadian-American nuclear physicist.

Zinn was born in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1906 and graduated from Queens University in 1927.

He received his M.A. from Queens University in 1930 and went on to receive his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1934.

Roslyn Robinson's Interview

Dan Robinson: I’m Dan Robinson recording this oral history for the Atomic Heritage Foundation on April 1st, 2016, here in Levittown, Pennsylvania.

Roslyn: My name is Roslyn Robinson. At times I use the initial “D,” because at one time there was another Roslyn Robinson and the mail was being mixed up. So, I’m either Roslyn D. Robinson or Roslyn Robinson.

Dan: What is your place and date of birth? Where were you born and what date?

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