The Manhattan Project

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

Chicago Met Lab

David P. Rudolph

David R. Rudolph was an administrator in charge of inventory at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory. In his interview, he discusses how he was one of the few individuals to be present at both the startup of Chicago Pile-1 and the Trinity test. Rudolph recalls the process of reactor construction, along with the disassembly of CP-1 for the construction of CP-2. He explains the importance of inventory control when it came to the uranium and graphite blocks used in CP-1, and how he helped discover that a section had not be stacked with enough blocks.

Alexander Langsdorf's Interview

Stephane Groueff: Now it is recording Dr. Langsdorf. If you can tell me in a few words how you got connected with the project and where you came from.

Alexander Langsdorf: Oh, in the first place, as soon as I got my PhD at MIT, I went out to Berkeley as a national research fellow and started to work in Ernest Lawrence’s lab doing nuclear physics, which was a brand new field then, just opening up in 1938.

Groueff: ’38.

Alexander Langsdorf

Dr. Alexander Langsdorf (1912-1996) was an American physicist that worked under Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. He helped design the nuclear reactor Chicago Pile-2, following the success of Chicago Pile-1. Following the war, Langsdorf become an outspoken opponent of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and helped found the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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.

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