The Manhattan Project

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

Chicago Met Lab

Isabella Karle's Interview (2015)

Alexandra Levy: Okay. We’re here in Virginia on March 25, 2015 with Isabella Karle. Our first question is to please state your name and spell it.

Isabella Karle: My name is Isabella Karle, I-S-A-B-E-L-L-A, and the last name, K-A-R-L-E.

Levy: Great. If you could tell us a little bit about where you were born and when?

Karle: I was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 2, 1921.

Levy: Did you grow up in Detroit?

Isabella Karle

Isabella Karle is distinguished chemist and a pioneer in the scientific field of crystallography. Her work on molecular structures has had a sweeping influence across many scientific fields by allowing, for example scientists to study nerve transmissions and aiding chemists in synthesizing pest repellants.

Isabella and her husband, Jerome, joined the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago in 1942. There, she developed techniques to extract plutonium chloride from a mixture of plutonium oxide.


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