The Manhattan Project

Los Alamos, NM

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein's Interview

Willie Atencio: What were the circumstances that you came to the Española area?

Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein: Well, the very first thing was my father, Elbert Lowdermilk, got the contract to build the first road to Los Alamos in 1943. That’s how I came. In ’43 I would maybe have been 15 years old. We spent the summers with my father. I was still in school in Denver. That’s how I got to New Mexico.

Benjamin Bederson

Benjamin Bederson, a New York native, was selected to serve in the Special Engineering Detachment during the Manhattan Project. A physicist, he was first sent to Oak Ridge, and then to Los Alamos, where he worked for Donald Hornig on designing the ignition switches for the implosion bomb. At Los Alamos, he knew Ted Hall and David Greenglass, who were secretly sending atomic bomb secrets to the USSR. Bederson instructed the 509th Composite Group at Wendover and was sent to Tinian to help wire the switches for the bomb.

Inge-Juliana Sackmann Christy

Inge-Juliana Sackmann Christy is a physicist and author. Sackmann Christy was born in 1942 in Germany. In the 1950s, she immigrated with her family to Canada. Later, she earned a B.A. in Physics, an M.A. in Astronomy, and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Toronto. Then from 1968 to 1970 she continued her education through a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Research Council Canada. She competed research at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen and the Max-Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics.

Siegfried Hecker's Interview (2018)

Cindy Kelly: It is Monday, May 14. I am in Palo Alto at Stanford University. I have with me Siegfried Hecker, and I would like him to say his name and spell it, please.

Siegfried Hecker: I am Siegfried Hecker. S-I-E-G-F-R-I-E-D H-E-C-K-E-R.

Kelly:  Great. Now, we have a very big agenda for you today in terms of the topics, but let’s start with who you are. Tell us a little bit about where you were born and when and your early childhood and how you became interested in science.

Richard Rhodes' Interview (2018)

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Tuesday, November 27, 2018, and I have with me Richard Rhodes. My first question for him is to please say his name and spell it.

Richard Rhodes: Richard Rhodes, R-h-o-d-e-s.

Kelly:  Okay. Richard wants to share some of his expertise on the history of the Manhattan Project and its legacy—which is wonderful. Why don’t we start with Robert Oppenheimer and talk about what was going on with this very enigmatic character—who is often a central figure.

Raymond Sheline's Lecture

[Many thanks to Jonathan Sheline for donating this video to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Raymond Sheline: This talk today gives me a certain amount of anxiety, because it’s different than any other chemistry talk I’ve ever given. First of all, it’s kind of autobiographical, and that’s always a little embarrassing. Secondly, it’s maybe more nearly the history of science than science itself. However, it is appropriate, because we’re just fifty years since the testing and dropping of the atom bomb in 1945.

Raymond Sheline

Raymond Sheline was a chemist at Columbia University and a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.

Sheline received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1949 and was a professor at Florida State University for 48 years. Among other accomplishments, he helped establish a nuclear chemistry lab at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and published more than 400 scientific papers. He died on February 10, 2016 in Fort Meyers, FL.


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