The Manhattan Project

Los Alamos, NM

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.

Jon Hunner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly in Los Cruces, New Mexico and it’s December 7, 2017. I have with me John Hunner. The first question for John is to say his name and spell it.

Jon Hunner: My name is Jon Hunner. J-O-N, H-U-N-N-E-R.

Kelly: Jon, just to get some station identification, why don’t  you tell people who you are and what you've been doing professionally for the last thirty years.

Jon Hunner

Dr. Jon Hunner is a Professor of History at New Mexico State University, the author of Inventing Los Alamos, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War and the Atomic West, and a former director of the New Mexico History Museum. In this interview, Hunner provides an overview of life at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, including its takeover of the Los Alamos Ranch School and its relationship with Hispanos and Pueblos in the area.

Richard Garwin's Interview

Richard Garwin: I’m Richard Garwin. Everybody calls me Dick. G-a-r-w-i-n, born April 19, 1928.

Cindy Kelly: Great. So, we’re going to talk first about what you did as a student, and how you got to know Enrico Fermi and got involved in the business of nuclear weapons. We’ll just start with describing your work in the lab at the University of Chicago, and what it was like to work with Enrico Fermi. Or, if you’d like to go back, prelude that with where you’re from and how you got interested in—

Richard Garwin

Richard "Dick" Garwin is an American physicist. He was born in 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio. Garwin has had a long scientific career, focused on invention, conducting research, and advising policymakers and U.S. Presidents. After earning a degree in Physics from Case Western University, Garwin went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. There, he met and studied under Enrico Fermi. Fermi described Garwin as a “true genius.” In 1949, after earning his Ph.D., he taught in the Physics Department at UChicago and worked as a consultant at the Los Alamos laboratory.

John Ruminer's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is October 12, 2017. I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I have with me John Ruminer. I’d like him to say his name and spell it.

John Ruminer: You got it just right. It’s John Ruminer – R-U-M-I-N-E-R.

Kelly: Terrific. John, why don’t you talk about where we are in Santa Fe, and a little bit about the history of this place?

John Ruminer

Dr. John Ruminer is a retired engineer, local historian, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Los Alamos Historical Society.

 Ruminer has spent the majority of his career as an engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He previously worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His work in the labs, as well as his life in New Mexico, led to his interests in 109 East Palace and history.


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