The Manhattan Project

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

Los Alamos, NM

Dimas Chavez

Dimas Chavez was a young child when he moved to Los Alamos with his family for his father to work for the Zia Company on the Manhattan Project. He recalls his struggle to learn English, and the support of his parents and members of the Los Alamos community to help him become fluent. He lived in a small house by Bathtub Row, and sold newspapers to J. Robert Oppenheimer. Social activities included watching wrestling matches, concerts, and riding inner tubes on the Rio Grande. Chavez unwittingly turned down an opportunity to watch the Trinity test.

Warren Nyer's Interview

[At top is the edited version of the interview published by S. L. Sanger in Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995.

For the full transcript that matches the audio of the interview, please scroll down.]

Book version:

Warren Nyer

Warren Nyer was 19, a physics student at Chicago, when he was hired as a research assistant with the Office of Scientific Research and Development, an early part of the bomb-building program. Nyer, although he did not have an undergraduate degree, traveled the circuit of the Plutonium Project: Chicago, Oak Ridge, Hanford, Los Alamos, Trinity. He later became a manage­ment consultant to electric utility firms.

Orville Hill's Interview

[At top is the edited version of the interview published by S. L. Sanger in Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995.

For the full transcript that matches the audio of the interview, please scroll down.]

Book Version:

Orville Hill

Chemist Orville Hill joined the Met Lab at the University of Chicago in May of 1942, three months after it was created. After a stint at Oak Ridge, he went to Hanford in 1944. At Hanford, he worked to improve the plutonium separation process. After the war, he worked at Los Alamos and was tasked with studying bomb debris from the Bikini atomic bomb tests. Eventually, he returned to Hanford looking for a better way to separate plutonium from irradiated uranium. In this interview, he recalls his first days at Chicago and remembers meeting Enrico Fermi.

Marvin Wilkening

Wilkening, a physicist, traveled the Grand Circuit of the Manhattan Project, pursuing his specialty of measuring neutron intensity. He was at the first chain reaction in Chicago, then moved to Oak Ridge, next to Hanford, Los Alamos, and Trinity. Before the Army restricted visitors, he regularly took his New Mexico Tech physics students on field trips to Trinity .

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