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.
Los Alamos, NM
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?
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.
Nate Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg, and I’m here with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Thursday, October 12, 2017, and I am here with Mr. Al Zeltmann at his home in Los Alamos. My first question for you is if you could please say your name and spell it.
Al Zeltmann grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After being drafted into the Army during World War II, he was assigned to the Special Engineer Detachment and arrived at Los Alamos in 1944. After the war, he stayed at Los Alamos, and worked as a physical chemist at the Los Alamos laboratory for nearly 40 years.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It’s October 12th, 2017. I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With me is Jennet Conant. My first question for Jennet is to tell me your name and spell it.
Jennet Conant: My name is Jennet Conant, J-E-N-N-E-T C-O-N-A-N-T.
Willie Atencio: The first thing we need to know is, where were you born?
Dick Money: In Chicago.
Atencio: Okay, you were born in Chicago. What part of Chicago?
Money: South Side.
Atencio: South Side. Tell us a little bit about your parents.
Money: My father was a civil engineer. He had a company that built grain elevators. He was educated at Armour Institute, which later became Illinois Tech in Chicago. A wonderful man, of course.
Richard "Dick" Money was a chemist. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, where he was introduced to the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory. He was hired by the Met Lab and sent to work for Clinton Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN during the Manhattan Project. He went on to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory for many years and then became a science and math teacher. In his interview, Money discusses how he became involved in the Manhattan Project and his jobs and responsibilities while working in these secret labs.
Elberta Lowdermilk Honstein was the daughter of Elbert Lowdermilk, the contractor whose construction company built roads and utility lines around Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. In this interview, Lowdermilk Honstein describes her father’s projects, from building the first road to Los Alamos to successfully maneuvering an “atom smasher” up the hill. She discusses her life in Española and her memories of exploring Los Alamos and the Pueblos. She also describes her relationship with her father.
[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]
Willie Atencio: Mr. John Wickersham, we’re trying to interview you and get information from you, because you were at Los Alamos. You were there while the bomb was being developed.
John Wickersham: Oh, yeah. But I don’t know nothing about that.
Atencio: Your first name, ma’am?
Margaret (Marge) Wickersham: I’m Margaret.