The Manhattan Project

Los Alamos, NM

Ben Diven

 

Ben Diven discusses helping set up Los Alamos for the Manhattan Project and working on instrumentation for the atomic bomb. He speaks highly of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s leadership abilities and the colloquium Oppenheimer began to allow all the scientists at Los Alamos to discuss problems and exchange ideas.

Rebecca Bradford Diven

Becky Diven began her work for the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in 1944, where she developed a quartz fiber microbalance to weigh extremely small amounts of plutonium. Diven discusses what it was like for women working at the Manhattan Project and explains her interaction with the wives of male scientists working at Los Alamos. In addition, Diven talks about workers’ relations with the Pueblos, most of whom worked as maids or janitors. 

Jack Aeby

Jack Aeby discusses working with Emilio Segrè at Los Alamos, and being the only person to capture a color photograph of the Trinity atomic bomb test.

Gun Site

The Gun Site (TA-8-1) was where Manhattan Project scientists and engineers developed and tested the gun-type weapon design. The design for the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was developed here.

The gun design was straightforward. Basically, a “bullet” of nuclear material was fired at very high speed into a second nuclear mass, creating a critical mass. This released enormous energy with an immense explosion. Scientists were confident the design would work and the gun-type bomb was not tested before it was used against Japan.

V-Site

Located in a bucolic setting surrounded by tall pines, these humble wooden and asbestos-shingled buildings were where the world's first atomic device was assembled. Here scientists, engineers, and explosives experts worked around the clock on the "Gadget," the first plutonium-based atomic explosive.

Los Alamos Ranch School

In 1918, entrepreneur Ashley Pond began an "outdoor school" at Los Alamos to provide boys a chance to gain health, strength and self-confidence. The Los Alamos Ranch School combined a rigorous outdoor experience with a college preparatory education.

Stirling Auchincloss Colgate

Stirling Auchincloss Colgate was a student at the Los Alamos Ranch School when the site was chosen for use in the Manhattan Project, and he describes the visits of J. Robert Oppenheimer and other project leaders. Mr. Colgate left Los Alamos to go to college and study physics, later working with many of the renowned scientists from the project.

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