The Manhattan Project

Oak Ridge, TN

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.

Lawrence S. O'Rourke

Lawrence S. O’Rourke began working on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University after he was called up from the Army Reserves in 1944. O’Rourke was among the first group of SEDs who worked at Columbia, where he helped research and develop the gaseous diffusion process for the separation of uranium. After nine months, O’Rourke’s group moved from the Pupin Physics Lab to the Nash Garage Building, where they helped develop the barrier material that would be used at the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge.

Thomas Cormier's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018. I have with me Tom Cormier. First question is please say your full name and spell it.

Thomas Cormier: Tom Cormier, C-o-r-m-i-e-r.

Kelly: Perfect. Okay, my first question to everybody has been to tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, when you were born, your education and how you came to be a scientist.

Thomas Cormier

Thomas Cormier is a nuclear physicist who leads the Large Hadron Collider Heavy Ion Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In this interview, Cormier describes how he became interested in science at a young age. He then discusses his work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on experiments such as ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment). Cormier underscores the importance of such testing, explaining how it offers insight into the formation of our universe.

TJ Paulus's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and today is Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. I have with me TJ Paulus. My first question for you is to say your full name and spell it.

TJ Paulus: Sure. Thomas Joseph Paulus. The last name is like the boy’s name Paul, P-a-u-l-u-s.

Kelly:  Great. The first thing I want to know about is something about you—your childhood, where you were born and when.

TJ Paulus

TJ Paulus is an electrical engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In this interview, he discusses how he first became interested in science as a child. Paulus describes research he has conducted over the course of his career in nuclear instrumentation and electronics, including on nuclear reactor reflood studies and positron imaging for medical purposes.

Eric Pierce's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and I’m in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I have Eric Pierce, and my first question for Eric is to please say your name and spell it.

Eric Pierce: My name is Eric Pierce, and that’s E-r-i-c, Pierce, P-i-e-r-c-e.

Kelly: Great. Thank you.

Pierce: You’re welcome.

Eric Pierce

Eric Pierce is a senior scientist and leader of the Earth Sciences Group in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Born in New Orleans, Pierce has a Ph.D in low-temperature geochemistry from Tulane University. In this interview, Pierce describes some of the work of his team at Oak Ridge, including how contaminants and energy production byproducts such as mercury move through the environment.

Zane Bell's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018. I am in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with Zane Bell. My first question to you is to say your full name and spell it.

Zane Bell: Zane Bell. Zulu, Alpha, November, Echo,  Bravo, Echo, Lima, Lima.

Kelly: Okay, good. First, I want to know something about you and your childhood—where you are from, and how you got to be interested in science.

Zane Bell

Zane Bell is a senior scientist and physicist who works in radiation detection and scintillator development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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