The Manhattan Project

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

Princeton University

Mildred Goldberger's Interview

Martin Sherwin: You must have met the Oppenheimers when Murph [her husband, Marvin Goldberger] met them?

Mildred Goldberger: No.

Sherwin: No?

Goldberger: No, Murph met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer quite early on, I think. Not during the war. But he was an early invitee to the Rochester Conferences. I am sure Oppenheimer was there. In any case, they were known to one another.

Sherwin: Right, I had known that in ’48—

Goldberger: Yeah, right.

Mildred Goldberger

Mildred Goldberger was an American mathematician and economist. 

She worked at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago during the Manhattan Project. 

She was married to Marvin “Murph” Goldberger, a physicist who taught at Princeton during J. Robert Oppenheimer’s tenure as Director of the Institute for Advanced Study. The Goldbergers would eventually become President and First Lady of CalTech.

Marvin Goldberger's Interview

Martin Sherwin: President Goldberger, Marvin Goldberger of California Institute of Technology at Caltech in Pasadena, March 28, 1983. This is Martin Sherwin.

This is something obviously I should have done three years ago back in Princeton when you had more time, etc.

Marvin Goldberger: That’s all right. I have plenty of time.

Sherwin: You first met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer after the war, right?

Marvin Goldberger

Marvin "Murph" Goldberger (1922-2014) was an American physicist who became President of Caltech and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Goldberger's academic career began in 1943 when he received a B.S. in physics from Carnegie Mellon. A member of the Army Special Engineer Detachment (SED,) he ended up at the Metallurgical Lab at the University of Chicago soon after. He spent two years working at the Met Lab as part of the Manhattan Project. 

Verna Hobson's Interview - Part 1

Martin Sherwin: Today is July 31, 1979. This is an interview with Verna Hobson in New Gloucester, Maine.

I think the best way to proceed is probably to start with when you first met [J. Robert] Oppenheimer and how you got the job.

Verna Hobson: Okay. We were living in Princeton. My husband commuted to New York, and we had two little children. I was beginning to think about when I could go back to work or maybe take some more training. In other words, getting on with my own life.

Sherwin: This was when?

Henry DeWolf Smyth

Henry DeWolf Smyth (1898-1986) was an American physicist, diplomat, and bureaucrat.

During World War II, Smyth was a member of the National Defense Research Committee’s Uranium Section, producing fissile material for the bomb. He also proposed the electromagnetic methods that were used to enrich the first samples of U-235 during the Manhattan Project. Smyth worked as a consultant for the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1945 and served as an associate director of the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory.

John DeWire's Interview

Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with John DeWire at Cornell University in his office at Newman Hall 228, Newman. Today is May 5, 1982.   

You were with Robert Wilson’s group from Princeton that was recruited by [J. Robert] Oppenheimer in ’43, right? Late ’43, was it?

John DeWire: Early ’43.

Sherwin: Early ’43.

DeWire: I went to Princeton in February ’42.

Sherwin: From where?

John De Wire

John De Wire was a physicist who was recruited by J. Robert Oppenheimer to work on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. In this interview, De Wire discusses how he was recruited, the move to Los Alamos, the organization and administration at Los Alamos, and the unusual speed with which scientists could procure items. He explains how he came to work at Princeton, and his involvement after the war in opposing Lewis Strauss’s nomination for Secretary of Commerce. He recalls what made Oppenheimer such an effective leader. 

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