The Manhattan Project

Santa Fe, NM

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.

Jon Hunner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly in Los Cruces, New Mexico and it’s December 7, 2017. I have with me John Hunner. The first question for John is to say his name and spell it.

Jon Hunner: My name is Jon Hunner. J-O-N, H-U-N-N-E-R.

Kelly: Jon, just to get some station identification, why don’t  you tell people who you are and what you've been doing professionally for the last thirty years.

Jon Hunner

Dr. Jon Hunner is a Professor of History at New Mexico State University, the author of Inventing Los Alamos, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War and the Atomic West, and a former director of the New Mexico History Museum. In this interview, Hunner provides an overview of life at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, including its takeover of the Los Alamos Ranch School and its relationship with Hispanos and Pueblos in the area.

Curtiss Brennan's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Tuesday, October 17, 2017 and I am in Santa Fe. I have with me Curtiss Thomas Brennan. My first question is to please, say your name and spell it.

Curtiss Brennan: Okay. My name is Curtiss Thomas Brennan and it’s Curtiss, C-U-R-T-I-S-S and Brennan, B-R-E-N-N-A-N.

Kelly:  Perfect. Now we’re sitting in Dorothy McKibbin’s former house. I hope you can enlighten us to something about why she built this house and why she built it the way she did.

Curtiss Brennan

Curtiss Brennan is an American archaeologist who received his PhD in 1978. In the 1970s, he and his wife, Mary, moved next door to Dorothy McKibbin, striking up a friendship with her and eventually becoming the owners of her home when she passed away. Curtiss and his wife currently live in Santa Fe, NM.

John Ruminer's Interview

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?

John Ruminer

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.

Elspeth Bobbs's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is October 12, 2017, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am with Elspeth Bobbs, who has some very interesting stories. But first, I want Elspeth to say her name and spell it.

Elspeth Bobbs: Elspeth. It's Scottish. E-L-S-P-E-T-H.

Kelly: Your married name, last name, Bobbs? 

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