Robert Christy studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer at the University of California, Berkeley while earning his PhD in theoretical physics. He joined the Manhattan Project in February 1942 at the University of Chicago, and later relocated to Los Alamos when Oppenheimer personally recruited him on a visit to Chicago. At Los Alamos, Christy worked on the design of the water-boiler reactor. He was then recruited into the implosion group, where he designed the Christy gadget, the solid-core design of the plutonium bomb. He also witnessed the Trinity test.
Roger Rasmussen: Hi, I am Roger Rasmussen. That is R-A-S-M-U-S-S-E-N. I am the son of Rasmus. That is what it means. It is Danish. My dad came from Denmark.
Cindy Kelly: When were you born?
Roger Rasmussen was an electrical engineer at Los Alamos and a member of the Special Engineer Detachment. During the Trinity test, he was assigned to evacuate local civilians if necessary. After the war, Rasmussen had a long career at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In this interview, he recounts his arrival at Los Alamos and details his memories of the Trinity test. He also discusses his postwar work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and recalls how Manhattan Project veterans were perceived after the war.
Walter Goodman: My name is Walter Goodman and I was born in 1922, which is a very long time ago. I was particularly interested in engineering and in the military from the time I was a young boy. When I did get into the service, I ended up continuing in school, and finished electrical engineering.
Walter Goodman was recruited into the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos in 1943. Goodman worked as an electrical engineer on the implosion bomb and helped design equipment to measure the efficiency of an atomic blast. In July 1945, Goodman deployed to Tinian Island to help prepare the Fat Man bomb to be dropped on Japan. On August 9, 1945, he witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki from the instrumentation aircraft The Great Artiste and took motion pictures of the mushroom cloud above the city.
Martin Sherwin: This is an interview with Hans Bethe in his office at Newman Hall, Cornell University, May 5, 1982. This is Martin Sherwin.
Sherwin: I’m glad I caught this. Basically, you were surprised that Kyoto had been selected and at these meetings, that the Target Committee had been held in the Oppenheimer’s office.
Stephane Groueff: Recording Dr. Rudolph.
David R. Rudolph was an administrator in charge of inventory at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory. In his interview, he discusses how he was one of the few individuals to be present at both the startup of Chicago Pile-1 and the Trinity test. Rudolph recalls the process of reactor construction, along with the disassembly of CP-1 for the construction of CP-2. He explains the importance of inventory control when it came to the uranium and graphite blocks used in CP-1, and how he helped discover that a section had not be stacked with enough blocks.
[Thanks to Ronald K. Smeltzer for donating the record "To Fermi with Love" to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]
Robert S. Norris: The first thing we should do is to identify yourself.