Andrew Hanson is the son of Alfred Hanson and Henry Frisch is the son of David Frisch. Alfred and David were both physicists who worked on the Van de Graaff long tank, first at the University of Wisconsin and then at Los Alamos. Both physicists were using the long tank to measure neutron cross sections in plutonium. In this interview with Robert S. Norris, Frisch and Hanson discuss their father’s work at Los Alamos and relay a number of anecdotes their parents told them about life at Los Alamos.
[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for misspellings and other errors.]
General Leslie R. Groves: All right now what else is there?
Kai Bird: Let us begin at the beginning and I think the viewers of this will want to know first about your own background. What year were you born?
Bob Carter: I was born in 1920 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bird: On what day?
Carter: February 3, 1920.
Bird: Okay, 1920, what was sort of before modern physics, quantum physics was invented as such.
Bob Carter is an American physicist who joined the Manhattan Project first at Purdue and then at Los Alamos. He worked in a group that was assigned to create an operating nuclear reactor that ran on enriched uranium.
Raemer Schreiber: I think the only point that is of any interest in this regard to pick up is perhaps the fact that the group of us who came here to work on the so-called water boil reactor had been working together at Purdue University on the very first measurements of the so-called deuterium tritium cross sections, which has to do with the fusion reaction. This eventually was used in bombs, but not for many years, and it is, of course, the basis for present attempts to create energy by controlled thermonuclear reactions or fusion reactions.
Alexandra Levy: All right. We are here on April 23, 2015 with Mr. Rex Edward Keller. So first, can you please say your name and spell it.
Rex Keller: Oh, Rex Edward Keller, R-E-X E-D-W-A-R-D, Keller, K-E-L-L-E-R.
Levy: Can you tell me where and when you were born?
Keller: I was born in Saxton, Missouri, October 10, 1923.
Levy: And you grew up in Missouri?
Keller: Yes, yes, in Dexter, Missouri.
Murray Peshkin: Well, how did I get involved in the Manhattan Project? I was an undergraduate student at Cornell University. A group of about ten, who were studying physics. It was clear that we could not be kept out of the Army very long. They were looking for programs in which we could serve usefully. I really believed that there was something else behind it.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation and this is Friday, April 10, 2015. We’re at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I have Hans Courant with me, and the first question for him is please tell us your name and spell it.
Hans Courant: My name is Hans Courant, and it’s spelled C-o-u-r-a-n-t. It’s French for running, Courant, c’est moi.
Kelly: Right. So, are you a runner?
*[Please note that General Groves - Part 10 could not be found in the Groueff Collection. The interview was either mislabeled, misplaced, or does not exist.]