The Manhattan Project

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

University of California-Berkeley

Glenn Seaborg

Glenn Seaborg (1912-1999) was an American nuclear chemist and winner of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  

During World War II, much of Seaborg's research was directed toward understanding the chemistry of plutonium. In February 1941, Seaborg and his colleagues produced plutonium-239 through the bombardment of uranium. This experimental achievement proved to be a major contribution in physicists understanding of atomic fission.

Jimmy Vale's Interview

Stephane Groueff: This is Jimmy Vale, the cyclotron of Berkeley, about Dr. Lawrence.

Jimmy Vale: I told these stories to Mr. Herbert Childs, who is writing a biography of Lawrence.

Groueff: Oh, yeah. I have heard about it, but my book will just have a paragraph on Lawrence.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

In this rare interview, J. Robert Oppenheimer talks about the organization of the Manhattan Project and some of the scientists that he helped to recruit during the earliest days of the project. Oppenheimer discusses some of the biggest challenges that scientists faced during the project, including developing a sound method for implosion and purifying plutonium. Oppie recalls his daily routine at Los Alamos, including taking his son to nursery school.

Philip Abelson's Interview (1966)

Philip Abelson: I went to the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the fall of 1935 as a graduate student in the Radiation Laboratory. I had had some background in chemistry. I hadn’t been there more than about six months before [Ernest] Lawrence, one day, suggested to me that I should look into the phenomena accompanying neutron irradiation of uranium.

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