The Manhattan Project

Y-12 Plant

Gordon Fee's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Thursday, April 26, 2018, and I have with me Gordon Fee. Gordon, first, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you happened to come to Oak Ridge and what you’ve done here.

Ruth Huddleston's Interview

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg, and I am here recording this oral history interview for the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is April 25, 2018. I am here with Ruth Huddleston. If you could start by saying your full name and spelling it, please.

Ruth Huddleston: Ruth Huddleston, H-U-D-D-L-E-S-T-O-N.

Weisenberg: Let’s begin at the beginning. Can you tell me about when and where you were born?

Ruth Huddleston

Ruth Huddleston was born in Windrock, Tennessee. During the Manhattan Project, she got a job at Oak Ridge as a cubicle operator or “Calutron girl” at the Y-12 Plant. In this interview, she recounts her experiences at Y-12. She describes the bus ride to Oak Ridge, operating the calutrons, and the emphasis on secrecy. She recalls how she had mixed feelings after learning about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and talks about her career as a teacher and guidance counselor.

Thomas Mason's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Thursday, April 21 [misspoke: April 19], 2018, and I’m in Columbus, Ohio with Thom Mason. My first question to him is to say his full name and spell it.

Thomas Mason: My name’s Thomas Mason. T-H-O-M-A-S M-A-S-O-N.

Kelly: The first thing I wanted to have you tell us about is yourself. Where you were born, what kind of education you had, and why you became a scientist.

Thomas Mason

Thomas (Thom) Mason is the President and CEO of Triad National Security, LLC and the director designate of Los Alamos National Laboratory. A condensed matter physicist, he previously served as the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 2007-2017, and as Senior Vice President for Global Laboratory Operations at Battelle. In this interview, Mason describes some of the major scientific projects at Oak Ridge from the Manhattan Project to today, including the Spallation Neutron Source, nuclear reactor development, scientific computing, and nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

Virginia Coleman's Interview

[Note: This interview contains graphic descriptions of a car accident and a discussion of sexual abuse.]

Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I am here with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. We’re in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It is Wednesday, April 25, 2018, and I am here with Virginia Coleman. My first question for you is if you could please say your name and spell it. 

Virginia Coleman

Virginia S. Coleman grew up in Louisburg, North Carolina. She was a chemist at the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project, and was one of the women featured in Denise Kiernan’s book “The Girls of Atomic City.” In this interview, she remembers arriving at Oak Ridge and her wait in the “bullpen” until she could be cleared to work there. Coleman describes the projects she was involved with and remembers some of her colleagues. She also describes riding the bus at Oak Ridge and her experiences as a social worker after the war.

William K. Coors's Interview

Coors: I was born here in Golden, Colorado, and I can’t recall any particular fascination as a child that I had in science.

Kelly:  How about who was your grandfather, and what was his business?

Coors: My grandfather was Adolph Coors, Sr. He had a small brewery in Golden, Colorado.

Kelly:  Did your father work for your grandfather on the brewery? Was your father part of the business?

Coors: My father ran the business. He was in total charge.

Donald Ross's Interview

Donald Ross: My name is Donald Ross, and I am about to begin my eightieth year on this planet. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I left there with my parents at an early age. We moved to the southern tip of Texas, and had a little farm not too far from Edinburg, Texas, where I grew up.

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