The Manhattan Project

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

Y-12 Plant

Clarence Larson

Dr. Clarence Larson, a chemist, began working under Ernest O. Lawrence in his lab at the University of California, Berkeley in 1942. In 1943, he moved to Oak Ridge and was appointed head of operations for Union Carbide. He later served as director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and as a commissioner on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. During the Manhattan Project, Larson designed a process to recover and purify uranium deposits from the walls of calutron receivers at the Y-12 Plant.

Marge Shipley's Interview

Marge Shipley: As for housing, men would come too, because they would feel that they would get sent for their wives.

Shirely Tawse: What would you do then, take it up with the Tennessee Eastman?

Shipley: I would take it up with Eastman and do what I could. I’d quiet them down if I could. If I saw no reason for their squawks and thought I couldn’t do any better, I’d try to be as diplomatic as I could. I never was cross with anyone.

Marge Shipley

As a counselor at Oak Ridge, Marge Shipley was repsonsible for listening to and mediating the frustrations and anxieties of the female mechanics and operators working in the Y-12 plant. She was trained after her husband, an engineer, accepted a research position with Tennessee Eastman, and she held her position until the end of the war.

Patricia Hansard

Patricia Hansard worked as a “cubicle girl” in the Y-12 Plant from 1943 until the end of the war. Despite not knowing the purpose of her job, she was one of the many women tasked with monitoring the calutron machines essential to uranium production.

Martin Skinner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy, and I’m in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, today. It is January 21, 2015, and I have with me Martin J. Skinner, Sr. The first question I’m going to ask him, though, is to say his name and spell it.

Martin Skinner: Oh, really. Martin Skinner, M-A-R-T-I-N. Last name Skinner, S-K-I-N-N-E-R.

Martin Skinner

Martin Skinner was born and raised in Michigan, just outside of Detroit. He was trained in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University before joining the army. During WWII, Skinner worked in the Beta 3 Building in the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Skinner worked as a troubleshooter for the Calutrons in the Beta 3 Building.

Robert Thornton

Robert Lyste Thornton was a Canadian-American physicist who oversaw the constuction and operation of the Beta calutron electromagnetic separation Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the Manhattan Project.

Thornton joined the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley in 1933 and worked with Ernest Lawrence on the construction of several cyclotrons. In 1940, Thornton left Berkeley to help build a cyclotron at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also taught as an associate professor of physics.


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