The Manhattan Project

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

Oral Histories

AnthonyP French

Anthony French's Interview (1992)

Anthony French is a British Physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. After graduating from Cambridge University, French began working on the British effort to build an atomic bomb, codenamed "Tube Alloys", at the Cavendish Laboratory. By 1944, Tube Alloys merged with the Manhattan Project and French was sent to Los Alamos. French recounts his time in Los Alamos, working alongside physicists such as Egon Bretscher.

Herb Depke

Herb Depke's Interview

Herb Depke arrived in Hanford in 1943 after his father was transferred by the DuPont Company to work as an expediter during the Manhattan Project. Depke recalls some of his childhood memories of Hanford, including getting lost in the uniform, prefabricated housing development on his way home from the school bus stop. Depke also discusses how he believes the atomic bomb saved his father’s life, as he was being trained as a Port Director for the impending invasion of Japan.

Lawrence Antos

Lawrence Antos' Interview

Lawrence Antos was a member of the Military Police at Los Alamos. He checked the passes of civilians entering and exiting Los Alamos. He talks about the sports team Los Alamos residents played on for fun, and recalls the reaction of the soldiers to the Trinity Test and the atomic bombings of Japan.

Roy Glauber & Priscilla McMillan on Oppenheimer

Roy Glauber & Priscilla McMillan on Oppenheimer

In this conversation, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roy Glauber and Oppenheimer biographer Priscilla McMillan discuss how J. Robert Oppenheimer changed over the years.

Roy Glauber

Roy Glauber's Interview (2013)

Roy Glauber was just eighteen years old when he was selected to leave his studies at Harvard to join the work of the Los Alamos Laboratory on the Manhattan Project. He journeyed from Stanta Fe Station in Lamy, New Mexico in a car with John von Neumann. Glauber worked in the theoretical division under Hans Bethe, and talks about Edward Teller, Richard Feynman, Stanislaus Ulam, and other luminaries. Glauber went on to become a leader in physics, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005 for his work on quantum optics. He also talks about his early interest in astronomy and physics, cultivated by clubs and teachers.

Ellen Bradbury Reid

Ellen Bradbury Reid's Interview

Ellen Bradbury Reid moved to Los Alamos in the summer of 1944 when her father was hired by Norris Bradbury to work in the high explosives division. Reid recalls what it was like growing up as a child at Los Alamos and shares stories about her adventures into the Los Alamos hillside with her younger brother. She also shares memories of attending school in Los Alamos and discusses the diversity of the student body. On occasion, Reid even encountered famous scientists working on the atomic bomb, including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller.

Irenee Dupont's Interview

Irénée du Pont, Jr.'s Interview (2003)

Irénée du Pont, Jr. is a member of the storied du Pont family and the son of the President (1919 to 1925) of the the DuPont Company's predecessor, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. The DuPont Company played a crucial role in the Manhattan Project; in 1942, DuPont was enlisted to design and build the project facilities at Hanford, including the B Reactor. Du Pont served as a member of the company's Executive Committee. His second oldest sister, Margaretta, also married Crawford Greenewalt, a famous Manhattan Project scientist and chemical engineer who served as liaison between the Met Lab physicists and the DuPont engineers working on the B Reactor. In this interview, Du Pont discusses how Greenewalt first became involved with his sister and his family, and recounts stories of his father and the secrecy of the Manhattan Project.

Marilyn Hanna's Interview

Marilyn Hanna's Interview

Marilyn Hanna was born on a farm in Spencer, South Dakota, and was trained as a clerk typist. She worked for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge and later for the Security and Patent divisions in Washington, DC. She remembers meeting General Leslie Groves and Glenn Seaborg, as well as an accidental meeting with Admiral Hyman Rickover while stuck in traffic, which resulted in Rickover offering her and her friends doughnuts.

Gladys Evans' Interview

Gladys Evans' Interview

Gladys Evans, who worked as a “Calutron” or “Cubicle” girl at the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge, discusses her talks her experience working in the plant and the ever-present security and secrecy concerns. She recalls the mud that plagued every Oak Ridger, and on a more fun note, the tennis court dances where couples could enjoy a date. She speaks with pride about her generation's participation in the war effort.

Reba Holmberg's Interview

Reba Holmberg's Interview

After studying at the University of Tennessee, Reba Holmberg went to work at the Y-12 Plant at Oak Ridge. The government evicted her family from their farm to use the land for the Manhattan Project, and she describes the situation of the people dispossessed following the government’s land seizure. She discusses working at the Y-12 Plant and living in the “Secret City.”