Gordon Fee is the retired president of Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and the former manager of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, TN. He began working at Oak Ridge at the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in 1956. In this interview, he describes his career at Oak Ridge, and shares stories about his work at Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In particular, he focuses on scientific developments connected with Oak Ridge, including the growth of the Nuclear Navy, the use of radioisotopes in medicine, and more. He also discusses the challenges of trying to explain Oak Ridge’s complex history to the public.
Justin Baba is a researcher and biomedical engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Born in Nigeria, he moved to the United States to attend college and has worked at ORNL since 2003. In this interview, Baba explains how he became interested in science and medical research. He also describes some of the projects he has worked on at ORNL, including efforts to create functional imaging of the brain and imaging of plants as part of research into renewable energy sources.
Budhendra “Budhu” Bhaduri is a Corporate Research Fellow and group leader of the Geographic Information Science and Technology Group in the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He has worked at ORNL since 1998. In this interview, Dr. Bhaduri describes how his group researches global population dynamics, including studying population distribution and movement from rural areas to cities. He explains how Oak Ridge became involved in population research, and expresses his hopes for how geographic data can be used to improve living conditions for people around the world.
Adam Rondinone is an electrochemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In this interview, Rondinone details how his childhood interest in science and Oak Ridge’s “user facilities” program led him to a job at the Laboratory. He describes several of his team’s innovations in nanotechnology, including the development of new types of energy storage and conversion systems based on nanotechnology. Rondinone also explains why he believes publicly funded science benefits society as a whole.
Shigeko Uppuluri was born in Kyoto, Japan and lived in Shanghai, China during World War II. She came to the United States for graduate school, where she met her husband, mathematician Ram Uppuluri. The couple moved to Oak Ridge, TN in 1963. In this interview, Uppuluri tells the story of the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell, a symbol of peace and reconciliation between Japan and the United States. She describes how she and her husband launched the effort to build the Bell, the opposition they faced, and the new Peace Pavilion for the Bell in Oak Ridge’s Bissell Park.
Roger Cloutier was born in North Attleborough, Massachusetts in 1930. After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, he pursued a career in health physics. In 1959, he moved to Oak Ridge to work for ORINS, the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (now Oak Ridge Associated Universities, or ORAU), and went on to serve as director of ORAU’s Professional Training Programs. In this interview, Cloutier recalls his career at ORAU and describes the medical innovations he was a part of, including advances in the use of radioisotopes to treat disease. He gives a history of other programs at ORAU, and explains how ORINS was started at the suggestion of Manhattan Project physicist Katharine Way.
Liane B. Russell is a renowned geneticist. Born in Vienna, Austria, she and her family managed to flee the country after its annexation by Nazi Germany. After moving to the United States, Russell became interested in biological research. In 1947, she and her husband, William L. Russell, moved to Oak Ridge. In this interview, Russell explains her experiments on the effects of radiation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Mouse House,” including the discovery that the Y chromosome is sex-determining. She describes her work with the environmental movement and the efforts of Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, which she co-founded. She also recalls winning the Enrico Fermi Award from the Department of Energy and a visit to communist East Germany in the 1980s.
Patricia “Pat” Postma arrived in Oak Ridge in 1943 when her father was recruited to join the Manhattan Project. She grew up in Oak Ridge and was a professor in the College of Business at the University of Tennessee. In this interview, she discusses her involvement in the effort to build Oak Ridge’s International Friendship Bell, a symbol of peace and reconciliation between the US and Japan. She discusses what the bell represents and some of the initial opposition to it. She also reflects on how living in Oak Ridge has shaped her and how she believes the “bell speaks to the values of this town.”
Robert Carter spent a year and a half as a graduate student at Purdue University before being recruited to work for the Manhattan Project. At Los Alamos, Carter’s team, which included his close friend Joan Hinton, worked on the research reactor. Eventually, Carter and Hinton came to work closely with Enrico Fermi, who became a mentor and friend to the two of them. Carter fondly recounts his dinners and hikes with Hinton and Fermi, both at Los Alamos and after. After the war, Carter enrolled in graduate courses at University of Illinois before returning to Los Alamos for fifteen years. For the rest of his career, Carter worked for various government agencies before retiring. Carter also discusses his friend Harry Daghlian and advising prominent physicist George Gamow on a project.
Hélène Langevin-Joliot is a French nuclear physicist. She is the granddaughter of Nobel Prize winning physicists Marie and Pierre Curie and the daughter of Nobel Prize winners Irène and Frederic Joliot-Curie. In this interview, she discusses the challenges Marie and Pierre overcame to study science, and their scientific collaboration that led to their discovery of polonium and radium. Langevin-Joliot discusses her parents’ contributions to the global development of nuclear physics during the 1930s, their decision to remain in France during the Nazi Occupation, and Frederic’s role leading the postwar French Atomic Energy Commission. Langevin-Joliot concludes by addressing her own experiences in the field of nuclear physics, particularly the difficulties of being a woman in science.