Albert Bartlett: I started school in a little college in Ohio and then I dropped out for a while. Then I applied to transfer to Colgate. I was working on steamboats on the Great Lakes, and I was accepted. A steamboat was coming in to Cleveland, and I just told them I was leaving and going back to college. Of course, the war was on. I was on the first ship the day of Pearl Harbor and so I knew, you know, I was a perfect draft age and I was all registered for the draft.
Cold War Nuclear Tests
Albert Bartlett worked with mass spectrometers at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. He was part of the group that photographed the Operations Crossroads nuclear tests in the Bikini Atoll after the war.
Alexandra Levy: Okay. We’re here in Virginia on March 25, 2015 with Isabella Karle. Our first question is to please state your name and spell it.
Isabella Karle: My name is Isabella Karle, I-S-A-B-E-L-L-A, and the last name, K-A-R-L-E.
Levy: Great. If you could tell us a little bit about where you were born and when?
Karle: I was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 2, 1921.
Levy: Did you grow up in Detroit?
Raemer Schreiber: Yes, there was at least one [bomb core], and people back here worked furiously taking the plutonium as it arrived and converting it into another core. I don’t know the answer to it. I have heard stories another core was on its way out at the time of the surrender.
Richard Rhodes: Groves decided not to ship it. I’ve seen the document.
George Cowan: What you’ve learned from the Russians, for example?
Richard Rhodes: The main thing I have learned is that their first bomb was a carbon copy of Fat Man.
Cowan Cowan: Well of course. I knew that in 1949, about the middle of September of ’49 because we analyzed the debris from that and it was clear that it was a carbon copy.
Alexandra Levy: All right, we are here today on July 18, 2014 in New Jersey with Robert Hayes. My first question for you is to please say your name and to spell it.
Robert Hayes: Robert, R-O-B-E-R-T, E, Hayes, H-A-Y-E-S.
Levy: Can you tell me a little bit about when and where you were born and grew up?
Richard Rhodes: Did David Holloway show you the documents that the Russians published?
Hans Bethe: Not the documents, but I got recent documents like [Yulii] Khariton.
Rhodes: Ah. They also published what [Klaus] Fuchs gave them. And, I have some of it here. I wanted to show you. You may not be able to comment. I think it is probably classified material in the United States.
Bethe: I do not know.
Rhodes: I am working on a book that would try to cover the years ’45 to ’55. I just finished the first 400 pages; it is all the Soviet bomb story, because so much has come available, including the espionage part of it. But, now I would like to get going and just simply try to deal with the development of the hydrogen bomb. And, most of all, I would like to describe the Mike shot, when you guys all came to put that together. But you also worked later, right, on Romeo? What was Romeo?
Richard Rhodes: There are two particular themes that I am interested in that I know you were involved with very much. Anything else that you remember that you would want to talk about would be wonderful. One is the developing of computing. Los Alamos made a major contribution to the development of computing in the world. The other has to do with the period around the invention of the two-stage thermonuclear weapon. Could you talk about your experience with those things?