Rosen: Well, my name is Louis Rosen. I was born in New York City, not the best part of the city. I’m now almost eighty-five years old. My parents were immigrants from Poland. They were escaping from the pogroms, which were taking place with the Russian Cossacks coming in and raiding villages, especially where Jews where plentiful. My father came over here in about 1909. My mother—they were girl and boyfriends in the old country—came over two years later.
Louis Rosen, a native New Yorker and the son of Polish immigrants, was personally selected to work on the Manhattan project in Los Alamos while a graduate student in physics. Once in Los Alamos, Rosen was assigned to Edwin McMillan’s group, where he worked on implosion technology. Rosen remained in Los Alamos after the war ended and was considered the father of the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility.
Helene Suydam: I find this story of how Norris Bradbury came to Los Alamos rather interesting. He was a graduate student at the University of California in the ‘30s and every student who was a graduate student of Professor [Leonard] Loeb had to join the Navy reserve. So when the war started all these scientists were activated into the Navy, and about four PhDs ended up at the naval proving ground in Virginia. And the commandant of the proving ground was a retired naval officer who had been passed over and had been called back because of the war.
Alexandra Levy: All right. We are here on April 23, 2015 with Mr. Rex Edward Keller. So first, can you please say your name and spell it.
Rex Keller: Oh, Rex Edward Keller, R-E-X E-D-W-A-R-D, Keller, K-E-L-L-E-R.
Levy: Can you tell me where and when you were born?
Keller: I was born in Saxton, Missouri, October 10, 1923.
Levy: And you grew up in Missouri?
Keller: Yes, yes, in Dexter, Missouri.
Mary Kalbert: My name is Mary Kalbert and I am in Friday Harbor, Washington, interviewing Gordon Steele on June 16, 2014 for the Atomic Heritage Foundation Manhattan Voices Project. Gordon?
Gordon Steele: My name is Gordon, and you want me to spell my name?
Kalbert: Please spell your name for me.
Steele: Gordon. G-O-R-D-O-N. Steele. S-T-E-E-L-E.
[We would like to thank the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society for donating this interview. The above photograph was provided courtesy of the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society.]
Myfanwy Pritchard-Roberts: My name is Myfanwy Pritchard-Roberts.
Interviewer 1: Okay, okay.
Roberts: And, I’m from Caernarfon [Wales].
Interviewer 1: Just leave it—
Mench: I am John Mench and sixty years ago I was a young man with a wife and a baby girl, a good job in industrial deferment, a brand new home and a mortgage. Inside of a week or two, I had in my hand a ticket to a camp, an Army camp, an industrial deferment that was cancelled. I still had a wife and a baby daughter but they were now living with my wife’s sister, and my home was rented. The only thing that hadn’t changed was the mortgage.
Seth Wheatley: My name is Seth Wheatley, and it’s S-E-T-H W-H-E-A-T-L-E-Y.
Kelly: Okay. Now, can we start with your telling us where you’re from and how you happened to get involved in the Manhattan Project?
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.
Shirley Tawse: Pat, do you live here now too?
Patricia Hansard: Uh-huh.
Tawse: I’d like to ask you how you first became interested. How you happened to go to Oak Ridge? You said before it was for the money.