The Manhattan Project

Race for the Atomic Bomb

Raymond Sheline's Lecture

[Many thanks to Jonathan Sheline for donating this video to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Raymond Sheline: This talk today gives me a certain amount of anxiety, because it’s different than any other chemistry talk I’ve ever given. First of all, it’s kind of autobiographical, and that’s always a little embarrassing. Secondly, it’s maybe more nearly the history of science than science itself. However, it is appropriate, because we’re just fifty years since the testing and dropping of the atom bomb in 1945.

Raymond Sheline

Raymond Sheline was a chemist at Columbia University and a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.

Sheline received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1949 and was a professor at Florida State University for 48 years. Among other accomplishments, he helped establish a nuclear chemistry lab at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and published more than 400 scientific papers. He died on February 10, 2016 in Fort Meyers, FL.

Bob Carter's Interview (2018)

Alexandra Levy: This is Alexandra Levy. I am here today on May 22, 2018, with Robert Carter. My first question for you is to please say your name and to spell it.

Robert Carter: Robert Carter, R-o-b-e-r-t C-a-r-t-e-r.

Levy: Great. Can you tell us when and where you were born, and a little bit about your childhood?

Robert S. Norris's Interview (2018)

Robert S. Norris: Right. I’m Robert S. Norris, it’s N-o-r-r-i-s, is the last name. We’re here in Washington in Cindy’s office on February 28th, 2018, to talk about the French atomic program and weapons and so on.

Cindy Kelly: Great. First, I hope that maybe we could start with the whole Curie family’s series of discoveries about radioactivity, and the platform that the French atomic scientific research provided for this.

Spencer Weart's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. I am in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. It is Friday, May 11, 2018. I have with me Spencer Weart. My first question is to ask him to say his name and spell it.

Spencer Weart: I am Spencer Weart, W-E-A-R-T, like heart.

Kelly: Great. Spencer, you are a physicist. You had an early career in science. Tell us about your childhood and a little bit about how you became interested in science and science history.

John Adams's Lecture

Cindy Kelly: The next speaker is John Adams, who is a composer, as you all know, and composed most recently an opera about the Manhattan Project, “Doctor Atomic,” which opened in San Francisco last October [2005]. We are absolutely thrilled to have him here, as an artist who has grappled with the deeper meanings and expressed them most dramatically in music and in theater in this opera. I’d like to invite John to come and get wired up and begin.

[Applause]

John Adams: Thank you very much, thank you.

William K. Coors's Interview

Coors: I was born here in Golden, Colorado, and I can’t recall any particular fascination as a child that I had in science.

Kelly:  How about who was your grandfather, and what was his business?

Coors: My grandfather was Adolph Coors, Sr. He had a small brewery in Golden, Colorado.

Kelly:  Did your father work for your grandfather on the brewery? Was your father part of the business?

Coors: My father ran the business. He was in total charge.

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