Arthur Squires: And I probably did not appreciate, during the war itself, the extent to which this was such a remarkable effort. Kellex – I am sure some of this you have already heard. Kellex was put together by M.W. Kellogg Company pretty much on a command basis. They just went to the top people all over the industry and got the top instrument man, the top man in the power field, and top people in compressors and all the various phases of the project.
Race for the Atomic Bomb
Groueff: Hello? Hello? Recording, San Francisco, Berkeley, February 9, 1965.
Stephane Groueff: Mr. James Stowers.
James Stowers: We had a responsibility of procurement, which was not generally—it was not generally known. Going into this job, the Kellogg Company wanted to be well protected. They didn’t want to lose any money, it’s understandable. And they did not want to get entangled in having to defend a lot of actions, which they knew would have to be taken fast and furiously during this period.
[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for misspellings and other errors.]
Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly. It is Thursday November 6th. I am in Atlanta, Georgia. I have with me Mr. Tom Forkner. My first question to him is to tell me his name and spell it.
Forkner: How about T-O-M, F-O-R-K-N-E-R.
Interviewer: December 2, 1962 marks the twentieth anniversary of the first nuclear chain reaction achieved at the University of Chicago. That day a group of scientists, led by the late Dr. Enrico Fermi, operated man’s first atomic reactor. The occasion ushered in the atomic age. Present at that historic moment was Dr. Norman Hilberry former director of Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. This is how he explains his part in that day.
Richard Rhodes: This will be a tape of an interview with Doctor Segrè. That's E-m-i-l-i-o, S-e-g-r-e at his home in Lafayette, California on the 29th of June 1983.
I have been, for example, through the Oppenheimer Papers, I’ve been through the [Leo] Szilard Papers in La Jolla. All of the books, most of the books have errors of one kind or the other.
Segrè: The Oppenheimer Papers, I have never gone through, but you have seen the letters of Oppenheimer?
Stephane Groueff: So I think the best thing is just talk. So if you want to start from the beginning and tell me a little bit about yourself, Dr. Wheeler, and where you come from and a few words about your career, and how you happen to get involved with the atomic project.
John Wheeler: Well I would say that my most important decision I ever took was to go to work with Niels Bohr. I remember writing the fellowship application when I was twenty-one years old to go to work with him because—
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it's Monday, September 8, 2014. I’m at the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, with David Kaiser. The first thing I’d like him to do is tell us his name and spell it.
David Kaiser: My name is David Kaiser. The last name is K-A-I-S-E-R.
Richard Rhodes: Interview with Dr. Kistiakowsky in Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 15, 1982.
I have done a great deal of reading into the literature; there are probably two hundred books that are built around the subject that I’ve looked at, including yours, which I enjoyed. Can I go back to some very early things?
George Kistiakowsky: Sure.