The Manhattan Project

Reflections on the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Ralph Gates's Interview

Wendy Steinle: Good morning, Ralph. I’m Wendy Steinle, as you know, and I am really pleased to be your friend and to have the opportunity to interview you this morning. Just for the record, will you start by stating and spelling your name, and then tell us the date?

Ralph Gates:  Well, thanks, Wendy. My name is Ralph Gates, but I am—it’s Ralph Pillsbury Gates and I am a junior. It’s R-a-l-p-h, Pillsbury is P-i-l-l-s-b-u-r-y, and Gates is G-a-t-e-s.

Steinle: What is today’s date?

Ralph Gates

Ralph Gates is a chemical and electrical engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project as a part of the Special Engineer Detachment. His primary job was casting shape charges for the plutonium bombs.

Irwin P. Sharpe's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it’s Friday, May 15, 2015, and I’m in Middlebury, Vermont, with Irwin P. Sharpe. And, my first question for him is to tell us your name and spell it.

Irwin Sharpe: Oh, I know that. Okay. It’s Irwin, I-r-w-i-n, initial P, Sharpe, S-h-a-r-p-e.

Murray Peshkin's Interview

Murray Peshkin:  Well, how did I get involved in the Manhattan Project? I was an undergraduate student at Cornell University. A group of about ten, who were studying physics. It was clear that we could not be kept out of the Army very long. They were looking for programs in which we could serve usefully. I really believed that there was something else behind it.

Murray Peshkin

Murray Peshkin is a Manhattan Project veteran and a physicist. He was recruited by the Army to assist the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos when he was an undergraduate student studying physics at Cornell.

Irwin P. Sharpe

Irwin P. Sharpe was born in 1921. He was recruited for the Manhattan Project by his employer, General Electric, after he graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in engineering in 1942. His work took place in the Woolworth Building in Manhattan, where he played a key role in developing pumps and seals to transport gas and oil.

Dieter Gruen's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. This is Monday, February 16, 2015. We are in Pompano Beach, Florida with Dieter Gruen. I'm going to ask him to please say his name and spell it.

Dieter Gruen: I am Dieter Martin Gruen. D-I-E-T-E-R, M-A-R-T-I-N, G-R-U-E-N.

Kelly: Very good. Anyway, this is an interview about your life but with a focus on the Manhattan Project Experience. In that spirit can you tell us when and where you were born?

John Mench's Interview

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.

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