Phillip Broughton is a health physicist and Deputy Laser Safety Officer at University of California Berkeley. In this interview, he describes how he became a health physicist and the kind of work he does at Berkeley. He provides an overview of the buildings at Berkeley where Manhattan Project scientists worked during the war, and discusses some of the key scientists such as Glenn Seaborg.
Security & Secrecy
Nathaniel Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I am here with the Atomic Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. It is Tuesday, May 22, 2018, and I am here with Philip S. Anderson. My first question for you is if you could please tell me your name and spell it.
Philip S. Anderson: My name is Philip S. Anderson, P-h-i-l-i-p, middle initial S, A-n-d-e-r-s-o-n.
Weisenberg: Why don’t we sort of start at the beginning. Can you tell me when and where you were born?
Philip S. Anderson, Jr. lived in Oak Ridge from his second-grade year through his junior year of high school. His father, an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was responsible for housing at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project; his mother was active in the Oak Ridge community. In this interview, Anderson remembers his childhood in Oak Ridge, describing the level of secrecy in the city and hikes with his friends. He also recounts his reaction to the bombing of Hiroshima and his fond memories of being a Boy Scout in Oak Ridge.
Ronald Mickens is a physicist who currently teaches at Clark Atlanta University. He is a prominent voice amongst the African American scientific community, and has written several works documenting the feats of previous black physicists. He was friendly with several African-American scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, including J. Ernest Wilkins, and describes their careers and the racism they faced.
[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 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.
Alexandra Levy: I’m Alexandra Levy with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. I’m here on September 13, 2018 in Chantilly, Virginia with Norris Jernigan. My first question is for you to please say your name and to spell it.
Norris Jernigan: Okay. I’m Norris Jernigan. That's N-O-R-R-I-S. Jernigan is J-E-R-N-I-G-A-N. You would be surprised how some people pronounce it. It's comical.
Levy: Please tell us your place and date of birth.
Bill Wilcox: My name is Bill Wilcox. William J. Wilcox, Jr.
Cindy Kelly: And how do you spell Wilcox?
Kelly: Why was Oak Ridge chosen for the Manhattan Project?
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Thursday, April 26, 2018, and I have with me Gordon Fee. Gordon, first, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you happened to come to Oak Ridge and what you’ve done here.
Gordon Fee is the retired president of Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and the former manager of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, TN. He began working at Oak Ridge at the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in 1956. In this interview, he describes his career at Oak Ridge, and shares stories about his work at Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In particular, he focuses on scientific developments connected with Oak Ridge, including the growth of the Nuclear Navy, the use of radioisotopes in medicine, and more.