The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Security & Secrecy

Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson got a job at the Y-12 Plant Oak Ridge after graduating college. He supervised calutron work and some of the “calutron girls,” including his future wife, Dorothy. Wilkinson.

Sheila Rowan and Jo-Ellen Iacovino's Interview

Interviewer 1: Why did your family come to Oak Ridge? When did that happen?

Rowan: Well, we actually came to Oak Ridge in 1945. We left Nashville in early 1945. Because there was no housing available onsite in Oak Ridge, we had to stay in South Harriman, which is about twenty miles away. In the summertime of 1945, we moved into—

Iacovino: No, no, that was ’44. It was ’44. Because we went through the winter, because then the war was over.

Rowan:  We should have gotten our story together. [Laughter.]

Sheila Rowan

After her brother was drafted, Sheila Rowan's family moved to Happy Valley, Tennessee to support the war effort. Although Rowan and her sister, Jo-Ellen Iacovino, were too young to participate in the construction of the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant, their older sister, Colleen Black, and their parents worked to support the Manhattan Project. When the war ended, Rowan left Happy Valley.

Robert Serber's Interview (1994)

Robert Serber: Ernest [Lawrence] got overexcited about the Russian bomb. I imagine that [Edward] Teller called him and got him worked up. I warned him about Edward’s Super, that it wasn't a practical idea at the moment. I told him if he wanted to really find out he should talk to [Hans] Bethe, but he never did. He was all gung ho for the Super and he immediately went with more or less the action before he thought of what he could do, and the thing to do was to build these reactors to make tritium.

Roger Rohrbacher's Interview

Tell us your name.

Roger Rohrbacher: I'm Roger Rohrbacher. That’s R-O-H-R-B-A-C-H-E-R.

How did you come to Hanford?

Rohrbacher: In 1942 and '43, I was working for DuPont in an acid plant in Illinois and my buddies were disappearing. They ended up in Richland, so I got the map out and Richland, Pasco weren't even recorded on the map. I contacted them and I said, “What are you guys doing?”

They said, “We don't know.”

Roger Rohrbacher

Roger Rohrbacher was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 11, 1920. He graduated from Macalester College in 1942 with a degree in chemistry and physics. Rohrbacher joined the Manhattan Project and was sent to Hanford in early 1944. He worked as an instrument engineer at the B Reactor. Rohrbacher was tasked with measurign neutron flow and temperature pressure and radiation monitoring. 

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