Robert S. Norris: By the late 30s, physicists, in Europe primarily, but some in America too, were making great discoveries about the atom. The key date here was January 1939, when European scientists had discovered fission. News of that was brought to the United States by Niels Bohr. Actually, it was brought to Washington, DC, at a conference at George Washington University.
Security & Secrecy
Intro to Recording:
Narrator: Today is the 15th of May, 2012. This recording is of Victor Kumin, and it is being made at his home in Warner, New Hampshire.
Early Years at Harvard and Woods Hole:
Victor Kumin was a young scientist when he was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1944. In September of that year, he was transferred to Los Alamos. Here he was part of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED).
Nerses Krikorian: My name is Nerses Krikorian, N-E-R-S-E-S K-R-I-K-O-R-I-A-N. I was born in Harput, Turkey in 1921, January of 1921, to Hachig and Lucy Krikorian. Somehow or another they extricated me from the genocide which was prevailing and in a four-year period managed to get me from Turkey, where I was born, through Aleppo, where my brother was born.
Nerses “Krik” Krikorian was born in Turkey in 1921. He was brought to North America at the age of four, escaping the aftermath of the Armenian genocide. After graduating from college, Krikorian worked for Union Carbide in Niagara Falls, NY during World War II. In 1946, he was approached to work at Los Alamos to build polonium initiators for one year. He ended up staying in Los Alamos, where he still resides today, and even helped to write the charter to govern the town. In this interview, he remembers his childhood and experiences as the eldest son in an immigrant family.
Nate Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. It is Tuesday, October 17, 2017. I’m here in Albuquerque, New Mexico with D. Ellett. My first question for you is if you could please say your name and spell it.
D.M. Ellett: It’s D, initial only, M, Ellett, E-l-l-e-t-t.
Weisenberg: Tell us a little bit about your childhood and early life. When and where were you born?
D. M. Ellett is a mechanical engineer who joined the Manhattan Project after the end of World War II. He was a member of Z Division, which was assigned to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1945.
Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is December 7, 2017, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am with Jim Eckles. I would like to start by asking him to say his full name and spelling it.
Jim Eckles: Jim Eckles, E-C-K-L-E-S.
Kelly: Terrific. Jim, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you became so familiar with the Trinity site?
Cindy Kelly: Tell us about your work and what you’ve learned about the African Americans who worked here in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.
Valeria Steele Roberson: I became interested in this project when I was a little girl. My grandmother used to tell us stories about the ‘40s, how they came here and left their children back in Alabama with their grandmother. She would always talk about giving one day to the bomb, and about the rats, and the plank sidewalks, and all those kinds of things.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is October 12, 2017. I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I have with me John Ruminer. I’d like him to say his name and spell it.
John Ruminer: You got it just right. It’s John Ruminer – R-U-M-I-N-E-R.
Kelly: Terrific. John, why don’t you talk about where we are in Santa Fe, and a little bit about the history of this place?