Stephane Groueff: Berkeley, California. Recording, 1, 2, 3.
University Involvement in the Manhattan Project
Stephane Groueff: You were the secretary for Dr. [Ernest] Lawrence since—
Eleanor Irvine: I came to work in October 1945. I was with him until his death. Then I stayed right along with Dr. [Edwin] McMillan.
Groueff: I see. What was your name then?
Irvine: Eleanor Irvine, I-R-V-I-N-E.
Groueff: I see. How did you meet him?
Stephane Groueff: So Mr. Friel, you were with the optical side in Chicago project?
Dan Friel: Yes. My interest and activity was in the optical end. The job was to make it possible to see through walls and to see into equipment where otherwise the radioactive level was too high to operator or to work. We knew, of course, that we had to be able to see behind these walls, and we knew in many cases that we would not know what we would be looking at, because there were new and strange phenomena going on. This indeed turned out to be the case.
Sir Hugh Taylor: I had been requested by the British Government to find out certain things. They wanted, for example, to know whether they could use this thing and the General Electric Company made it available to them on the condition that their affiliate in England was entrusted with the responsibility of supplying it. It was the British Thomson-Houston Company [in] Rugby.
Then another job that I did for them, I got the Shell Oil Company in California to give me—
Stephane Groueff: Shell Oil.
Kelly: Okay, this is Cindy Kelly. It is Friday, November 7, 2014 and I’m in Delray Beach, Florida with Jim Schoke. First question is please tell me your name and spell it.
Schoke: James A. Schoke. James, J-A-M-E-S A. S-C-H-O-K-E.
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.
Stephane Groueff: We could start now with your biography and where you were born. I see that you were born in Cleveland.
General Kenneth Nichols: Well, I was born in a little suburb of Cleveland called West Park, Ohio [on November 13, 1907].
Groueff: West Park, Ohio.
Nichols: Later became a part of Cleveland.
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?
[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.]
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—