Jacob Beser: The story which we could tell. And one point that Dr. Wittman, though, which I wish you would please keep in mind—and this is true not only in this situation, but any historical event should be evaluated in the context in which it took place, the context and the times in which it took place. Hopefully we proceed from there and progress. Forty years later, we all had 20/20 hindsight and we also have had access to archives and information that we did not have forty years ago.
Women in Science
Stephane Groueff: One thing I don’t understand, and it’s a very ignorant question, but what was actually the difference between [Enrico] Fermi’s experiment in ’34 and [Otto] Hahn’s? Because, why do we say that Hahn was the first one, while Fermi also bombarded uranium?
Lew Kowarski: I don’t it’s true to say that Hahn was the first one.
Groueff: It’s not true.
Kowarski: I think it’s one of those simplifications—there are people who find them all right. I don’t.
Alexandra Levy: Okay. We’re here in Virginia on March 25, 2015 with Isabella Karle. Our first question is to please state your name and spell it.
Isabella Karle: My name is Isabella Karle, I-S-A-B-E-L-L-A, and the last name, K-A-R-L-E.
Levy: Great. If you could tell us a little bit about where you were born and when?
Karle: I was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 2, 1921.
Levy: Did you grow up in Detroit?
Kowarski: So born in Leningrad, February, 1907. Father, businessman. Mother had a little career of her own as a singer, but [inaudible]. Father, his business started to be paper, pulp and paper, and then from that he branched off to supplying paper to newspapers and magazines, and from there he branched off into participation in magazines. And so his business gradually grew less and less pulp and more and more literary, if you see what I mean.
Michael Lewis: Julius, tell us a little more about some of the personalities at Los Alamos. First, I know that you were very close with Enrico Fermi. Give us a feeling for what he was like as a person.
Winston Dabney: I’m Winston Dabney. I was born in Virginia, near Richmond, Virginia. I was inducted into the service on July 4, 1941. I was warned as I was going in, “Go for one year and then get out.” And it so happened I had about six months before the war actually started and I received my basic training. I went in at Fort Belmont, North Carolina because I was working down in North Carolina at the time.
Cindy Kelly: Okay. I'm Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. This is September 6, 2013. I have with me Denise Kiernan. We're in Oak Ridge. Denise, could you tell us your name, and spell it?
Denise Kiernan: My name is Denise. D-e-n-i-s-e. Kiernan. K-i-e-r-n-a-n.
Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is Thursday July 17, 2014. I am in the lovely home Vera Kistiakowsky, and the first question I have for Vera is to tell me your name and spell it.
Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and I'm in Ithaca, New York. It is Wednesday, June 11, 2014. And I have with me Rose Bethe. And I'm going to start by asking Rose to tell us her name and spell it.
Rose Bethe: My name is Rose Bethe. It's spelled B as in boy, E, T as in Tom, H, E.
[Many thanks to Bill Curtis for recording and donating this interview to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]
Mary Lou Curtis: When I got out of college, it was 1932 and a big Depression was on. Miami University, where I graduated from, only placed one teacher that year because jobs were so hard to find. I didn’t get a teaching job that first year, but I worked in the Miami University Library for I think maybe thirty cents an hour and managed to get through the year.