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.
Martin Sherwin: This is Martin Sherwin. I'll be interviewing Sir Rudolf Peierls at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Today's date is June 6th, 1979.
You first met [J.Robert] Oppenheimer in Zurich in 1929?
Rudolf Peierls: Right, yes.
Sherwin: At that time, I think you mentioned you were working with [Wolfgang] Pauli's group?
Sherwin: Who else was there in that group?
[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.]
I was in the Army drafted, classified for counter-intelligence work for reasons I will never understand. I got into that, investigative work as an enlisted man and after about a year I was commissioned also in counter-intelligence work. I continued there in the 6th service command in Chicago in that kind of work. One day to my surprise I found myself in the main office of the G-2 part of the service command there. A man from Washington was due there, an officer, for unspecified reasons. It happened to be a day on which there was a large meeting elsewhere and a sub