Jersey City was home to the headquarters of the M. W. Kellogg Company, which specialized in chemical engineering projects. In 1942, the S-1 Committee tasked Kellogg with conducting research into the feasibility of the gaseous diffusion process for separating uranium isotopes. As the Manhattan Project began, Kellogg's vice president of engineering, Percival "Dobie" Keith, took charge of a newly created subsidiary of Kellogg, the Kellex Corporation.
Gaseous Diffusion Process
Cindy Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly. It is September 6, 2013. I am in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with Bill Tewes. So Bill, can you tell us your name and spell it?
Tewes: Sure. My name is William Edward Tewes. And the first and second names are obvious, but to spell my last name, it is T-E-W-E-S. My father and my children all pronounce it “Tewes.” The rest of my older family, including my grandparents, pronounced it “Teweys.” And my Uncle Elmer would remark, “Any fool should know it’s pronounced Teweys because there are two E’s in the name.”
Susan Gawarecki: My name is Susan Gawarecki, spelled G-A-W-A-R-E-C-K-I, and today is April 3, 2013. I am at the home of Bill Tewes. And Bill, thank you for taking time to tell us about your life. To get started, would you please say your name and spell it.
William E. Tewes: My name is William Edward Tewes, T as in Tom E-W-E-S.
Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Today is Thursday, May 2, 2013. I have with me here James Forde, who is going to try to remember something about his Manhattan Project days in New York City. I am going to start with an easy question, which is to have him tell us his full name and spell it.
John Shacter: John Shacter, S-H-A-C-T-E-R.
Interviewer: And your age?
Shacter: My age? Eighty-four. Eighty-four and a half, going on 85!
Interviewer: And how did you end up in Oak Ridge, in the Secret City?
Cindy Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly at Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is March 20, 2013 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. And we are delighted to have Larry O’Rourke. His first question is to tell us your name and spell it, please.
Lawrence S. O’Rourke: I am Lawrence S. O’Rourke, L-A-W-R-E-N-C-E S-for Stephen O’Rourke, O-’-R-O-U-R-K-E. And, I like to be known as Larry.
Kelly: Perfect, Larry. Please tell us your birthdate and where you were born.
William J. Wilcox, Jr.: My name is Bill Wilcox. Oak Ridge, Tennessee resident for sixty-three years. Ever since—pretty much since the beginning of Oak Ridge. Can’t imagine a better calling, a better career, a better place to live, better people to work for, better people to work with, or to be associated with. Very important contribution to our country that I was privileged to have a very tiny, small part of. It was great.
Important Manhattan Project research was conducted at Columbia University’s Pupin Hall (right) and Schermerhorn Hall. World-class physicists, including Nobel Prize winners Isidor I. Rabi and Enrico Fermi, joined Columbia’s research team to investigate the relatively new science of atomic particles. Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard first realized the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction in 1933, and against the backdrop of escalating hostilties in Europe, the race began to harness the enormous energy within the atom.
Located at 3280 Broadway, the Nash Garage Building was originally an automobile dealership which was purchased by Columbia University and converted into a pilot plant to create the barrier material for Oak Ridge, TN’s K-25 gaseous diffusion plant.
Joe Dykstra: My name is Joe Dykstra, that’s spelled D-Y-K-S-T-R-A.
Cynthia Kelly: Ok, now you can talk about—
Dykstra: I finished school with a degree in chemistry in May of ’43. I was in Iowa. During that year, I’d filled out an application for a defense job with Hooker Electrochemical Company in Niagara Falls. I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, except it was defense.