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.
Alfred Nier: By the summer of 1943, the question came up, what I should do next? And I had a chance to – [J. Robert] Oppenheimer had gotten a hold of me and suggested I might come out to Los Alamos.
Stephane Groueff: And you knew him?
Carson Mark: We shouldn’t have been making this damn bomb without trying to keep it secret from [Joseph] Stalin. We should’ve been talking to him like [Niels] Bohr said. [Klaus] Fuchs believed and took it into his own hands to make sure that the conversation went on. Of course, he didn’t need to because Stalin knew anyway. Not the technical details, but the general facts.
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.
Stephane Groueff: So, you were in charge of recruiting for Hanford or generally for DuPont?
Phil Gardner: No, I had one section of it. The country was really split up into four parts at the time I became connected with it. That was in May of 1944 – four different people were sent out to head up recruitment in different sections. One was up on the Northeastern part, one was down in the Southwest. One was in here, and one was in the Chicago Area, that is right in the East here.