The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

K-25

Lawrence S. O'Rourke's Interview

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.'s Interview (2006)

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.

Donald Trauger's Interview

Donald Trauger: Yes, I’m Donald Trauger. And Trauger is T-R-A-U-G-E-R, Trauger. My mother-in-law when we first married would say auger, Trauger so she could remember it. [Laughter.]

Kelly: All right. Well, tell us how you came to Oak Ridge and how—what you did as your role in the Manhattan Project; where you were from and how you got involved.

Nash Garage Building

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's Interview

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. 

Decatur, IL

The Houdaille-Hershey Plant was a secret Manhattan Project site located in Decatur, Illinois that was responsible for plating the interior of pipes with a nickel-powder barrier material that could be used for the gaseous diffusion process for the enrichment of uranium.

Continuing failure to develop a suitable barrier material for the gaseous diffusion process by 1943 led to a renewed sense of urgency to develop an adequate material that could withstand the high pressure of the heavy, corrosive gas used in the process.

George Mahfouz's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Why don’t you start, George, by telling us your name and spelling it.

George Mahfouz: I’m George Mahfouz, last name is spelled M-A-H-F-, as in Frank, -O-U-Z, as in zebra.

Kelly: Is that Egyptian? 

Mahfouz: It’s Middle Eastern. The name is Syrian. 

Kelly: Anyways, sorry, next question—tell us about your background, you know, where you went to college...

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