The Manhattan Project

Plutonium

Richard Baker's Interview

Richard Baker: The first plutonium that, other than the cyclotron that produced plutonium, was made at what was called the Clinton Piles at old X10 down in Oak Ridge. The Chicago Met Lab worked on the micro scale reduction of the metal. This produced rather small quantities but never enough quantities to study its properties in any accurate manner.

Joseph Katz's Interview

Joseph Katz: Now it was recognized that plutonium would have a chemistry that would be quite similar to that of uranium. And developing procedures for the separation of plutonium from irradiated uranium. The assumption that was most commonly made was that the chemistry of plutonium would be similar, if not identical to that of uranium and this, of course was an entirely reasonable assumption to make.

Roger Rohrbacher's Interview

Tell us your name.

Roger Rohrbacher: I'm Roger Rohrbacher. That’s R-O-H-R-B-A-C-H-E-R.

How did you come to Hanford?

Rohrbacher: In 1942 and '43, I was working for DuPont in an acid plant in Illinois and my buddies were disappearing. They ended up in Richland, so I got the map out and Richland, Pasco weren't even recorded on the map. I contacted them and I said, “What are you guys doing?”

They said, “We don't know.”

Roger Rohrbacher

Roger Rohrbacher was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 11, 1920. He graduated from Macalester College in 1942 with a degree in chemistry and physics. Rohrbacher joined the Manhattan Project and was sent to Hanford in early 1944. He worked as an instrument engineer at the B Reactor. Rohrbacher was tasked with measurign neutron flow and temperature pressure and radiation monitoring. 

Richard Yalman's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is January 27, 2015. I am in Santa Fe with Richard Yalman, and the first question I have for you is to say your name and spell it.

Richard Yalman: My name is Richard George Yalman, that’s Y-A-L-M-A-N.

Kelly: Perfect. Very good. Richard has a very interesting story to tell about his days in the Manhattan Project, but to put it in context, we want him to start with his birthday, where he was born and something about his childhood.

Adrienne Lowry's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation from Washington, D.C. and it is Tuesday, January 14, 2014 and I am here with Adrienne Lowry, who was married to Joseph Kennedy, a radio chemist with the Manhattan Project. Adrienne, let us start with you. Can you tell us your name, say your name and spell it, please?

Adrienne Lowry: Oh, my name is Adrienne Kennedy Lowry. Adrienne is spelled A-d-r-i-e-n-n-e, and Lowry is spelled L-o-w-r-y.

Daniel Friel's Interview

Stephane Groueff: So Mr. Friel, you were with the optical side in Chicago project?

Dan Friel: Yes. My interest and activity was in the optical end. The job was to make it possible to see through walls and to see into equipment where otherwise the radioactive level was too high to operator or to work. We knew, of course, that we had to be able to see behind these walls, and we knew in many cases that we would not know what we would be looking at, because there were new and strange phenomena going on. This indeed turned out to be the case.

George Cowan's Interview (1993)

George Cowan: What you’ve learned from the Russians, for example?

Richard Rhodes: The main thing I have learned is that their first bomb was a carbon copy of Fat Man.

Cowan Cowan: Well of course. I knew that in 1949, about the middle of September of ’49 because we analyzed the debris from that and it was clear that it was a carbon copy.

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