Philip Abelson: My name is Philip Abelson. I was the son of two Norwegian immigrants. My father was born north of the Arctic Circle, and my mother was born in middle Norway. I visited the birthplaces of both of them. They were very wonderful parents. I couldn’t have had better parents.
University of California-Berkeley
Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly, and I am in Boulder, Colorado. It is June 25, 2013, and I am going to be interviewing Bert Mills Tolbert. And the first question for Bert is to say his name, and then spell it?
Tolbert: My name is Bert Mills Tolbert, spelled T-O-L-B-E-R-T.
Kelly: Why don’t you start at the very beginning, and tell us when you were born and where, and then a little bit to lead up to your education and the Manhattan Project?
Alexandra Levy: All right, we are here on December 28, 2012 with Max Gittler. Please say your name and spell it.
Max Gittler: Max Gittler, M-a-x G-i-t-t-l-e-r.
Levy: Where are you from?
Gittler: New York, New York City, the Bronx.
Levy: So how did you become involved in the Manhattan Project?
Ben Diven: All right. I’m Ben Diven. That’s spelled D-I-V-E-N. I was born and raised in northern California, and I went to school in my hometown of Chico, and fortunately there was a state college there so I could start college in my hometown. I took the two and a half years of physics and mathematics that they taught there. And then, after a break of a couple years to save enough money to be able to go to Berkeley, I then transferred to University of California at Berkeley.
Rebecca Bradford Diven: All right. My name is Rebecca Bradford Diven, but I was mostly known as Becky Bradford Diven.
Cynthia Kelly: Great. Well, tell us about your background and what you were doing before the war.
Diven: Did you want—your outline said you wanted birth dates and where—
Kelly: Okay. Sure.
The "Rad Lab" was the short name for the Radiological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Its director was Nobel laureate Ernest O. Lawrence. He gained recognition for his 60" cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator first invented in the early 1930s. Known as “atom smashers,” cyclotrons accelerate atoms through a vaccuum and use electromagnets to induce collisions at speeds up to 25,000 miles per second.
Robert Ellingson: My name is Robert Ellingson, and it’s spelled E-L-L-I-N-G-S-O-N.
Kelly: Great. Now if you could just tell us where you’re from, and how you happened to end up in the Manhattan Project.
Ellingson: I am from a little town in Idaho, and Idaho is west of Wyoming if you’re not familiar with the geography of the country. Most people look quizzical and say, “Iowa, that’s north of here, isn’t it?” But this is the one in the West.
The Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge used the electromagnetic separation method, developed by Ernest Lawrence at University of California-Berkeley, to separate uranium isotopes.