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.
D. M. Ellett is a mechanical engineer who joined the Manhattan Project after the end of World War II. He was a member of Z Division, which was assigned to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1945.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. It is October 27, 2017, in Washington, D.C., and I have with me Charles B. Yulish. I’m just going to start by asking him to say his name and spell it.
Charles Yulish: Okay. Charles. B. Yulish, Y as in yes, Y-U-L-I-S-H.
Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C. It is Monday, April 24, 2017. I have with me distinguished historian and Pulitzer Prize-winner Martin J. Sherwin. My first question to him is to say his name and spell it for us.
Martin Sherwin: Martin J. Sherwin, M-A-R-T-I-N, middle initial J—actually, middle name Jay, J-A-Y, Sherwin, S-H-E-R-W-I-N.
Kelly: Can you tell us when [J. Robert] Oppenheimer was born and where, and who his parents were?
Willie Atencio: The first thing we need to know is, where were you born?
Dick Money: In Chicago.
Atencio: Okay, you were born in Chicago. What part of Chicago?
Money: South Side.
Atencio: South Side. Tell us a little bit about your parents.
Money: My father was a civil engineer. He had a company that built grain elevators. He was educated at Armour Institute, which later became Illinois Tech in Chicago. A wonderful man, of course.
Kelly: Today is Friday, February 3rd, 2017. I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m here in an installation called “Atomic Time” with its creator, the sculptor and artist Jim Sanborn. My first question to Sanborn is to please say his name and spell it.
Sanborn: All right. I’m Jim Sanborn, S-A-N-B-O-R-N. I’m the maker of this installation that I began sometime in 1998 and concluded in 2004, although I added pieces over the years, added more stuff over the years.
Jim Sanborn is an American sculptor known for works such as “Kryptos” at the CIA Headquarters in McLean, VA.
In this interview, Sanborn discusses his exhibit “Atomic Time,” which is now on display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, NM. The installation recreates the Manhattan Project scientists’ experiments at Los Alamos to determine when plutonium would go “critical” in an atomic bomb. Sanborn explains why he decided to do the project, and how he carefully created each piece of the exhibit.
Cynthia Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is Wednesday, August 24th, 2016. I am in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and with me is Dr. Baldwin Sawyer. My first question for him is to say his name and spell it.
Baldwin Sawyer: Baldwin Sawyer, B-a-l-d-w-i-n S-a-w-y-e-r. My initials are B.S, and in case anybody is wondering, that stands for Boy Scout.
Kelly: Well, that’s interesting. [Laughs] Can you tell us when and where you were born?
Nate Weisenberg: My name is Nate Weisenberg. I am doing this interview for the Atomic Heritage Foundation with Kathleen Maxwell here in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It is Monday, April 25, 2016.
How did you get involved with the Manhattan Project?
Kathleen Maxwell: I had just finished my Master’s degree at Smith [College], and I was contemplating staying at Smith because the main men in our department there had gone to work for the Manhattan Project someplace else.
Small experiments studying the effects of radioactive isotopes, including plutonium, uranium, and polonium, on humans were conducted in the Manhattan Annex of the Strong Memorial Hospital located at the University of Rochester. The purpose of these studies was to examine the safety of small amounts of radiation on those working at other Manhattan Project sites.