The Manhattan Project

Trinity Site

John Adams's Lecture

Cindy Kelly: The next speaker is John Adams, who is a composer, as you all know, and composed most recently an opera about the Manhattan Project, “Doctor Atomic,” which opened in San Francisco last October [2005]. We are absolutely thrilled to have him here, as an artist who has grappled with the deeper meanings and expressed them most dramatically in music and in theater in this opera. I’d like to invite John to come and get wired up and begin.

[Applause]

John Adams: Thank you very much, thank you.

John Adams

John Adams is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer of contemporary classical music. Known for his operas Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, as well as for multiple orchestral works, Adams speaks here about Doctor Atomic, his 2005 opera set at Los Alamos in the weeks leading up to the Trinity Test. He describes the creation of the work and why he was initially hesitant to develop an opera around J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project.

Jim Eckles' Interview

Cindy Kelly: I am Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is December 7, 2017, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am with Jim Eckles. I would like to start by asking him to say his full name and spelling it.

Jim Eckles: Jim Eckles, E-C-K-L-E-S.

Kelly: Terrific. Jim, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your background and how you became so familiar with the Trinity site?

Jim Eckles

Jim Eckles worked for decades for the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office, managing open houses and tours of the Trinity site, where the world’s first nuclear test took place. In this interview, Eckles describes the history of Trinity site. He discusses the ranchers who lived on it before the Manhattan Project took over, the buildings used by the scientists, and what it was like to live on the site before and during the war.

Jon Hunner's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I'm Cindy Kelly in Los Cruces, New Mexico and it’s December 7, 2017. I have with me John Hunner. The first question for John is to say his name and spell it.

Jon Hunner: My name is Jon Hunner. J-O-N, H-U-N-N-E-R.

Kelly: Jon, just to get some station identification, why don’t you tell people who you are and what you've been doing professionally for the last thirty years.

John Attanas's Interview

Lauren Attanas: My name is Lauren Attanas, that’s A-T-T-A-N-A-S. I am the granddaughter of John Attanas, who we are interviewing for the Atomic Heritage Foundation today. Can you say your name and spell it for the camera?

John Attanas: John George Attanas.

Lauren: Tell us the story of your origins. Where did your family come to the United States from?

Felix DePaula's Interview (2008)

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

David Schiferl: Tell us how you got here.

Felix DePaula: Well, let me start with being inducted into the service in 1944, October of ’44, into the Corps of Engineers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Then from there, I was sent to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and I spent a couple of months in the wintertime at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Stanley Hall's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and we are in Los Alamos, New Mexico. It’s February 2, 2017. I have with me W. Stanley Hall. 

Hall: I was born in 1924 on Broadway in Manhattan. I was there until the third grade. In the fourth grade, I went to the Bronx and was there one year, and then went to Princeton, New Jersey, and stayed there until graduation from Princeton High School. Actually, we lived in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Across the street was Princeton, but I went to Princeton High School.

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