The Manhattan Project - the atomic bomb project
The responsibility of constructing the atomic bomb was first given to
the Atomic Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and
In May 1942, committee members E. Lawrence, A.H. Compton, H. Urey (all
Nobel laureates), L. Briggs, and E. Murphree met with J.B. Conant,
the director of OSRD.
On September 23, 1942, the Uranium Committee met with Secretary
of War Henry L. Stimson, Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall
and other top military officers including Major General Leslie R. Groves.
Major General Leslie R. Groves was named the Executive Officer
to carry out the policy of building the atomic bomb.
The Manhattan Project was carried out under secrecy. Workers on the
project were not allowed to communicate their information to each
other unless they were authorized to do so. This process was called
compartmentalization, and as a result some top scientists
working on the project did not know the ultimate goal was to build
The history of the Mahattan Project is full of science, technology,
management, humanity, and spy stories.
The National Atomic Museum offers an interesting collection.
Internet Link on the Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project is the
code name for the United States program to develop an atomic
bomb during World War II, the Manhattan Project was the largest
scientific effort undertaken to that time. It involved 37 installations
throughout the country; at least 13 university laboratories; and
100,000 people, including the Nobel prize-winning physicists Arthur
Holly Compton, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, Ernest Lawrence,
and Harold Urey.
The Atomic Bomb
The Atomic Spy
Klaus Fuchs After much investigation, on 27 January 1950 Fuchs confessed
to MI5 of his spy activities. This discovery probably accelerated the
U.S. hydrogen bomb effort, which had been announced by President Truman
only four days after Fuchs' arrest.
After serving 9 years in prison, he was released to East Germany where
he became a lecturer in physics.