February 2012
Richard Rhodes Compresses Atomic Bomb History
Behind the Scenes at Los Alamos
Enrico and Leona's Transcontinental Journey
Get Well Soon, Bill Wilcox!
A Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State Selling Like Hotcakes
World War II in New York City
Quick Links





February has been a busy month for AHF! From traveling to the Capitol to meet with Congressional staff on the proposed legislation to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, to publicizing our new Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State, we have been working hard to educate the public about the Manhattan Project and preserve its history. We've also been regularly updating our Facebook page--please "like" us to help the spread the word about our mission!


Please consider making a donation to help us and our friends of the Manhattan Project preserve this history and make the park a reality! 


 Richard Rhodes Compresses Atomic Bomb History

AHF Board Member Richard Rhodes compressed his Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the making of the atomic bomb (nearly 800 pages) into seven minutes.  Part of the online program "Real News from the Blaze," Rhodes presents the "Real History of the Manhattan Project" in an excellent brief version of his Manhattan Project tome. 

From Jewish scientists fleeing persecution to fears that Nazi Germany could develop an atomic bomb, Rhodes discusses the beginnings of the Manhattan Project. Rhodes highlights the secrecy surrounding the Project, emphasizing that most of the 125,000 people involved were not told what they were working on and that they could not talk about their work under any circumstances. The vast scale and enormous cost of the Project, Rhodes explains, demonstrates the top priority the operation represented to the U.S. Government. 


You can watch the video here.


 Behind the Scenes at Los Alamos

Physicist Hugh Bradner


The Los Alamos National Laboratory recently discovered and released never-before-seen footage of everyday life at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. Because of the secrecy surrounding the Project, scientists and others living at the top-secret laboratory were forbidden from capturing films or even photos. But apparently one scientist, physicist Hugh Bradner, "with a wink and a nod from security forces," used a video camera to record his fellow scientists relaxing on weekends.



Under immense pressure to build a new weapon with unimaginable power to defeat Hitler and then bring the war with Japan to an end, scientists created a vibrant social life at Los Alamos to let off steam. From parties and square dancing to plays starring (and sometimes parodying) the top scientists and military officials, the denizens of Los Alamos found innovative ways to unwind.


You can watch KOAT's coverage of the discovery here.       


 Enrico and Leona's Transcontinental Journey

Enrico and Leona saying goodbye to the National Museum of American History, with Cindy Kelly and Alexandra Levy

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH) has graciously donated the remains of the Science in American Life exhibition related to the 1940s to the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Among this collection are mannequins of Enrico Fermi and Leona Woods Marshall. The two mannequins are lifelike representations of Fermi, the brilliant Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist, and Woods Marshall, his assistant and one of the few female physicists among the top-echelon Manhattan Project scientists. For the last 30 years, the two mannequins stood high on a balcony overlooking a mock-up of the Chicago Pile-I.  


On February 2, AHF's Cindy Kelly and Alexandra Levy picked up the two mannequins and sent them via FedEx to Hanford, Washington. The mannequins will soon be installed in the B Reactor in Hanford. We hope that visitors will enjoy seeing them at work next to the control room of the B Reactor. 


To see Enrico Fermi's office at the B Reactor from 360 degrees, please click here. To view more sites at the B Reactor from 360 degrees, visit the amazing photography at this website.


 Get Well Soon, Bill Wilcox!


Bill Wilcox, a Manhattan Project veteran and founder of the Partnership for K-25 Preservation, has been a longtime partner of AHF.  After making an ardent presentation on the mitigation plan for the K-25 plant to the Oak Ridge City Council, Bill suffered a serious heart attack the next morning, February 14, 2012. 


Fortunately, his progress has been "phenomenal." Soon after the episode, he was watching the History Channel. On Monday, February 27, Bill was transferred to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, 1901 Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37919. While visits are limited to 12-1 PM, cards are very much appreciated. We wish you a full and speedy recovery, Bill! 


 A Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State Selling Like Hotcakes




We recently announced the publication of our new Guide to the Manhattan Project in Washington State, which provides an overview of the Manhattan Project and related sites in Washington. On February 13, the Tri-City Herald published an article about the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park featuring the new guidebook. Since then, we have received many orders for the guidebook. Order your copy here while supplies last! We also sell companion guides to the Manhattan Project in New Mexico and Tennessee here


 World War II in New York City


 Map of NYC designating Manhattan Project sites


Over 5,000 people worked on the Manhattan Project at sites scattered across New York City. The name "Manhattan Project" is commonly thought to be a red herring. But in fact, the Army Corps of Engineers named the top-secret project because its first offices were in Manhattan, at 270 Broadway.


In 2008, the Atomic Heritage Foundation published A Guide to the Manhattan Project in Manhattan. AHF plans to expand and republish the guidebook this fall. The guide will complement an exhibit called "WWII & NYC" being developed by the New-York Historical Society that will open on October 5, 2012. The exhibit will feature a huge interactive map of New York City highlighting Manhattan Project sites. Even more dramatic will be the 17-foot cyclotron that was once in the basement of Pupin Hall, on loan from the Smithsonian. You can read more about the upcoming exhibit here. Don't miss it!


Thanks very much for your interest in the Manhattan Project and preserving its history for future generations. To realize the full potential of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, we need as strong a partnership as there was for the original Manhattan Project. Your contributions help us continue to work on preserving the Manhattan Project's historic sites and creating a national historical park. 


Thank you very much for your support!



Atomic Heritage Foundation