June 2012
House Committee to Vote on MP Park Bill
Congressional Hearings on MP Park
Watch Rotblat Event Online
The Manhattan Project is Kindle Book of the Day
AHF Republishing NM Guidebook
Quick Links



The Atomic Heritage Foundation is pleased to report significant progress towards our goal of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Seventy years from its inception, we hope that the Manhattan Project will be duly recognized and included in the national park system by the 112th Congress
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The Washington Monument on July 4th

BREAKING NEWS: House Committee to Vote on Manhattan Project Park on July 11, 2012

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AHF's summer intern Fiona Vella outside of the Longworth Building

On July 6, Representative Doc Hastings, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, announced that his committee would vote on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act on Wednesday, July 11.


Rep. Hastings said"I expect the Committee will vote to favorably advance the bill to the full House for consideration.  A great many volunteers have been working for years to bring this idea into reality, and I'm pleased that progress is being made in the law-making process to preserve this amazing and important piece of our Nation's history."


The Committee meeting will be held in 1324 Longworth House Building at 10 AM. It will be broadcast live online


Congressional Hearings Affirm Congress's Commitment to MP Park 


On June 27 and 28, Congress took another major step towards the creation of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park by holding hearings on legislation to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. In the Senate, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act is S.3300 and was sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); in the House, the bill is H.R. 5987 and was sponsored by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA).


On June 27, Senator Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, held a hearing of the National Parks Subcommittee on S. 3300, among other pieces of legislation. Herbert Frost of the National Park Service, Ingrid Kolb of the Department of Energy, and Mayor Tom Beehan of Oak Ridge testified in support of creating a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Mayor Beehan declared, "Interpretation  at  these  sites  will  be  about  giving  current  and  future generations an understanding of this indisputable turning point in American, and indeed world history." He went on, "The science of the Manhattan Project has transformed contemporary society with  significant  contributions  in  fields  such  as  nuclear  medicine  and  nanotechnology. This Historic Park will tell all sides of the story of what occurred at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities."


Several other senators, including Maria Cantwell (D-WA), an original cosponsor of S. 3300, and Bob Corker (R-TN), also endorsed the legislation. Senator Bingaman explained that he hopes to hold a committee markup on S. 3300 in the near future. To watch the video of the Senate hearing, please click here.


On June 28, Representative Hastings, Chairman of the the House Committee on Natural Resources, held a hearing of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on the legislation. Victor Knox of the Department of Interior, Ingrid Kolb, and witnesses representing the three Manhattan Project sites testified. 


Rep. Doc Hastings

Representative Hastings declared his dedication to preserving these pieces of history from destruction and allowing increased public access to the Manhattan Project sites. He noted the genuine bipartisan bicameral desire to advance the law. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), an original cosponsor of the legislation, emphasized the importance of remembering all the people who contributed to the Manhattan Project, including those from the surrounding communities who supported the endeavor.


Gary Petersen, the Vice-President of TRIDEC, spoke on behalf of the 1,500 people who were forced by the government to move off the Hanford site; the 50,000 people who worked there; and the people who built the site, including his father-in law. Heather McClenahan, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Historical Society, movingly testified, "At its heart, the story of the Manhattan Project is about creativity and about destruction. It is a scientific story, a soldier's story, a spy story, and a human story." D. Ray Smith, the historian of the Y-12 Plant, emphasized, "It's my job to make history come alive," and highlighted the fascination that even schoolchildren experience when learning of the trials, tribulations, and success of the Manhattan Project. 

Cindy Kelly with Heather McClenahan and D. Ray Smith
 at the House hearing. Gary Petersen stands in the background.

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), who has a PhD in physics, strongly endorsed the legislation to preserve this history. Holt explained that while "Manhattan Project" has become part of the American language, people use the term without understanding what it really was. 


To watch the House hearing, please click here


With Senator Bingaman, Representative Hastings, and the cosponsors of the legislation in both the House and the Senate committed to getting the legislation passed, we are very hopeful that the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act will be enacted this year. To keep apprised of any news, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


AHF Symposium:

"Joseph Rotblat & the Pugwash Conferences"


On June 5, 2012, the Atomic Heritage Foundation partnered with the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and Federation of American Scientists (FAS) to present a symposium on "Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences." 


AHF President Cindy Kelly provided opening remarks about Rotblat, a Polish physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. Rotblat is best known for the Pugwash Conferences which convened scientists from around the world to address concerns about nuclear weapon proliferation.

Our esteemed panel: Andrew Brown, John Holdren, Matthew Evangelista, & Steven Miller

The event was inspired by Dr. Andrew Brown's critically acclaimed new biography Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience: The Life and Work of Joseph Rotblat (Oxford, 2012). At the conference, Brown discussed Rotblat's early years in Poland during World War I, his research in Cambridge, England, and his defection from the Manhattan Project. 


Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), was a personal friend of Rotblat through their joint work on the Pugwash Conference. Holdren remembered Rotblat's energy and passion for nuclear disarmament, for which he was recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. 


Dr. Matthew Evangelista, author of "Unarmed Forces," is professor of History and Political Science at Cornell University. Evangelista analyzed the influence of the Pugwash Conferences on the course of the Cold War including on the US-Soviet nuclear summits and nonproliferation policies. 


Dr. Steven Miller is currently the director of the International Security Program at the Belfer Center at Harvard University and co-chair of the U.S. Pugwash Committee and a member of the Council of International Pugwash. Miller discussed the Pugwash Conferences' efforts today, especially regarding the Middle East.


The event was a great success. We would like to thank our most distinguished panel of speakers and many others with long careers in disarmament whose questions produced a lively exchange.


The Elliott School of International Affairs has posted the video of the event up on their website. Enjoy!


The Manhattan Project is Kindle Book of the Day!


guest houseOn June 1, Amazon selected The Manhattan Project as the Kindle Book of the Day! As a result, the Kindle edition shot up to seventh on all Kindle books sold, behind only the two trilogies Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games. The Wall Street Journal reported that The Manhattan Project was number four in nonfiction e-books sold during the week of June 3rd (Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs was number ten).


We hope this pace continues! The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses, and Historians, was edited by AHF President Cindy Kelly and published by Black Dog & Leventhal in 2007. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Rhodes wrote the introduction.


The anthology includes seminal historical documents, first-hand accounts, personal recollections, and excerpts from nonfiction and literary accounts. The Manhattan Project is a terrific way to learn about the top-secret program to build the first atomic bomb, life in the "Secret Cities," and the legacy of the Manhattan Project for the world today.


The Manhattan Project can be purchased through AHF's online store as well as through Amazon.


AHF Republishing New Mexico Guidebook

Perro Caliente. Photo courtesy of the Los Alamos Historical Museum Archives

In 2010, we published 1,000 copies of our Guide to Manhattan Project Sites in New Mexico. We have now sold or donated nearly every copy. Because of the guidebook's popularity with individuals and museums, we are planning on expanding and republishing the guide. 


The new guidebook will be longer and include a new section on J. Robert Oppenheimer's rustic cabin in the Pecos mountains, Perro Caliente. The guide will highlight AHF's oral history collection and feature more color photos. Thanks to a generous donation by Clay and Dorothy Perkins, we are planning on publishing 2,000 copies. Look for the new guidebook coming soon!


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