Atomic Heritage Foundation
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Washington, DC 20006
November 2013
We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the holiday season. We know what we want for the holidays: Congress to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park! We are hopeful that the park bill will be passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. For more details, see below.
In This Issue

Giving Tuesday
Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of encouraging charitable activities and supporting nonprofit organizations. Please consider donating to the Atomic Heritage Foundation to preserve and interpret the history and legacy of the Manhattan Project.


Looking for holiday gifts? Check out our online store. We sell guides to the Manhattan Project in New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, and Manhattan, as well as our nationally acclaimed anthology on the Manhattan Project, documentary films, and much more. We'll even gift wrap your purchase for free upon request!


Legislative Update


On June 14, 2013, the House of Representatives voted to include the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 1960. A few hours later, the House passed the NDAA and, along with it, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act. The Manhattan Project Park Act, and the NDAA amendment, was sponsored by Representatives Doc Hastings (R-WA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). 

On November 21, Senator Maria Cantwell, with Senators Patty Murray, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich, proposed to include the Senate's version of the park bill (S. 507) as an amendment to the NDAA. The Senate is currently negotiating the procedure for considering the 507 amendments that have been offered to the NDAA. Despite some contentious issues, we are still hopeful that Congress will pass the NDAA with the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as an amendment. Thanks to the excellent leadership of the Manhattan Project delegation!

AHF Visits Chemical Heritage Foundation


On November 7, AHF President Cindy Kelly and Program Manager Alexandra Levy visited the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia, PA. We met with CHF President Carsten Reinhardt (far left) and Director of Institutional Grants and Strategic Projects Richard Ulrych (far right) to explore common issues and future initiatives. 


CHF has an outstanding rare book collection including a first edition of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica. The museum includes exhibits on climate change, bakelite, alchemy, and a wonderful interactive periodic table, pictured above. The museum is located at 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA, near the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. For more information, visit CHF's website, especially its Center for Oral History.


AmazonSmile is a new initiative by Amazon to contribute to charities. Amazon will contribute .5% of an order's purchase price to a selected charity. You can click here to select the Atomic Heritage Foundation as your charity. AHF will automatically receive .5% of the purchase price of your future orders
placed at, at no cost to you. (Please note that you will need to place future orders on for AHF to receive the contribution.) Please consider selecting AHF as your Amazon charity, and support our work a few pennies at a time!


Recent Additions to "Voices of the Manhttan Project"


Thanks to the hard work of our intrepid interns, Owen Pagano and Bianca Wythe, we made great progress in November adding oral histories to our "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website. Many of these interviews are incredibly insightful and moving. We are especially fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview Gwen Groves Robinson, the daughter of General Leslie Groves, who discusses her father's persevering personality as well as his loving nature.

Gwen Groves Robinson is the daughter of General Leslie Groves, who served as the head of the Manhattan Project. A teenager during the project, she recalls visiting Gen. Groves in his office in Washington, DC, playing tennis with him, and his interactions with his trusted secretary, Jean O'Leary. Gwen explains why her family nicknamed her father "DNO," and talks about the many games she would play with her father - including games where he was the "baby." She discusses how her father was raised and the high standards to which he held both himself and his family. She learned about her father's important role in the development of the atomic bomb from the radio after the bombing of Hiroshima.

Norman Brown was at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project as a member of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). Brown worked in D-Building and "purified all the plutonium that went in the Nagasaki bomb." He received shipments of plutonium from Hanford in tiny one-liter flasks filled with a dark brown liquid and kept a record of every shipment that came in and the amount of plutonium in the sample on a sheet that he had made.

Herb Depke arrived in Hanford in 1943 after his father was transferred by the DuPont Company to work as an expediter during the Manhattan Project. Depke recalls some of his childhood memories of Hanford, including the time he got lost after the school bus dropped him off after school but he could not figure out which house was his because they all looked the same. Depke also discusses how the atomic bomb saved his father's life, as he was being trained as a port director for the impending invasion of Japan.
During the Manhattan Project, Thomas O. Jones worked as a counter-intelligence officer and oversaw security for many of the project's sites. Later, Jones became an intelligence officer at Los Alamos where his role was "to see that whatever happened, nobody noticed." He provided security for the Trinity Test and "had people circled around the test site as far down as El Paso and Amarillo, Texas" to ensure that things went "smoothly" and ordinary citizens did not report anything unusual.

Priscilla J. McMillan is an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasiana Studies at Harvard University and a former adjunct fellow of the Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. She is the bestselling author of "The Trial and Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer" and "Marina and Lee." Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where she is a member of the editorial board. She was recently profiled in The Atlantic as The Only Person Who Knew Both Kennedy and His Killer.

Ted Rockwell worked on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge as a member of the "Process Improvement Team" that was tasked with monitoring and fixing problems at various plants across the site. Rockwell described the secret city as "a tremendous sociological experiment" where "kids who had never used any indoor plumbing and sons of Nobel laureates all went to school together." After the Manhattan Project, Rockwell joined Captain Hyman Rickover to build the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.
Tom Scolman arrived in Los Alamos shortly after receiving his PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota under renowned physicist Alfred Nier. At Los Alamos, Scolman worked in the Weapons Division where and a team of physicists helped assemble and test explosives that would be used in nuclear devices. After the war, Scolman worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and presided over hundreds of nuclear tests in the South Pacific, Nevada, and Amchitka.

William Spindel spent time at Oak Ridge before being transferred to Los Alamos to help make special coatings for the implosion bomb. Spindel witnessed the results of his work during the Trinity Test, which he described as "the most intimidating minute of my life." He also knew David Greenglass, a machinist at Los Alamos who divulged classified information about the atomic bomb to the Soviets. At one point, Greenglass "tried to get me to serve as a spy." Thankfully, Spindel declined.

"Pandora's Promise"

In November, CNN showed the broadcast premier of the documentary Pandora's Promisewhich profiles five environmentalists and energy experts on why they support nuclear energy. Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and over 20 other books and a member of AHF's Board of Directors, was one of the five experts featured.


The documentary delves into the fascinating history of nuclear power plants and the protests against them. For example, "Pandora's Promise" looks at the Shoreham nuclear power plant (right) on Long Island, which was built at the cost of billions but shut down shortly after it began production because of protests. "Pandora's Promise" reveals that some of the literature fueling the protests were funded by oil companies who did not want to compete with the new nuclear reactor.


"Pandora's Promise" travels to Chernobyl and Fukushima to examine the real environmental and human impact of nuclear disasters, disabusing some of the myths commonly believed. For example, the documentary uses UN reports to show that the number of deaths caused by Chernobyl is often vastly exaggerated by anti-nuclear spokesmen.


"Pandora's Promise" is a good introduction to nuclear energy and its advantages and disadvantages in comparison to renewables, natural gas, oil, and coal. Click here to view a short clip of Richard Rhodes in the documentary.

  Thank you for your interest in the Manhattan Project and support for our     continuing efforts. 


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