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January 2014 Newsletter

We hope you stayed warm through a frigid January! Soon you will be able to listen to more than 80 interviews of principal Manhattan Project figures recorded in 1965. The collection has five hours of General Leslie Groves alone. Coming soon on our "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website! 

In This Issue
AHF Releases Annual Report

The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF) has released our Annual Report for 2013 which presents accomplishments for the year and on-going efforts to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Highlights of 2013 include:

  • Denise Kiernan, bestselling author of The Girls of Atomic City, joined AHF's board of directors
  • Crystal Trust provided a very generous grant to digitize three oral history collections for AHF's "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website
  • The Carnegie Corporation of New York collaborated to collect oral histories and create a HistoryPin website of key Manhattan Project sites in New York City
  • The National Science Foundation supported a two-day workshop with museum, science and history experts on how best to interpret the science and history of the Manhattan Project for the public
  • Hanford veteran Watson Warriner was the catalyst for a special train with 29 cars from Seattle to Pasco organized by Bob McLean of the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners.

To download the 2014 Annual Report, please click here. Please contact AHF at to request a hard copy of the report.


Manhattan Project in the News 


We're pleased to note that several popular websites featured Manhattan Project-related articles in the past month. Public interest in this history continues to grow!


The website io9, which covers "covers science, science fiction, and the future," published several interesting stories on Manhattan Project and nuclear history in January.

The website Gizmodo, a popular tech website, highlighted a collection of photographs of the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, on the 60th anniversary of its launch. 

The USS Nautilus arriving in NYC in 1958
Legislative Update

Congress came close to establishing a Manhattan Project National Historical Park in 2013. In 2014, we are more determined than ever to create a park. Representative Doc Hastings has vowed to see the legislation pass this year, possibly as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. AHF is working in partnership with Congressional staff, members of the local Manhattan Project communities, the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Energy Communities Alliance to ensure that the park is established soon. 

Remembering Don Ames and Roger Rohrbacher

We are sad to report that we lost two good friends in January, Don Ames and Roger Rohrbacher. They will be greatly missed by friends and family.


Don worked under Glenn Seaborg at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1949 and went on to direct the McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratories. He also founded Fluotech, Inc. He was 91 years old when he passed away on January 2. An interview recorded in 2005 is on the "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website here.


Roger arrived in Hanford in early 1944 where he worked as an instrumentation engineer at B Reactor. He measured neutron flow and conducted radiation monitoring. He was an active member of the Instrument Society of America and the B Reactor Museum Association, for which he guided many tours of the B Reactor. Roger passed away at age 93 on January 12.


Roger appeared in one of our popular Hanford vignettes, Welcome to the B Reactor, and our interview from 2003 with him will go up on "Voices" soon. 


Recent Additions to "Voices of the Manhattan Project"

Peggy Parsons Bowditch was a young girl when she and her family moved to Los Alamos in 1943. Her father, Rear Admiral William Sterling "Deak" Parsons, was chosen by General Groves to become head of ordnance for the Manhattan Project. The Parsons lived on Bathtub Row, next door to the Oppenheimers. Deak Parsons and his wife were very close friends of Robert and Kitty Oppenheimer. In 1953, after learning that Oppenheimer would be stripped of his security clearance for trumped-up reasons, Parsons died of a heart attack. The infamous spy Klaus Fuchs sometimes babysat for the Parsons girls and Peggy remembers babysitting for young Peter Oppenheimer. Peggy speculates that her father's lifelong emphasis on preparing for the worst helped him with arming the Little Boy bomb as the Enola Gay headed towards its target.  


Ray Smith is the historian at the Y-12 National Security Complex. He provides an overview of the history of Oak Ridge, the uranium enrichment processes undertaken at the Y-12, K-25, and S-50 plants during the Manhattan Project, and how the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs worked. As one who has be instrumental in heritage preservation for Oak Ridge, Smith talks about efforts to preserve Oak Ridge's unique history.


Fred Vaslow a physical chemist, began working on the Manhattan Project while a graduate student at the University of Chicago. During his time working on the project, Vaslow worked in several of the secret cities, including Los Alamos alongside J. Robert Oppenheimer.


Anthology Promoted as Amazon Deal

Our Manhattan Project anthology has been selected as an Amazon Kindle "Big Deal" and is on sale for only $1.99! The sale goes through February 2, 2014. Thanks to the promotion, The Manhattan Project is in the top ten of 20th century American history e-books sold on Amazon. We're in good company with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Erik Larson!


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. Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 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 great 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 on Amazon and our online store.



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