For instance, he showcased that the reaction that occurs in the heart of massive stars—the chemical process that gives off heat and energy—is nuclear fusion. With this theory in mind, he proposed several ways that hydrogen nuclei could be fused with helium nuclei, which proved to be fundamentally important to the completion of the atomic bomb while also expanding knowledge of the science of nuclear fission and fusion. In addition to this, Bethe helped the Manhattan Project team develop the formula needed for calculating the explosive yield of an atomic bomb, as well as assisted with creating the formula for calculating the critical mass of uranium—the radioactive material found in the earliest atomic bombs used against Hiroshima in Ernest Lawrence is an American-born nuclear physicist who participated in the Manhattan Project after receiving his doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Before being chosen for the atomic bomb project, Lawrence focused his intentions on founding the academic research laboratories that would allow him to strongly pursue advancements in nuclear physics.
In these labs, Lawrence invented the cyclotron in This device accommodated the acceleration of nuclear particles to velocities high enough to disintegrate atoms and form new elements without using high voltage currents. This technology grew more powerful over time and was useful in the production of the atomic bomb.
From Treasury Vault to the Manhattan Project
As the Program Chief of the Manhattan Project, Lawrence was given domain over research concerning the electromagnetic separation of atoms to be used in the atomic bomb. By the end of World War II, Lawrence joined many of his fellows in their efforts to suspend atomic bomb testing, specifically when he attended the Geneva Conference in Klaus Fuchs, a German theoretical physicist, was a notorious spy working for the Soviet Union who was embedded within the Manhattan Project.
Prior to the ascension of the Third Reich, Fuchs fled Germany. Fuchs was interned in Quebec as a German refugee for a short time in , but after his release, he became a British citizen in When the British selected their delegation of scientists to participate in the Manhattan Project, Fuchs was on the list.
However, during his time with the program, Fuchs delivered atomic secrets to the Soviets. Even though he delivered information to the Soviets during the Manhattan Projects, Fuchs contributed many important theories to the development of the atomic bomb, such as helping develop the means needed to implode the critical fissionable core within the first atom bomb designs. Due to this accomplishment, Fuchs was granted high-level security clearance and explicit access to many of the key details of the Manhattan Project. Some experts estimate that the information that Fuchs delivered enabled the Soviet Union to develop their own atomic bombs at least one year sooner than would otherwise be expected.
In , Fuchs was ousted as a spy and sentenced to 14 years in prison though he served only nine.
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Glenn Seaborg was an American-born chemist who earned his Ph. Together with Edwin McMillan, Seaborg discovered plutonium—a critical component of nuclear weapon technology—in After the atomic bombs were dropped, Seaborg became a member of the Atomic Energy Commission. When he was elected chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in , he used the position to campaign for the peaceful use of atomic energy, opposing further testing of nuclear weapons.
The Manhattan Project forever changed the global landscape. Since then, atomic energy has been a highly controversial topic, with countless organizations and governments attempting to suppress its widespread use and others aiming to capitalize on the military and industrial superiority that effectively applied nuclear technology can create.
Many of the individuals involved in the Manhattan Project, including those listed above, have worked to regulate the devastatingly powerful technology by founding or joining councils, committees, and similar organizations determined to limit the weaponization of atomic energy. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities. The unique curriculum of the online Master of Arts in Military History program was developed by the distinguished faculty of Norwich University and guided by the goals outlined by the American Historical Association.
Robert Oppenheimer , Biography. Leo Szilard , Atomic Heritage Foundation. Skip to main content. August 7, The American island-hopping campaign in the Pacific begins with the landing at Guadalcanal. Marshall commanding. August Seaborg produces a microscopic sample of pure plutonium. September 13, The S-1 Executive Committee visits Lawrence's Berkeley laboratory and recommends building an electromagnetic pilot plant and a section of a full scale plant in Tennessee.
September 17, Colonel Leslie R. Groves is appointed head of the Manhattan Engineer District.
Manhattan Project national park to preserve atomic bomb building sites
He is promoted to Brigadier General six days later. September 19, Groves selects the Oak Ridge, Tennessee site for the pilot plant. October 3, E.
October 5, Compton recommends an intermediate pile at Argonne. Fall J.
Robert Oppenheimer and the luminaries report from Berkeley that more fissionable material may be needed than previously thought. October 19, Groves decides to establish a separate scientific laboratory to design an atomic bomb. October 26, Conant recommends dropping the centrifuge method. November 22, On the recommendation of Groves and Conant, the Military Policy Committee decides to skip the pilot plant stage on the plutonium, electromagnetic, and gaseous diffusion projects and go directly from the research stage to industrial-scale production.
The Committee also decides not to build a centrifuge plant. November The Allies invade North Africa. Oppenheimer is chosen laboratory director.
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December 2, Scientists led by Enrico Fermi achieve the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction in Chicago. December 10, The Lewis committee compromises on the electromagnetic method. The Military policy Committee decides to build the plutonium production facilities at a site other than Oak Ridge. December 28, Roosevelt approves detailed plans for building production facilities and producing atomic weapons.
January , Plans for the Y electromagnetic plant are discussed. Groves insists that Y's first racetrack be finished by July 1. January 16, Groves selects Hanford, Washington as the site for the plutonium production facilities. Eventually three reactors, called B, D, and F, are built at Hanford. January Bush encourages Philip Abelson's research on the thermal diffusion process.
February 18, Construction of Y begins at Oak Ridge. February Groundbreaking for the X plutonium pilot plant takes place at Oak Ridge.
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March Researchers begin arriving at Los Alamos. April Bomb design work begins at Los Alamos. June Site preparation for the K gaseous diffusion plant commences at Oak Ridge. July Oppenheimer reports that three times as much fissionable material maybe necessary than thought nine months earlier. August 27, Groundbreaking for the B plutonium production pile at Hanford takes place.
September 8, Italy surrenders to Allied forces.
Developing the bomb
September 9, Groves decides to double the size of Y September 27, Construction begins on K at Oak Ridge. November 4, The X pile goes critical and produces plutonium by the end of the month.
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Late John von Neumann visits Los Alamos to aid implosion research. December 15, The first Alpha racetrack is shut down due to maintenance problems. January The second Alpha racetrack is started and demonstrates maintenance problems similar to those that disabled the first.
January Construction begins on Abelson's thermal diffusion plant at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. February Y sends grams of uranium to Los Alamos. March The Beta building at Y is completed. March Bomb models are tested at Los Alamos. April Oppenheimer informs Groves about Abelson's thermal diffusion research in Philadelphia.