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The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers.


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Thomas Piscina

Thomas Piscina

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No less important are the by-products of nuclear fission, including the large variety of radioactive products not completely revealed that promise major medical treatments and explorations of cancer and other diseases and the industrial use of chemical production methods developed in the $2,000,000,000 atomic bomb project...The War department released on Aug. 10 a semi-technical report on the processes by which the use of atomic energy for military purposes had been achieved. It was written by Dr. H D Smyth of Princeton at the request of Maj. Gen L. R. Groves, U.S. Army, head of the "Manhattan Project," which was the Army's designation of the atomic bomb project.

Article:   Atomic Power Leads
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

In postscript, it must be noted that women programmers did play significant roles in early computing. Subsequent computing projects at Los Alamos, which included the team that computed the feasibility of the hydrogen bomb, were composed of five people; of those, two were women.

Article:   The House that Dick Built
Source:  Offline Book/Journal

July 1, 1944 - The Manhattan Project was granted the highest project-wide procurement priority (AA-1).

July 20, 1944 - The Los Alamos Administrative Board decided on a reorganization plan to direct the laboratory's full resources on implosion. Instead of being organized around scientific and engineering areas of expertise, all work was organized around whether it applied to implosion, or the uranium gun weapon, with the former receiving most of the resources. The reorganization was completed in less than two weeks.

Article: The Manhattan Project (an...
Source: The Manhattan Project

Despite the numerous locations, however, the main weapons research and production were largely carried out at three top secret locations, the knowledge of which locations was not made known until the end of the war:

1) The facilities at the remote Los Alamos, New Mexico housed the main group of researchers and was responsible for final assembly of the bombs. This location was code named "Site Y".
2) The facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which had ready access to hydroelectric power, enricheduranium-235 and conducted plutonium production research. This location was code named "Site X".
3) The facilities at Hanford, Washington, which was near the Columbia River which supplied sufficient water to cool reactors, produced plutonium. This location was code named "Site W".

Article: World War II Database
Source: Operation Trinity and Man...

Operation Trinity

The test for the implosion-style plutonium weapon was scheduled for 16 Jul 1945 at a location 35 miles southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, in the northern sector of the Alamogordo Bombing Range (now the White Sands Missile Range). The site was chosen to be remote enough to keep the test secret, plus the strength of the explosive was unknown so that the site's distance from civilization added a buffer zone...The successful Operation Trinity test was considered by many as the start of the Atomic Age, as it was the test of a nuclear weapon technology.

Article: World War II Database
Source: Operation Trinity and Man...

Due to the intense secrecy surrounding the test, no accurate information of what happened was released to the public until after the second atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan. However, many people in New Mexico were well aware that something extraordinary had happened the morning of July 16, 1945. The blinding flash of light, followed by the shock wave had made a vivid impression on people who lived within a radius of 160 miles of ground zero. Windows were shattered 120 miles away in Silver City, and residents of Albuquerque saw the bright light of the explosion on the southern horizon and felt the tremor of the shock waves moments later.

The true story of the Trinity test first became known to the public on August 6, 1945.

Article: Trinity Atomic Web Site
Source: Trinity Atomic Web Site

Needless to say, when the Manhattan Project was given permission to use the Cost To Develop An Atomic Bombhighest wartime priority rating by the War Production Board, the cost was no object. Besides the customary human resource expenses for more than 130,000 employees, the total costs included funding for such projects as the construction of a uranium isotope separation plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, construction of research and development facilities at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos, and plutonium production reactors in Washington...The total estimated cost of the Manhattan Project in 1945 dollars was $2 Billion ($25 Billion in 2008 dollars)

Article: Los Alamos And Oak Ridge
Source: What It Costs

Einstein penned a letter to President Roosevelt urging the development of an atomic research program later that year. Roosevelt saw neither the necessity nor the utility for such a project, but agreed to proceed slowly. In late 1941, the American effort to design and build an atomic bomb received its code name — the Manhattan Project.

Article: 51f. The Manhattan Projec...
Source: Ushistory

The Manhattan Project was the American program for researching and developing the first atomic bombs. The weapons produced were based solely upon the principles of nuclear fission of uranium 235 and plutonium 239, chain reactions liberating immense amounts of destructive heat energy. Although originally established in Manhattan, New York by the Manhattan Engineer District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the majority of the research took place under director General Leslie Groves at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico.

Article: The Manhattan Project
Source: University of Pittsburgh

The Manhattan Project allowed the United States to unlock the mysteries of the atom, but it also introduced the most destructive creation of warfare known to mankind. The project became a forerunner in nuclear development and control and signified the beginning of an era of nuclear weapons and scientific discovery.

Article: The Manhattan Project
Source: The Manhattan Project