Dr. David Kaiser is the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He discusses the Manhattan Project and its legacy of innovations.
The B Reactor at Hanford was the first industrial-sized nuclear reactor. The B Reactor produced the plutonium used in the "Gadget," the atomic device used in the Trinity test, and "Fat Man," the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. These videos tell the story of the history, science, and engineering behind the B Reactor. For more about Hanford and the B Reactor, visit the Atomic Heritage Foundation's online "Ranger in Your Pocket" tour: http://www.atomicheritage.org/tours
Los Alamos was the site of the weapons laboratory of the Manhattan Project, where J. Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow scientists and engineers designed and built the first atomic bombs. These vignettes relate the history of Los Alamos; discuss the life of General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project; and the importance of preserving Los Alamos historical sites for future generations.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation has collected hundreds oral histories of Manhattan Project veterans and their families. To view the full collection, visit manhattanprojectvoices.org, which also includes information on each Manhattan Project site and the transcripts of all the interviews.
The Atomic Heritage Foundation conducted a two-day conference in Washington, D.C., bringing together scholars, researchers, museum experts, and informal science education professionals to explore new ways to engage the public in issues at the interface of science and society. The conference considered recent scholarship about the Manhattan Project and determine how the issues of science and society raised by the development of the atomic bomb can inform and be integrated with contemporary issues.
The workshop's goals were to advance the inter-disciplinary scholarship and to generate a set of ideas and recommendations for the development of exhibits, programs and media about this topic and its relevance to the 21st Century. The participants grappled with the challenges that arise when presenting issues raised by science in the context of history, society and culture.
The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation's Informal Science Education program in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and the Science, Technology and Society Program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE).