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People Involved - The Manhattan Project
People Involved In the Manhattan Project

  • The project originally was put in effect due to fears of Nazis creating these destructive weapons.

  • Scientists began investigation on the weapons in the 1930's. Project sites were spread around the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The estimated 2 billion dollar project would employ over 130,000 people.

  • Pierre and Marie Curie discovered that atoms could release large amounts of energy. Progress began to accelerate tremendously when John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton split the atom.

  • Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner suspected that Germany might be using these same bombs. They needed to get their story out, so they decided to consult Albert Einstein.

  • The Einstein-Szilard letter was produced in August 2, 1939, warning Roosevelt of the powerful bombs. Roosevelt then authorized the creation of a Uranium Committee.

  • An all-out effort was suggested by the National Academy of Sciences. With much pressure, Roosevelt approved the effort of building nuclear weapons.

  • Bush would guide the project. The first meeting took place on December 6, 1941. Ironically, this was one day before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

  • After the United States entered the war, due to Japan's bombing, work accelerated.

  • Arthur Compton of the University of Chicago teamed up with the University of California's Robert Oppenheimer to research. Physicist John Manley also helped in this effort.

  • A major scientific breakthrough occurred on December 2, 1942 at the University of Chicago. Enrico Fermi caused the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. The Manhattan Project was in need of major reassurance, which it received with this breakthrough. The creation of these powerful atomic bombs was almost done.

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