The General and the Genius: Groves and Oppenheimer -- the Unlikely Partnership That Built the Atom Bomb
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In the summer of 1945, the world was changed forever. The bomb that ushered in the atomic age was the product of one of history's most improbable partnerships. Leslie Richard Groves was made overlord of the impossibly vast scientific enterprise known as the Manhattan Project. His mission: to beat the Nazis to the atomic bomb. So he turned to the nation's preeminent theoretical physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer. In their three-year collaboration, the iron-willed general and the visionary scientist led a brilliant team in a secret mountaintop lab and built the fearsome weapons that ended the war but introduced the human race to unimaginable new terrors.
his elbows and his white Trinity security badge hanging from a button on his shirt. It was stifling in the small tent, which, to minimize dust, had no ventilation. Temperatures soared. In this claustrophobic space, which smelled of sweat and heated canvas, a few men removed their shirts and undershirts. For both documentary and instructional purposes, a movie cameraman captured the operation on sixteen-millimeter film. One still photograph from a single frame of that film would in the years to
Priscilla, mentioned passim: 105, 124–25, 188, 206 Berkeley Conference and, 51–52 Kitty Oppenheimer and, 130 marriage to Duff Duffield and, 229 Robert Oppenheimer and, 128 secretary to Oppenheimer and, 76, 87 Greenbacher, Hazel, 152 Greenglass, David, 135, 265, 328, 411 Greisen, Kenneth, 195, 300 Ground Zero. See Trinity Site Groves, Grace, 27, 120 Groves, Gwen, 27, 120 Groves, Leslie R., mentioned passim: 6, 25, 32, 45, 50, 56, 59, 62, 63, 67, 68, 77, 84, 213–15, 217–18, 239, 242,
was assumed that most of this money would go to universities. In June 1940, Roosevelt took a more significant step. He established the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) to coordinate scientific research needed for national defense, and he transferred the Committee on Uranium to the new organization, where it became known simply as the “Uranium Committee.” Vannevar Bush of the Carnegie Institute was asked to serve as chairman. The son of a Universalist parson, Bush received doctorates
Operation Meetinghouse. Taking off from bases in Saipan and Tinian, 334 B-29s conducted a raid on Tokyo. Arriving just after midnight, March 10, the B-29s dropped over 1,700 tons of incendiary bombs from an altitude of only five hundred feet, burning more than sixteen square miles of the city to the ground. Although precise figures are not available, at least 100,000 people died, and perhaps another 125,000 were seriously injured. The Tokyo fire department later estimated that at least 286,000
production to the army and to make the first of a series of important decisions. The Stone and Webster Company was awarded a contract for the construction of a pile in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to produce commercial quantities of plutonium. But when Bush urged that all four methods of separating uranium be explored, Marshall resisted, arguing that bankrolling four expensive experiments was unaffordable, given the other demands of the war effort. He initially gave tentative approval to the plutonium