-Thesis: The Manhattan Project was American project whose purpose was to develop nuclear
technologies in order to create a nuclear weapon/bomb; the Manhattan Project was created to develop
the nuclear bomb before Germany, who also had interest in developing a nuclear weapon/bomb, there
was a substantial amount of resources used in the Manhattan project, including 3 major facilities, as
well as numerous physicists, chemists, military personnel, and other assorted workers at the facilities, in
the end, the Manhattan Project proved successful, and it's success culminated in the entry of the world
to the Nuclear Age.
(Why was the Manhattan Project formed?)
- Background information: United States was on brink of going to war.
- Evidence that Hitler was interested in developing a nuclear weapon (stopped exports of uranium)
- Einstein's letter to FDR
- Background physics: Uranium could be split
(Bring in background physics and chemistry regarding the theories on a nuclear reaction??)
- Enrico Fermi's experiment obtaining a self-sustaining nuclear reaction. (Proving the theory)
(The Where of the Manhattan Project)
- Chicago Metallurgy Facility (Location of Enrico Fermi's experiments)
==> Confirmed sustainability of a Nuclear reaction.
- Los Alamos (Central research facility)
==> Where most of the research took place. Most of the research was on how to deliver a nuclear
- Oak Ridge (One of two production facilities of Plutonium, and the production facility of enriched
==> In Tennessee.
- Hanford (One of two production facilities of Plutonium)
(Insert information on how Plutonium was produced??)
(Maybe touch on how the production facilities resembled standard factories, concealing their real
- Alamogordo ("Trinity Project" Test site)
(Effect of the Manhattan Project)
- Creation of Nuclear weapons
- Use of nuclear weapons: Trinity (World's first nuclear explosion), Hiroshima (First time use of a
[Uranium based] nuclear weapon ), Nagasaki (First time use of a [plutonium based] nuclear weapon)
[PRESENTATION TOPIC: The 3 nuclear devices that had been detonated, and what they were.]
- Entry of the world to the Atomic Age
- Nuclear Arms Race
Why create the Manhattan Project?
Einstein's letter to F. D. Roosevelt highlighting the possibility of Uranium to be used as a power source,
which may also create an explosive weapon.
Effect of the Manhattan Project?
"Trinity Project" Test device
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Entry of the world to the Atomic age.
Tennesee Oak Ridge Facility
- Used to produce enriched Uranium and Plutonium
- Construction began late 1942, completed in 1943
Los Alamos Research Facility
- Construction began 1942
- Other names include: "Site Y, Project Y, Zia Project, Santa Fe, or Los Alamos" ( page 85. Jones)
- Established April 1st, 1943
- Used to produce Plutonium
- Approved January 1943
- Location of the "Trinity" test.
- Tested July 16, 1945
- Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory
- Berkeley Radiation Laboratory
- Plutonium production minimal in 1943, more in 1944, and in 1945, enough for weapon construction.
Four driving questions...
1) Why was the Manhattan Project formed?
- To develop the Nuclear bomb before Germany.
2) Who were the people involved with the Manhattan Project?
- Large number of physicists.
- Industrial workers who purified the contents used in the bombs.
2) Where were the major locations of the Manhattan Project's components?
- Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Provided Enriched Uranium for Los Alamos)
- Los Alamos, New Mexico (Central Research and testing facilities)
- Hanford, Washington (Provided Plutonium for Los Alamos)
3) What is the effect of the Manhattan Project in history?
- Creation of the most devastating weapon in history.
- Creation of a new means of energy production.
By 1950, an estimated 340,000 people had died from the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I begin with that fact because while this paper treats the Manhattan Project
in an academic manner, I do not forget the tragic human cost. My purpose here, though, is to present
details of the project itself from my reading of Jeff Hughes' book, The Manhattan Project, aided by some supplemental sources, most significantly an Atomic Heritage Foundation publication which brings
together a collection of contemporaneous facts and observations from those directly involved in the
undertaking. [1,2] I here aim to concisely answer the basic "reporter" questions: the who, what, when,
where, and why of the endeavor that brought nuclear weapons into being.
Before World War II, and even before World War I, physicists were making great headway in
understanding the inner workings of the atom's nucleus. It is telling that in 1914, science fiction was
already covering nuclear weapons and energy.  Supposedly, Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard was
fascinated by that idea from a book by H.G. Wells and later came to the conclusion that chain reactions
releasing massive amounts of energy from the atom's nucleus might actually be possible. On December
21, 1938, a major discovery catapulted the nuclear field and brought that possibility of catastrophic
weapons much farther from fiction to feasible reality.  In Germany, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann
had found a surprising result: uranium, when struck by neutrons, could form barium, an element of half
its mass.  The team wrote to their colleague, Lise Meitner, who being Jewish, had earlier fled to
Sweden.  While on a walk, she and her nephew, Otto Frisch, speculated on the results and struck
upon the idea of nuclear fission.  Almost by accident, a discovery was made that changed the course
The rise of the Nazis in Germany in 1933 sent many scientists like Lise Meitner abroad.  The fascists in
Italy too came to power, and when Enrico Fermi left to collect the 1938 Nobel Prize for Physics, he never
returned.  Fermi became instrumental in nuclear physics research conducted in the United States.
When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia and halted uranium exports, it raised the eyebrows of
scientists like Szilard who thought the Nazis might make use of research like Fermi's.  Along with
Eugene Wigner, Szilard convinced Albert Einstein to alert the U.S. government and drafted Einstein's
famous letter warning President Roosevelt in 1939 about the possibility of Germany developing
powerful, new weapons.  With World War II looming in Europe, Roosevelt took the warning seriously,
even though America was still at peace. The president assembled a team including members of the
Army and Navy to consider Einstein's "suggestion regarding the element of uranium."