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Arthur Wang Matthew Schaeffer Patrick Fahey Period 3

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THE MANHATTAN PROJECT. Arthur Wang Matthew Schaeffer Patrick Fahey Period 3. Why it Started and the Einstein Letters.

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Arthur Wang

Matthew Schaeffer

Patrick Fahey

Period 3

why it started and the einstein letters
Why it Startedand the Einstein Letters

The Americans feared that Germany would be attempting to build a nuclear weapon, leading to the rush to build one faster than Germany could. This was described in 4 letters by Einstein to FDR.

  • First Letter: describes the potential of uranium as a source for immense energy. Notes that Germany stopped all sale of uranium in Czechoslovakia (occupied by Nazis). Einstein believes that such an early action may condemn the Allies to a uranium-powered bomb.
  • Second Letter: mentions the son of German Undersecretary of State, C. F. von Weizsäcker was collaborating with a group of chemists working with uranium at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Chemistry. Also describes how interest in uranium has intensified since the start of the war. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics appears to be working with the Institute of Chemistry on a project of great secrecy, it states.
  • Third Letter: Not much can be taken from the letter except that Einstein believes that the urgency of the situation is greater than ever before.
  • Fourth Letter: Introduces Dr. L. Szilárd who understands the potential power of uranium and is greatly disturbed by its possible effects.
  • Security of the project was so tight not even most of US knew anything more than rumors
  • Several communist spies worked at Los Alamos, including David Greenglass who was transferred there as part of the Special Engineering Detachment
  • He leaked information on the project to his sister and his brother-in-law, Ethel Greenglass and Julius Rosenberg
  • 1950 - Klaus Fuchs admitted to being a spy, leading the FBI to his handler, Harry Gold, who then led the FBI to Julius Rosenberg
  • General Leslie Groves was placed in charge of the Manhattan Engineer Project in September 1942. He was placed in charge of all the phases: scientific, production, security and planning. He was ranked “Temporary Brigadier General”.
  • A large amount of spies from Germany and Japan recognized rumors of the Project, but no one ever succeeded in obtaining information
  • The Soviet Union was more successful with thousands of spies in the US and UK, but no US or UK spies in Moscow
  • Many physicists (not necessarily tied to the project) were part of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA)
  • Some of the physicists leaked info to the USSR, but nothing more than rumors
  • The threat was imminent and Soviets gave the code name ENORMOZ (enormous)

General Leslie Groves

scientists who were involved
Scientists Who Were Involved
  • Albert Einstein: Wrote the letter describing Germany’s attempts at purifying U-235, which could then be used to create an atomic bomb
  • EnricoFermi: placed in charge of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago in 1942. His team developed the first atomic pile and produced the first nuclear chain reaction
  • Richard Feynman: received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1942, and in his theses applied the Principle of Stationery Action to problems of quantum mechanics- At Princeton, Robert W. Wilson encouraged Feynman to participate in the Project
  • Robert Wilson: youngest group leader at Los Alamos, worked closely with Oppenheimer and Fermi, and was known for his brilliance, enthusiasm, and “get-it-done” resourcefulness
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer: scientific director of the project, considered the “father” of the atomic bomb, overlooked the Trinity test, his second child was born at the site in Los Alamos.
  • Harold Urey: in spite of pacifism, directed isotope separation studies
  • 1945 - 40 laboratories and factories and approximately 200,000 workers
  • Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Harold Urey
  • Atomic # - 92
  • Atomic Symbol- U
  • Atomic Mass - ~238
  • Melting Point - 1135˚C
  • Boiling Point - 4131˚C
  • First isolated from the mineral pitchblende in 1841 by Peligot
  • More abundant than mercury and silver
  • Heavy silvery-white metal that is pyrophoric (highly flammable) when finely divided
  • 16 isotopes- all radioactive- most commonly used: U-238, U-235, U-234
  • Natural occurring uranium contains about 99.283% U-238, 0.711% U-235, 0.005% U-234
  • Nuclear fission of U-235 used in bombs and explosives including “Little Boy”
  • AN- 94
  • AS- Pu
  • AM- 244
  • MP- 640˚C
  • BP- 3228˚C
  • Pu-238- produced in 1940 by Seaborg, McMillan, Kennedy, and Wahl
  • Pu-239 is used in nuclear reactors/reactions
  • Complete detonation of a kg of plutonium = 20,000 tons of chemical explosive
fat man
Fat Man
  • Was the atomic bomb dropped over Nagasaki, Japan at about 1,800 ft above ground level
  • 10,200 pounds, 10.6 ft long, 5 ft diameter
  • The blast was equal to that of 42 million sticks of dynamite
  • Was an implosion type weapon with a plutonium core
  • Thought to be named after Winston Churchill
  • 39,000 people were killed on impact and 25,000 others were injured
little boy
Little Boy
  • Was the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima Japan
  • Got its explosive power from the nuclear fission of Uranium 235
  • Its power was between 13-18 kilotons of dynamite
  • 140,000 people were killed
trinity test
Trinity Test
  • Little Boy was never fully tested, only Fat Man was
  • The trinity test site was at the Alamorgodo Bombing Range 210 miles south of Los Alamos
  • Three observation bunkers were built 10,000 yards away
  • The bomb (known as “the gadget” vaporized the tower and turned the asphalt around the base of the tower to green sand.
  • The blast knocked people even 5 miles away off their feet
  • The bomb was over twice as powerful as the makers expected it to be
decision to use the bombs
Decision to use the Bombs
  • Was originally going to be dropped on Germany, and when Germany surrendered the only other major resistance to end the war was Japan
  • Truman told Japan about the bomb and asked them to surrender, Japan refused
  • It was decided that the bomb should be dropped because the death toll would be less than if the war continued (for Americans and Japanese)
  • On August 3, 1945 Little Boy was dropped, despite all the devastation Japan still refused to surrender
  • Then three days later Fat Man was dropped, and finally Japan surrendered


Arthur Wang

Matthew Schaeffer

Patrick Fahey

Period 3