- During World War II it
was rumored that the Army Air Force had been seen dropping pumpkins
instead of bombs. Actually, this rumor originated from someone who
had learned or heard sensitive information from someone with the 509th
Composite Group. During practice bombing missions, the 509th
Composite Group dropped "test" bombs of approximate size and weight of the
"Fat Man" bomb. These test bombs were mustard colored and were
referred to as "pumpkins".
- The material called "Teflon" was developed by DuPont due to
corrosion provoked by uranium hexafluoride.
- "Born Inside Box 1663" - Box 1663, Santa Fe, NM was the
"blind" address used for all correspondence to and from Los Alamos.
The actual name Los Alamos was prohibited from showing up on any
letters or parcels - coming or going! The address shown on the
birth certificates of the children born at the Los Alamos Engineers
Hospital during the war years indicated a simple "Box 1663".
- More than 140,000
civilians, all passing rigorous background checks, worked at various
locations on the Manhattan Project. No formal record exists of
their participation, let alone what they did. You can make a
difference. If you know of someone who did participate, either
civilian or military, please contact us via "feedback" above!
- Some weeks after Germany
had surrendered, a German U-boat (#U-234) pulled into the Portsmouth
Naval Shipyard in Virginia. The crew promptly surrendered
themselves and their cargo - 10 cases of uranium ore being transported
to Japan (more)
- Los Alamos, NM is high on a mesa on the eastern slopes of the
Jemez Mountain Range (part of the Rocky Mountain System); it's
elevation ranges from 7,200 feet to more than 9,000 feet above seal
- When in New York, make it a point to see Michael Frayn's
intriguing play, "Copenhagen". This is a drama about
a 1941 meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark during World War II, when the
world renowned physicist Werner Heisenberg pays a visit to his
mentor, Niels Bohr, and his wife, Margrethe, to discuss the
possibilities of nuclear fission. The Dane, Bohr, was living
under Nazi occupation but soon would escape to lend his immense
expertise to the Allied cause. The German, Heisenberg, his
former pupil, came either to warn him or to try to win him over to
the Nazi cause. We'll probably never know.
- A constant worry amongst the upper echelons of the Manhattan
Project was how far along the Germans were in developing their
own atomic weapon. During the early years of the war, very
little useful information was obtained by "spies" working
behind enemy lines. However, in 1944, General Groves launched
the "ALSOS Project" which was designed to capture Hitler's
atomic scientists, scientific records, and uranium stockpiles as the
Allied Armies began their thrust into Europe.
- During the peak years of its operation, the Clinton Engineer
Works (later known as Oak Ridge) consumed 1/7 of the total electrical output of
the United States.