1942 to 1943: Early Manhattan Project

1942 to 1943: Early Manhattan Project

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Chicago Pile Argonne

1943 Oct 4

DuPont engineers release reactor design drawings for the first Hanford, WA plutonium production pile, 100-B, allowing construction to begin.

1943 Oct

Project Alberta, the full scale atomic bomb delivery program, begins. Norman Ramsey appointed to select and modify aircraft for delivering atomic bombs.

1943 Oct

The first Alpha racetrack (containing 96 units) is completed. A work force of 4800 to run the Y-12 Plant has been assembled. Startup is unsuccessful due to unexplained shorts in the magnets.

1943 Sept 23

J. Robert Oppenheimer suggests recruiting George Kistiakowsky, the leading explosives research director at The Office of Scientific Research and Development, to aid an expanded implosion effort.

1943 Sept 20

John von Neumann arrives on a visit to Los Alamos, NM and points out the potential for high compression from implosion. This is a clear advantage for the technique which would make a bomb more efficient, and require a smaller critical mass. Edward Teller and Hans Bethe begin investigating the subject theoretically, J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves become very interested in its potential, and efforts to accelerate the program begin. John von Neumann agrees to work on the physics of implosion in his spare time.

1943 Sept 17

First shot fired in gun assembly research program at Los Alamos, NM. The focus at this point is on developing a high velocity gun for plutonium since a uranium gun would be much easier to make.

1943 August

The first Alpha Electromagnetic Separation unit for uranium begins operation. Construction staff at Oak Ridge, TN now exceeds 20,000. Also, construction begins on the cooling systems for the production reactors at Hanford, WA. Construction staff is about 5,000.