History

History

This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.
100 tons of TNT

100-ton TNT Shot

Before the Trinity test, Manhattan Project officials realized that a calibration explosion using ordinary high-explosives would be useful.

216th Army Air Forces Base Unit

The 216th AAF served a crucial role in the Manhattan Project by helping to design and drop test bombs at Wendover Airfield, Utah.
The Enola Gay today on display at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.

509th Composite Group

The 509th Composite Group was organized as the weapon delivery arm of the Manhattan Project.
African American workers at Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project

African Americans and the Manhattan Project

African Americans played an important, though often overlooked, role on the Manhattan Project.
German Experimental Pile

Alsos Mission

The Alsos Mission's goal was to learn how close Germany was to developing its own atomic weapon.
A mockup of the accident that killed Louis Slotin.

Atomic Accidents

Although the Manhattan Project was overall a surprisingly safe project, there were a few tragic accidents.
AEC Logo

Atomic Age

The Manhattan Project ushered in the Atomic Age.

Atomic Energy Commission

The Atomic Energy Commission succeeded the Manhattan Engineer District in January 1947, when the Atomic Energy Act went into effect.
Manhattan Project Insignia. By Aaron Sauers, Argonne National Laboratory

Atomic Glossary

Some of the terms encountered when perusing the website can be confusing or obscure. This glossary is provided to assist readers and learners of Manhattan Project history.

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