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.
Little boy.

Little Boy and Fat Man

Technical description, photographs, and video of atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Los Alamos Ranch School boys playing hockey on Ashley Pond, 1924.

Los Alamos Before World War II

The Pajarito Plateau has been home to a number of inhabitants who have each uniquely shaped the landscape and history of the area.
Norris Bradbury standing next to the Gadget Device. Each of the 32 detonators (circles with two wires) attached to the Fireset (box) using two bridgewires.

Los Alamos Innovations: Electronics and Detonators

Manhattan Project scientists and engineers in Los Alamos, NM designed and developed a number of innovations in the field of electronics.
Battery of cameras at Point P (top of shelter), 10,000 West

Los Alamos Innovations: High-Speed Photography

Innovations in high-speed photography at Los Alamos helped develop photography into its modern-day form.
The Los Alamos Water Boiler reactor, circa 1944

Los Alamos Innovations: Water Boiler Reactor

By harnessing uranium in its liquid form, the Water Boiler reactor helped scientists learn how to best build the atomic bomb.
Lawrence O'Rourke SAM badge. Courtesy Larry O'Rourke.

Manhattan Project Begins - 1942

The summer of 1942 proved to be troublesome for the fledgling bomb project.
Vannevar Bush and Arthur Compton

Moving Forward - 1941

With the US now at war, a sense of great urgency permeated the government's scientific enterprise.
The atom. Image courtesy of Colin M. Burnett, Wikimedia Commons.

Mystery of the Atom - 1900-1939

During the early part of the twentieth century, physicists and chemists toyed with the idea of obtaining energy from atoms.
Maria Montoya Martinez and her grandchild with Enrico Fermi. Photo courtesy of the Robert JS Brown Collection.

Native Americans and the Manhattan Project

Many of the communities established during the Manhattan Project relied on Native American cooperation.

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