Name: Seth Neddermeyer (1907-1988)
Occupation: Implosion Research
Site: Los Alamos
Years on Project: 1943-1946
Seth Neddermeyer was born on September 16, 1907 in Richmond, Michigan. He received an A.B. from Stanford University in 1929 and a physics Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1935 under Carl D. Anderson. He discovered the muon, a negatively charged subatomic particle, with Anderson in 1936.
Neddermeyer was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project by J. Robert Oppenheimer from the National Bureau of Standards. He proposed using an implosion method for the bomb that would use powerful explosives to compress a core of radioactive material to a critical mass. Although Oppenheimer doubted the feasibility of the implosion method, he appointed Neddermeyer to the new post of group leader in the Ordnance Division for implosion experimentation. However, Neddermeyer struggled with the idea's implementation, and in January 1944 James Conant recruited George Kistiakowsky to help with the program. In June of that year, Oppenheimer asked Kistiakowsky to assume all work on implosion as an associate division leader and demoted Neddermeyer to senior technical adviser.
After World War II, Neddermeyer taught at the University of Washington, moving from associate professor to professor emeritus, until his death in 1988. He received the Enrico Fermi Award from the United States Department of Energy in 1982.
- Array of Contemporary American Physicists | Seth Neddermeyer
- The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, pp. 466-467, 541-543, 547
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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