We are sad to report the passing of Manhattan Project veteran George Mahfouz on November 26, 2015 at the age of 95.
Mahfouz, an engineer, joined the Manhattan Project in 1943 when he was offered a job at the Houdaille-Hershey nickel plant in Decatur, Illinois. He helped produce material for the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant in Oak Ridge. He then joined the Monsanto Chemical Company in Dayton, Ohio, which separated and purified polonium-210 to be used as the initiator for the plutonium bomb. He described the importance of Dayton's role in the Manhattan Project: "No trigger, no bomb. Just that simple."
Mahfouz joined the Process Engineering Group at Runnymede Playhouse, a leisure facility that was converted into a top-secret laboratory in early 1944. After the war, Mahfouz was tasked with cleaning up the Playhouse, which had become so radioactive that it had to be dismantled and buried in 1950. Mahfouz spent the rest of his career with Monsanto at Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio.
He recalled, "I spent forty years here at Mound, with the exception of three years. It was a great thirty-seven years. We had a wonderful organization here, I thought. I was very happy."
For more about Mahfouz and his Manhattan Project work and career, you can watch two interviews with him on our "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website: George Mahfouz's Interview and Mound Laboratory Panel Discussion.