This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.
The most difficult part of the Manhattan Project was not the scientific theory of the bomb but the engineering.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a journal founded in 1945 that analyzes nuclear policy challenges.
During the Cold War, the U.S. Army built a military complex under the Greenland ice sheet as a prototype for nuclear missile silos.
On March 1, 1954, the United States carried out its largest nuclear detonation, “Castle Bravo,” at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Bravo explosion was more than two and a half times greater than expected and caused far higher levels of fallout and damage than scientists had predicted.
On December 2, 1942, Chicago Pile-1 went critical, creating the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
In 1964, China became the fifth country to possess nuclear weapons.
Before the Manhattan Project, about two thousand people lived in White Bluffs, Hanford, and Richland, WA or nearby. For centuries, four different Native American tribes enjoyed the land along Columbia River.
To build the Los Alamos Laboratory, the Army took over the land of two dozen homesteaders, the Los Alamos Ranch School, and the Anchor Ranch.
During the Manhattan Project, about 3,000 families and farmers from rural Eastern Tennessee were displaced for new research and development sites.