John W. DeWire was a physicist who worked at Los Alamos from March 1943 to January 1946. He was part of Robert R. Wilson's team of physicists in Princeton, NJ who was personally recruited by Oppenheimer to work at Los Alamos. During his time at Los Alamos, DeWire also participated in an experiment at the Trinity Test site to obtain measurements from the nuclear reaction. His wife, Ruth DeWire, accompanied him to Los Alamos during the project.
He was born in Milton, Pennsylvania on June 12, 1916. He received his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College in 1938 and his Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1942. In an interview, he recalled the secrecy of the project, noting “our mail was to be forwarded, our mailing address was Princeton, our bank was Princeton” in order to conceal the physicists’ true location. He also offered insight into the importance the military placed on the project: when it came to supplies for experiments, “you wanted something, you got it” despite wartime restrictions. After leaving Los Alamos, he joined the Physics department at Cornell University. He would be appointed University Ombudsman in 1983. He died on September 17, 1990 in Ithaca.
For more information on his work at Cornell University: Cornell University Faculty Memorial Statement on John W. DeWire