After graduating from Williams College, Paul Wilkinson joined the Manhattan Project. He arrived in Oak Ridge in 1943, where he was sent to the Y-12 plant. While there, he supervised calutron work and some of the “calutron girls." One of these "calutron girls," Dorothy, later became his wife in 1944. After the war ended and the Manhattan Project was completed, Wilkinson stayed in Oak Ridge and continued to work on a variety of projects in the labs, including the development of containers for lunar collection samples.