Atomic Heritage Foundation

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Stanley Hall

Stanley Hall (1924 - present) is an American laboratory technician and scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Hall was hired by Joe Fowler to work as a laboratory technician on the cyclotron at Princeton University in 1942 as a recent high school graduate. During his interview for the job, Fowler asked Hall who he wanted to win the war. “I need to know; who do you want to win?” remembers Hall. After a few months, the Princeton group was asked by Robert R. Wilson to move to New Mexico, as the cyclotron was to be installed at Los Alamos.  Still a teenager, Stanley Hall travelled by train across the country and arrived at Los Alamos on March 25, 1943.

As part of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, Hall started with the P-12 Division (Physics), which operated the cyclotron. He later joined the X-Division which used early computing methods to design the bomb. If the test bombs didn’t explode the way it should, this division was charged with explaining what had malfunctioned.  

In part due to his young age, Stanley Hall was drafted part of the way through his employment with the Manhattan Project. He was a part of the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos for the final year of the war.

Hall was present for the world’s first detonation of an atomic bomb, at the Trinity Test site in July of 1945. He watched the explosion from a location about ten miles away. He recalls the feeling of heat from the detonation as being like warm air that escapes when an oven is opened. Hall also remembers hearing the Star Spangled Banner play from a radio that someone had left on before the Test.

At the end of the war, Hall went to college and received his Bachelors of Science in Physics. He returned to the Los Alamos Laboratory after and continued to work there in various capacities. He stopped working with the cyclotron to avoid radiation, and instead he worked on the supercomputers and early coding systems. Stanley Hall worked at Los Alamos for forty years. 

Stanley Hall's Timeline

  • 1924 Nov 18th Born in New York City, New York.
  • 1935 Moves with family to Princeton, New Jersey.
  • 1942 Hired as laboratory technician for Princeton Cyclotron by Joseph Fowler.

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