Atomic Heritage Foundation

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

Theodore A. Welton

Theodore “Ted” Welton (1918-2010) was an American physicist.

Welton was born in Saratoga Springs, New York. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he first met fellow Manhattan Project physicist Richard Feynman, who was also an undergrad at MIT at the time. Welton also went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Welton was teaching at Illinois when he was recruited by Feynman to join the Manhattan Project. In Welton’s 2007 article, Memories of Feynman, he recalled: “[Feynman’s] first question, ‘Do you know what we're doing here?’ was answered truthfully, ‘Yes. You're making an atomic bomb.’ A momentary, slightly thunderstruck expression was followed by a second question, ‘Well, did you know we're going to make it with a new element?’ That was answered in the negative.”

Welton joined Feynman’s T-4 (Theoretical) Division, which worked on diffusion problems. He was present at the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945.

After the war, Welton taught at MIT and at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1950, he joined the Theoretical Physics Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Welton helped the development of nuclear reactors, particle physics, electron microscopy, and helped coordinate the Laboratory with the Physics Department at the University of Tennessee. He received the Humboldt Prize in Physics from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation in Germany for his work.

Ted Welton died on November 14, 2010 in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.


Theodore A. Welton's Timeline

  • 1918 Jul 4th Born in Saratoga, New York.
  • 1944 Received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
  • 1944 to 1945 Worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.

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