The Manhattan Project
and predecessor organizations

For additional information on research and advocacy leading up to the Manhattan Project, see the "Nuclear Fission, 1938–1942" topic guide.

Contents

Advisory Committee on Uranium, October 1939–June 1940
Committee/Section on Uranium, June 1940–January 1942
National Academy of Sciences review committee, April–November 1941
OSRD Section S-1, January–June 1942
Manhattan Project Timeline, 1942–1943
Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, 1942
Chicago Metallurgical Project, 1943-1946
Los Alamos Organization, March 1943–August 1944
Los Alamos Organization, August 1944–August 1945
Other Los Alamos Staff in ACAP, 1943–1946

Resources

The official history, Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson, Jr., A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Volume I: The New World, 1939/1946 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1962) is a detailed introduction to the various technical and administrative facets of the Manhattan Project.

Also see the well developed history pages at the Los Alamos National Laboratory website, including a large collection of wartime staff badge photos.

Advisory Committee on Uranium, October 1939–June 1940

This ad hoc committee was established in October 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt to monitor and advise the government and military with respect to research on nuclear fission.


In June 1940 a technical subcommittee was added:

Committee/Section on Uranium, June 1940–January 1942

In June 1940 President Roosevelt created the National Defense Research Committee to be chaired by Vannevar Bush. The Advisory Committee on Uranium was absorbed into the NDRC, reorganized, and renamed. Because the NDRC was an explicitly civilian organization, the military members of the committee were dropped. In June 1941 President Roosevelt created the Office of Scientific Research and Development to be directed by Bush. James Conant became head of the NDRC, which was now within the OSRD, and the committee became one of a number of "sections" under the NDRC.

National Academy of Sciences review committee,
April–November 1941

In April 1941 Vannevar Bush asked National Academy of Sciences president Frank Jewett to create a committee to review progress in fission research and advise regarding future work.

OSRD Section S-1, January–June 1942

In January 1942,Vannevar Bush reorganized the Section on Uranium, renamed Section "S-1", into a vigorous program to drive toward the development of an atomic weapon. The section was removed from the NDRC and made an independent organization within the OSRD. In June 1942, the leaders of Section S-1 became the S-1 "executive committee" responsible for overseeing the relationship betwen the OSRD and what was increasingly an army-directed project.

Manhattan Project Timeline, 1942–1943

Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, 1942

The Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory was officially established in January 1942 by Section S-1 Program Chief Arthur Compton, and was built up over the spring and summer. Laboratory administration was initially loose, but was steadily tightened over the course of the year, with some changes in titles and responsibilities. The below-listed names are mainly laboratory leadership, but some support staff, marked with a *, are also mentioned because they are in ACAP.

Chicago Metallurgical Project, 1943-1946

In 1943, following the successful completion of an experimental reactor pile, laboratory staff and organization changed markedly as staff moved to the experimental reactor at the nearby Argonne Forest Preserve, to the pilot plutonium production plant and separation facility at Clinton Engineer Works near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to the Hanford full-scale plutonium production and separation facility in Washington State, and to the new bomb design laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The below-listed personnel do not comprise a full outline of the organization of the Chicago-area work in this period. However, all personnel who appear in ACAP are included here.

After the war, the Argonne laboratory was retained by the new Atomic Energy Commission, and eventually became the Argonne National Laboratory.

Project Y: Los Alamos Laboratory

Los Alamos Organization, March 1943–August 1944

Los Alamos Organization, August 1944–August 1945

Other Los Alamos Staff in ACAP, 1943-1946

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