History

History

This section provides an overview of the history of the Manhattan Project, the key organizations involved, the science behind the bomb, and more.
Little boy.

Little Boy and Fat Man

Technical description, photographs, and video of atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Lawrence O'Rourke SAM badge. Courtesy Larry O'Rourke.

Manhattan Project Begins - 1942

The summer of 1942 proved to be troublesome for the fledgling bomb project.
Vannevar Bush and Arthur Compton

Moving Forward - 1941

With the US now at war, a sense of great urgency permeated the government's scientific enterprise.
The atom. Image courtesy of Colin M. Burnett, Wikimedia Commons.

Mystery of the Atom - 1900-1939

During the early part of the twentieth century, physicists and chemists toyed with the idea of obtaining energy from atoms.
Maria Montoya Martinez and her grandchild with Enrico Fermi. Photo courtesy of the Robert JS Brown Collection.

Native Americans and the Manhattan Project

Many of the communities established during the Manhattan Project relied on Native American cooperation.

Nuclear Fission

In the 1930s, scientists observed and explained nuclear fission--splitting an atom--for the first time.
President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT, 1 July 1968. Photo Courtesy of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a comprehensive international arms control agreement addressing both horizontal and vertical nuclear proliferation.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Nuclear Power Today

One of the Manhattan Project’s many legacies is the development of peaceful nuclear reactors.
US Trident missile.

Nuclear Proliferation Today

The unprecedented use of nuclear weapons in World War II served as the starting point for an ongoing era of nuclear proliferation.

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