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Thread: How many knew about the Manhattan Project?

  1. #1
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    How many knew about the Manhattan Project?

    The day before the Hiroshima bombing, how many people knew America was making an atom bomb?
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  2. #2
    If you can tom get a copy of Absolutely Feynman there are many stories that have to do with the Manhatten project. One story is that all the scientist heading to Los Alamos to bu train tickets to different destinations. Feynman figured that since everyone else was use fake destinations he would just use the closest train stop. The clerk at the train station said,""So all the stuff is for you." Apparently all the equipment was being sent to the same place. Or the fact that there were holes in fence people could walk thru,
    https://youtu.be/RNNfkIE7uYs
    There probably were some outside the people who should of known who knew. All the powers were spying on each other. There probably was some hope that the trinity test would leak to the Japanese and get a earlier peace settlement.
    Here is a complete talk of Feynman talking Los Alamos.
    https://youtu.be/uY-u1qyRM5w
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
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  3. #3
    Minor thing I got wrong was that they should of bought their tickets from anywhere but Princeton and he bought it at his at Princeton.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    http://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    The day before the Hiroshima bombing, how many people knew America was making an atom bomb?
    I don't know the answer. But it is also probably not a black and white thing.

    According to the wikipedia article, at one time 130,000 people worked on the project. But like most secret projects, it was a need to know. A janitor probably didn't know anything about it. A young scientist working on some small part of it, might have know they were working on nuclear fission, or bomb design, but didn't know the details. Even upper managers might have know a lot more, but didn't know the target. On the other hand, the military brass probably knew little or nothing about the technology details.

    Similar things can be said about other military operations, for example, the D-Day landings (happy anniversary). The Germans knew the Allies were planning an invasion along the Western front. It was probably common knowledge among the thousands of military people involved and the British population. Exactly when and where was the big secret, and the when wasn't decided till the last minute.
    Last edited by Swift; 2018-Jun-06 at 12:50 PM.
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  5. #5
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    I have some meccano magazines from the war years and after the devices were first cast, the editor wrote that the news would be no surprise to readers as they had an article about the possibility of such things the previous year. And he was right! The censors must have had kittens.

  6. #6
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    Answer: whatever the number ends up being plus Josef Stalin and a few others east of Berlin.


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  7. #7
    They did have Karl Fuchs who spied for Russia working at Los Alamos.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    http://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    The day before the Hiroshima bombing, how many people knew America was making an atom bomb?
    I know you're not required to answer this, but why is this a question?

    To me this seems like asking how many people in the Manhattan Project were left handed or how many wore blue ties.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  9. #9
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    Well, the existence of a project to create a bomb powerful enough to obliterate a city used to be an incredible thing, the stuff of science fiction.
    Calm down, have some dip. - George Carlin

  10. #10
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    I never worked on a top secret government project, but when working on undisclosed government/legal/corporate projects you could have a vast array of people who know but don't speak of it. When I say "undisclosed", I mean the agency has no particular stake in keeping anything secret, but also have no particular reason to have such things advertised. You can general reams of data in rather short order with computers and hordes of staff. Collecting it all for legal proceedings was one of my nightmare assignments.

    You can have tons of non-stakeholders creating and utilizing information because it is their job, but have no idea that a particular plan or project is the works. For example, making games based on movies. Of course, everyone knows they are coming but you don't want to spoil the film with too many details from secondary products. Also, stakeholders who love what they do want the same "pop" as everyone else when they sit down to view the film. Silly example, but it may compare.

    As a non-personal example, my wife's grandmother worked as a secretary for Bell during the Apollo program. She can say things that make her sound like an engineer or executive. She claims she does not understand at all. Or more likely, doesn't care to understand. She worked there to get funds to open a florist shop. 60's style single-mother, business woman, hustling to make ends meet before she went big time. She is kind of super-cool.
    Solfe

  11. #11
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    ...
    During World War II, [Harold] Urey's team at Columbia worked on a number of research programs that contributed towards the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb for the United States. Most importantly, they developed the gaseous diffusion method to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238. In autumn 1941, Urey, with G. B. Pegram, led a diplomatic mission to England to establish co-operation on development of the atomic bomb.

    Isaac Asimov, a student at Columbia at this time, remembers Urey lamenting, perhaps too vehemently, how pained he was that he could do nothing to help the war effort. Asimov pointed out innocently that perhaps the enriched uranium kept at Columbia may have had something to do with the war effort. Urey reddened and changed the subject.
    ...
    https://www.tititudorancea.com/z/harold_urey_74.htm

  12. #12
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    I really do remember those kind of things from back when I was a weather/range-safety programmer for one NASA contractor or another.

    We were told of a “classified” launch time, but also warned that the actual time was not to be discussed. Let’s just say that it was 0200 local.

    However, due to the customary Florida weather, said launch got slipped to tomorrow … again and again. (Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Good line!)
    So, I’d trek out there at 10 p.m. night after night for my T-minus-4-hours stuff. (Actually, it would move back some four minutes each night, some sidereal time thing, but close enough.)

    I might be having dinner at 2 p.m., so I could get home and try to sleep for this night’s try. A waiter/waitress would ask me if we’d be trying for the old 2 a.m. target this night.
    Now, after enough scrubs/slips, everybody else in the damn place knew exactly what the topic was, including the time. I mean, half of the working people on Merritt Island were keeping this odd schedule.

    Still, I had to keep mum, act as if I had no idea.

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