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.
Jumbo on train

Jumbo

Jumbo was designed by Los Alamos lab to act as a failsafe device for the Trinity test explosion.
Leo Szilard. Image courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

Leo Szilard's Fight to Stop the Bomb

Hungarian-American physicist Leo Szilard's petition sought to avert use of the atomic bombs against Japan.
Kennedy signs the LTBT

Limited or Partial Test Ban Treaty (LTBT/PTBT)

The Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), also known as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), is an arms control agreement intended to restrict the testing of nuclear weapons and limit nuclear proliferation.
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.

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