Jun 28

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What is Manhattan Project? – Common Questions

Well this is no IT project but the project which shook the world and still had continuing effect on it . Let’s see what this project is all about …

The Manhattan Project was the crash government project, which occurred from 1942 – 1946, whose purpose was to develop a nuclear bomb. It succeeded on 16 July 1945 at the Trinity Test in New Mexico and went on to produce the two atomic bombs which leveled the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. Controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the leadership of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project is considered one of the most successful crash science/engineering projects of all time. The project grew to employ 130,000 people working at secret locations, and cost $20 billion US Dollars (conversion to 2004 currency).

The Manhattan Project was kick-started by a letter written by Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd to President Roosevelt, who argued that the Nazis could develop nuclear bombs which they could use to win the war. Leó Szilárd had discovered in 1933 that a nuclear chain reaction could be self-sustaining, and kept the result secret for as long as he could, fearful that fascist governments would exploit the technology to make nuclear bombs.

In March 1941 it was determined that a nuclear bomb could be created with only 25 pounds of Uranium-235, far less than physicists expected, and that a bomb could be created within a reasonable amount of time for use during the war.

Ironically, many of the best scientists which contributed to the Manhattan project were Jewish emigres, who came from Europe to escape Hitler. For example, Franz Simon and Nicholas Kurti came up with a way to separate uranium-235 from uranium ore, which was necessary for completion of the project. One of the two atomic bombs used in the war was actually made from plutonium, which at the time was considered a very exotic element. After the successful nuclear test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, it was only a matter of time before the government decided to put the weapon to use in warfare.

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1 comment

  1. KonstantinMiller

    Hello, can you please post some more information on this topic? I would like to read more.

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