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OSTIblog Articles in the Manhattan Project Topic

DOE Releases Manhattan District History and Oppenheimer Personnel Hearing Transcript via OSTI-Hosted OpenNet

by Rita Hohenbrink 09 Oct, 2014 in


The Department of Energy (DOE) recently completed two significant declassification efforts and has made the newly released documents publicly available on the OpenNet database, which DOE launched 20 years ago to improve public access to declassified documents.  The website is supported by the DOE Office of Classification and hosted by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) on a cost-reimbursable basis.

Over a 12-month period concluding in July 2014, DOE released to the public the Manhattan District History, a multi-volume classified history of the Manhattan Project.  Commissioned in late 1944 by General Leslie Groves, the history was “intended to describe, in simple terms, easily understood by the average reader, just what the Manhattan District did, and how, when, and where.”  The history records the Manhattan Project’s activities and achievements in research, design, construction, operation, and administration, assembling a vast amount of information in a systematic, readily available form.

Through the combined efforts of the Office of Classification and the Office of History and Heritage Resources, in collaboration with OSTI, the full text of the entire 36-volume Manhattan District History, organized in 79 files and containing more than 13,500 pages, is now available to the public on OpenNet.  Unclassified and declassified volumes have been scanned and posted.  Classified volumes were declassified in full or with redactions; still classified terms, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs were removed and the remaining parts made available...

Related Topics: atom bomb, declassified, hearing, Leslie Groves, Manhattan Project, OpenNet, Oppenheimer, security

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OpenNet spotlights The Manhattan Project

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OpenNet spotlights The Manhattan Project

Sixty-eight years ago, an atomic bomb was detonated on an isolated corner of southern New Mexico in a weapon test named Trinity.

This month,  The Manhattan Project: Resources, a web-based, joint collaboration between the Department’s Office of Classification and Office of History and Heritage Resources has been launched. The site is designed to disseminate information and documentation on the Manhattan Project to a broad audience including scholars, students, and the general public. OSTI is hosting this information as part of the OpenNet web site. Manhattan Project Resources consists of two parts: 1) a multi-page, easy to read and navigate Manhattan Project: An Interactive History providing a comprehensive overview of the Manhattan Project, and 2) the full-text, declassified, multi-volume Manhattan District History commissioned by General Leslie Groves in late 1944. The new site brings together an enormous amount of material, much of it never before released.

Related Topics: atomic bomb, Calutron (Y-12) Operators, Leslie Groves, Manhattan Project, OpenNet, OpenNet

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100th DOE R&D Accomplishments Feature Page Celebration

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100th DOE R&D Accomplishments Feature Page Celebration

DOE R&D Accomplishments is a unique website and database in the OSTI collection.  For over 14 years, special Feature pages have been methodically researched and useful information collected on scientists, discoveries, and historical events to include in this searchable resource.   It  is a rich source of DOE trivia unto itself. 

On June 12th, 2013, the 100th Feature Page was released on the website and it highlighted 2004 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, David Gross.  Gross joins other featured DOE Nobel Laureates such as Glenn Seaborg, E. O. Lawrence, Melvin Calvin and Saul Perlmutter on this distinguished list.  But there’s more than just Featured Scientists!  Topics are also featured in the list of 100 pages.  These include Topics like: the amazing breakthrough of decoding the human genome; the RTG-which powered many space vehicles including the Curiosity and New Horizons; the Archaea; nuclear medicine; and the Manhattan Project. The outcomes featured have had significant economic impact, have improved people’s lives, or have been widely recognized as a remarkable advance in science. 

These Feature pages are filled with factual information, links to documents, additional data, and multimedia files.  Preparation includes coordination with DOE research facilities, including Office of Science National Laboratories.  The...

Related Topics: Curiosity, David Gross, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, E.O. Lawrence, Glenn Seaborg, human genome, Manhattan Project, Melvin Calvin, nobel laureates, Saul Perlmutter, space

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Operations

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Operations

Major operations for the Manhattan Engineer District (Manhattan Project) took place in remote site locations in the states of Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington, with additional research being conducted in university laboratories at Chicago and Berkeley.

At the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, Enrico Fermi's experiments at the CP-1 pile took place to determine the exact amount of neutron reduction needed for a safe and controlled sustained nuclear reaction.  A second pile (CP-2), with external cooling, was built at Argonne in order to move the continuing experiments away from populated areas.

Under the umbrella of Clinton Engineer Works near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the X-10 experimental plutonium pile and separation facilities, the Y-12 Electromagnetic Plant, and the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant were constructed. 

In February 1943, ground was broken at X-10 for an air-cooled experimental pile, a pilot chemical separation plant, and support facilities.   On November 4, the pile went critical and it produced plutonium by the end of the month.  The chemical separation plant completed the steps needed for producing pure plutonium by extracting the plutonium from the irradiated uranium.  Chemical separation techniques were so successful that Los Alamos received plutonium samples in the spring of 1944.

Because of security requirements, fear of radioactive accidents, need for a long construction season and abundant water for hydroelectric power, an isolated area near Hanford, Washington (Site W) was chosen for the production plants.  Three water-cooled piles and three chemical separation plants were constructed.

At Y-12, using a design that was based upon research at Berkeley Lab, the first electromagnetic plant began to take shape in 1943.   By the end of February 1944, 200 grams of twelve-percent...

Related Topics: 70th Anniversary, atomic bomb, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, electromagnetic, gaseous diffusion, Manhattan Project, nuclear chain reaction, plutonium, uranium, World War II

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Establishment

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Establishment

On August 13, 1942, the Manhattan Engineer District, whose name was based upon the geographical location of its headquarters, was established.  In September, the Army appointed Colonel Leslie R. Groves to head the effort.  Groves held that the exigencies of war required scientists to move from laboratory research to development and production in record time.  Though traditional scientific caution might be short-circuited in the process, there was no alternative if a bomb was to be built in time to be used in the current conflict (World War II).

Various isotope separation methods (uranium enrichment) to produce uranium-235 were being researched at this time.  One was gaseous diffusion being done at Columbia and another was the electromagnetic method being done at Berkeley under Ernest O. Lawrence.  Based upon the success of the electromagnetic method, the S-1 (The Office of Scientific Research and Development Section On Uranium) Executive Committee recommended building plants in Tennessee at Site X (now Oak Ridge).

During this time, construction was taking place on the Stagg Field pile -- CP-1 (Chicago Pile Number one) at the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago where Enrico Fermi was conducting his research on chain reactions .  Also occurring was Glenn Seaborg's inventive work with plutonium, particularly his investigations on plutonium's oxidation...

Related Topics: 70th Anniversary, atomic bomb, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, electromagnetic, fission, gaseous diffusion, Manhattan Project, nuclear chain reaction, plutonium, Roosevelt, uranium, World War II

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The Manhattan Project -- Its Background

This year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Manhattan Project, a predecessor of the U.S. Department of Energy.  In honor of its impacts on science and history, a 'Manhattan Project' series on this blog will revisit various aspects of its background, establishment, operations, and immediate and long-term influences. The first of the series is about the background of the Manhattan Project.

During the fall of 1939, President F. D. Roosevelt was made aware of the possibility that German scientists were racing to build an atomic bomb and he was warned that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to such a weapon.  As a result, Roosevelt set up the Advisory Committee on Uranium, consisting of both civilian and military representatives, to study the current state of research on uranium and to recommend an appropriate role for the federal government.  The result was limited military funding for isotope separation and the work on chain reactions by Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard at Columbia University.

On a separate front, in late 1939 Vannevar Bush, president of the Carnegie Foundation, became convinced of the need for the government to marshal the forces of science for a war that would inevitably involve the United States.  In June 1940, Roosevelt established a voice for the scientific community by establishing the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), a reorganization of the Advisory Committee on Uranium into a scientific body that eliminated military membership.  The NDRC would have more influence and more direct access to money for nuclear research.  The NDRC's early priorities were studies on radar, proximity fuzes,...

Related Topics: 70th Anniversary, atomic bomb, DOE Research & Development (R&D) Accomplishments, Manhattan Project, nuclear chain reaction, Roosevelt, uranium, World War II

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STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

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STIP Partnership Ensures DOE R&D Results Are Disseminated

Many posts could be written about the rich history of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), which dates back to 1945 when Colonel K. D. Nichols announced plans for a complete and authoritative scientific record of all research work performed by Manhattan District contractors.  However, I want to focus on a specific slice of that history, one that is going strong and is well represented across the DOE complex.  I’m referring to DOE’s Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP, www.osti.gov/stip).

Just a month ago, STIP representatives from across the DOE complex convened in Pleasanton, CA, to participate in the annual STIP Working Meeting.  This important present-day collaboration, which is coordinated by OSTI, stems from the 1948 establishment of the Technical Information Panel by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).  In 1948, the country was just coming to terms with the wealth of scientific research resulting from the Manhattan Project. The formation of the Technical Information Panel was an important step forward for the agency and focused on establishing information policies, ascertaining information needs, recommending information dissemination methods, and serving as an important liaison between central and local organizations.

Today – some 60+ years later – STIP continues to be an important partnership in ensuring that results of the Department’s research are made available to DOE’s central STI organization in order to be made broadly accessible via OSTI web search tools and also through national and international STI web portals. Our STIP partnership works to enable reuse of previous research, preserve R&D results, and enhance transparency.By working together,DOE’s STI Program participants take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies to be efficient and cost effective and allow for maximum use of the research information. In addition, we ensure that appropriate...

Related Topics: Manhattan Project, r&d, Scientific and Technical Information Program Website, sti, stip

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Technical Reports and Journal Articles

Technical reports and journal articles are both used to report the results of research and development projects. There are differences between the two that are driven by the objectives of each form of reporting.

The primary objective of journal articles is to report results of experimental and/or theoretical scientific investigations to enhance the body of scientific knowledge. This is the primary way that (1) science advances and (2) the scientific community communicates among its members and practitioners. Typically, there are space limitations prescribed by the journal publisher that limit the length of journal articles usually to only a few pages. Journal articles are almost always subjected to a rigorous peer review process before they are accepted for publication.

The main objective of technical reports is to document the research findings together with the approaches and techniques to inform the research process. Unlike journal articles, technical reports face no space limitation. At OSTI, our technical reports range from a few pages in length to several hundred and average 60 pages in length. The content is more under the control of the author(s) and is rarely subject to peer review beyond that which the author(s) or their institution(s) may seek.

A commonality between electronic technical reports and journal articles is the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to uniquely identify each document. DOIs are used to ease the referencing of a technical report or a journal article in downstream publications. The advantage of using a DOI for a document is that it is a permanent identifier that will ride with the document even though the document’s location and other metadata may change. Referring to an online document by its DOI thus...

Related Topics: Enrico Fermi, journal articles, Manhattan Project, technical reports, Thomas Edison

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