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Norman Ramsey and the Manhattan Project

Lot 0095 Details

Description
Groves Leslie

Nuclear Scientist Norman Ramsey Seeks Clarification on Aspect of Manhattan Project

"I should be happy to have my understanding corrected."

NORMAN F. RAMSEY JR., Typed Letter Signed, to Leslie R. Groves Jr., May 14, 1969, Cambridge, MA. 1 p., 8.5" x 11". Very good.

Excerpts

"One historical matter puzzles me concerning the last paragraph of your letter. I had always thought that the physicist, John Archibald Wheeler, was one of the principal advocates of putting reserve reactivity into the Hanford piles. I may have been quite wrong in feeling that he deserved credit for this along with the engineers and administrators. If so, I should be happy to have my understanding corrected."

[Annotation by Groves:]

"right as far as physicists went. He went along wholeheartedly with DuPont. He of course was at Wilmington as an advisor on physics matters."

Historical Background

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008) worked with the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he helped design nuclear reactors. He then worked with DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, to build them.

In October 1942, DuPont agreed to design and build the chemical separation plant, and ultimately DuPont engineers and one of General Groves's staff members selected a site near Hanford, Washington, where nearby dams could provide hydroelectric power. The site was far enough inland to meet security requirements, and the ground was stable enough for the massive buildings required. Groves approved the selection and authorized the establishment of the Hanford Engineer Works to produce plutonium. Wheeler was the leading physicist in residence at Hanford and is credited with solving the riddle of the B Reactor's going dead a few hours after it started, which threatened the production of plutonium.

Norman F. Ramsey Jr. (1915-2011) was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up on army posts to which his father was assigned. He studied mathematics and engineering at Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1935. He studied physics at Cambridge University and received a Ph.D. in physics in 1940. During World War II, Ramsey was involved in radar research before joining the Manhattan Project in 1943. He led a group tasked with integrating the design and delivery of the nuclear weapons developed in the laboratory. After the war, Ramsey returned to Columbia briefly before joining the physics faculty of Harvard University. He taught there from 1948 until his retirement in 1986. In 1960, he received one of the first Ernest Orlando Lawrence Awards in physics. He received the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention that had important application in the construction of atomic clocks.

Leslie R. Groves Jr. (1896-1970) was a United States Army General with the Corps of Engineers who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. Born in New York to a Protestant pastor who became an army chaplain, Groves graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1918 in a course shortened because of World War I. He entered the Corps of Engineers and gained promotions to major by 1940. In 1941, he was charged with overseeing the construction of the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, with more than five million square feet. Disappointed that he had not received a combat assignment, Groves instead took charge of the Manhattan Project, designed to develop an atomic bomb. He continued nominally to supervise the Pentagon project to avoid suspicion, gained promotion to brigadier general, and began his work in September 1942. The project headquarters was initially in the War Department building in Washington, but in August 1943, moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer selected the site in Los Alamos, New Mexico, for a laboratory, and Groves pushed successfully for Oppenheimer to be placed in charge. Groves was in charge of obtaining critical uranium ores internationally and collecting military intelligence on Axis atomic research. Promoted to major general in March 1944, Groves received the Distinguished Service Medal for his work on the Manhattan Project after the war. In 1947, Groves became chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. He received a promotion to lieutenant general in January 1948, just days before meeting with Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower, who reviewed a long list of complaints against Groves. Assured that he would not become Chief of Engineers, Groves retired in February 1948. From 1948 to 1961, he was a vice president of Sperry Rand, an equipment and electronics firm. After retirement, he served as president of the West Point alumni association and wrote a book on the Manhattan Project, published in 1962.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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Norman Ramsey and the Manhattan Project

Estimate $300 - $400
Aug 28, 2019
Starting Price $100
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Ships fromWestport , CT, United States
University Archives

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item

0095: Norman Ramsey and the Manhattan Project

Sold for $140
3 Bids
Est. $300 - $400Starting Price $100
Historical Documents, Autographs, & Books
Wed, Aug 28, 2019 10:30 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0095 Details

Description
...
Groves Leslie

Nuclear Scientist Norman Ramsey Seeks Clarification on Aspect of Manhattan Project

"I should be happy to have my understanding corrected."

NORMAN F. RAMSEY JR., Typed Letter Signed, to Leslie R. Groves Jr., May 14, 1969, Cambridge, MA. 1 p., 8.5" x 11". Very good.

Excerpts

"One historical matter puzzles me concerning the last paragraph of your letter. I had always thought that the physicist, John Archibald Wheeler, was one of the principal advocates of putting reserve reactivity into the Hanford piles. I may have been quite wrong in feeling that he deserved credit for this along with the engineers and administrators. If so, I should be happy to have my understanding corrected."

[Annotation by Groves:]

"right as far as physicists went. He went along wholeheartedly with DuPont. He of course was at Wilmington as an advisor on physics matters."

Historical Background

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008) worked with the Manhattan Project's Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, where he helped design nuclear reactors. He then worked with DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, to build them.

In October 1942, DuPont agreed to design and build the chemical separation plant, and ultimately DuPont engineers and one of General Groves's staff members selected a site near Hanford, Washington, where nearby dams could provide hydroelectric power. The site was far enough inland to meet security requirements, and the ground was stable enough for the massive buildings required. Groves approved the selection and authorized the establishment of the Hanford Engineer Works to produce plutonium. Wheeler was the leading physicist in residence at Hanford and is credited with solving the riddle of the B Reactor's going dead a few hours after it started, which threatened the production of plutonium.

Norman F. Ramsey Jr. (1915-2011) was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up on army posts to which his father was assigned. He studied mathematics and engineering at Columbia University, from which he graduated in 1935. He studied physics at Cambridge University and received a Ph.D. in physics in 1940. During World War II, Ramsey was involved in radar research before joining the Manhattan Project in 1943. He led a group tasked with integrating the design and delivery of the nuclear weapons developed in the laboratory. After the war, Ramsey returned to Columbia briefly before joining the physics faculty of Harvard University. He taught there from 1948 until his retirement in 1986. In 1960, he received one of the first Ernest Orlando Lawrence Awards in physics. He received the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention that had important application in the construction of atomic clocks.

Leslie R. Groves Jr. (1896-1970) was a United States Army General with the Corps of Engineers who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. Born in New York to a Protestant pastor who became an army chaplain, Groves graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1918 in a course shortened because of World War I. He entered the Corps of Engineers and gained promotions to major by 1940. In 1941, he was charged with overseeing the construction of the Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, with more than five million square feet. Disappointed that he had not received a combat assignment, Groves instead took charge of the Manhattan Project, designed to develop an atomic bomb. He continued nominally to supervise the Pentagon project to avoid suspicion, gained promotion to brigadier general, and began his work in September 1942. The project headquarters was initially in the War Department building in Washington, but in August 1943, moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer selected the site in Los Alamos, New Mexico, for a laboratory, and Groves pushed successfully for Oppenheimer to be placed in charge. Groves was in charge of obtaining critical uranium ores internationally and collecting military intelligence on Axis atomic research. Promoted to major general in March 1944, Groves received the Distinguished Service Medal for his work on the Manhattan Project after the war. In 1947, Groves became chief of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. He received a promotion to lieutenant general in January 1948, just days before meeting with Army Chief of Staff Dwight D. Eisenhower, who reviewed a long list of complaints against Groves. Assured that he would not become Chief of Engineers, Groves retired in February 1948. From 1948 to 1961, he was a vice president of Sperry Rand, an equipment and electronics firm. After retirement, he served as president of the West Point alumni association and wrote a book on the Manhattan Project, published in 1962.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE.

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