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The Manhattan Project by Ethan Dull What was the Manhattan Project? The Manhattan Project was a secret project by America related to the development of the atomic bomb. It was America’s attempt to create the atomic bomb during WWII. The Manhattan Project started with a letter from Albert Einstein.Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt regarding the urgent need for an atomic research program. He was aware that the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb, so he decided we should beat them to it. He saw no need for it, but agreed to slowly start funding the project in the later half of 1941. The research startedat three college universities. They were the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and California at Berkeley University.Enrico Fermi was a physicist from Rome who worked and made breakthroughs on the Manhattan Project. He discovered that nuclear transformations can occur in almost every element. Fermi split Uranium’s atom and discovered nuclear fission. Fermi led a group of physicists to the start of a new age, the nuclear age. They ended up with the production of the first ever controlled nuclear chain reaction. This occurred on December 2, 1942 under the stands at Stagg Field at Chicago University. This breakthrough was an important step in the development of the nuclear bomb because this event led to increased funding, which allowed for research at more universities and more equipment to use, and an understanding of how the nuclear chain reaction can be controlled.Plutonium is an important element in the nuclear bomb. Plutonium was discovered by Glenn Seaborg, Joseph Kennedy, Arthur Wohl, and Edward McMillan at California at Berkeley University. Glenn Seaborg got put in the lead of the Plutonium Production Lab at Chicago University. Glenn Seaborg and his team were able to create microscopic samples of pure plutonium.President Roosevelt ordered on December 28, 1942 that all research on the Manhattan Project was to be combined to figure out how to make nuclear energy a weapon. Seaborg’s team worked and worked until they could get enough plutonium to power the first ever atomic bomb. Plutonium is fissioned to create the energy in atomic bombs. This occurs when a neutron hits the nucleus of the plutonium-239 and splits it into fragments. This produces lots of energy and the nuclear chain reaction occurs when the neutrons from the splitting of the plutonium is spread to other plutonium atoms.The first atomic bomb launched was a secret test during the Manhattan Project. The first atomic bomb test was called the Trinity Test. The scientist Julius Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists were responsible for delivering and construction of the first atomic bomb (the Gadget). The parts to the gadget were to be built at a place called the McDonald ranch house located about two  miles from the Trinity Test site. This is where the plutonium was placed into the core of the gadget.Early July 15, 1945, the team of scientist departed with the Gadget. Once they got to the Trinity Test site, they had to place the gadget inside a giant, cylindrical, steel container that weighed about 428,000 pounds (214 tons). Along with the gadget, 5,300 pounds (2.65 tons) of TNT were compacted inside the steel container. The team was certain that the TNT would explode, but it could be a catastrophe if the plutonium did not. The assembled container then had to be lifted atop a steel tower that was 100 feet tall.Once the steelcontainer was stationed at the top of the tower, the team went to a safe spot to observe the blast. There were three observatories located about 5.68 miles (10,000 yards)  from the Trinity test site. The observatories were bunkers heavily enforced with wood, concrete and were imbedded in Earth. There was also the McDonald ranch house at which many important scientist and helpers including  Leslie R. Groves, the military director of the Manhattan Project. The remote for detonating the Gadget was located in the bunker located south of the Trinity Test site. This bunker is where Julius Robert Oppenheimer was during the explosion.The detonation was planned for 4:00 am, but rain had unfortunately caused a delay. At 5:10 a.m. on July 16, 1945 the team starts a countdown for detonation. At 15 seconds before 5:30, the Gadget exploded in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It produced a mushroom cloud about 7.5 miles high, and produced shockwaves that could be felt up to about 160 miles away. The bomb left a depression in the Earth and the ground was covered in a green, glassy, and radioactive substance named trinitite. The test was a huge success and led to further developments and improvements to the atomic bomb.Many scientist were needed to create the atomic bomb. Hans Bethe is a scientist who helped with the calculations of uranium-235 and helped with the calculations of the size of the explosion created by the bomb. Glenn Seaborg and his team created plutonium-239. Klaus Fuchs was on the inner circle of scientist during the Manhattan Project, but he secretly delivered secrets to the Russians. Scientist Ernest O. Lawrence invented cyclotron which accelerated nuclear particles. With all of these scientist and more, the Manhattan Project was a success. Websites CitedAtomic Heritage Foundation Staff, “Science Behind the Atomic Bomb.”, June 5, 2014. Web. January 23, 2018Bradford, Alina, “Facts about Plutonium.” live, December 7, 2016. Web. January 23, Staff, “Manhattan Project.”, 2017. Web. January 23, Staff, “Trinity: First Test of the Atomic Bomb.”, October 12, 2011. Web. January 24, Staff, “The Manhattan Project.” us, 2018. Web. January 23, 2018

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