Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-1995. Conversations with David Inglis: Part 2. The war yearsDavid R. Inglis Papers (FS 033). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
(00:01:30)Not enthusiastic about entering into war until
1942 when, at Johns Hopkins, OSR project to develop the proximity fuze (a purely defensive
gadget) for anti-aircraft.
(00:06:30)Discovery of fission and beginnings with Los Alamos;
Bohr's arrival at Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism at George Washington University in 1939 an
announcement of discovery of fission.
(00:12:45)Going to Los Alamos: Teller and
Oppenheimer alert him to the project, previously unaware a bomb was possible.
(00:14:14)Problem of isotopic separation.
(00:16:40)Rush to Los Alamos in April 1943
(00:18:53)Core group of researchers, including Teller, Oppenheimer, Breit.
arrangements and pseudonyms for the more important, with elaborate precautions to hide they
were physicists: "one strange leak in this system" was local woman Edith Warner, who ran a
tea room and sent a Christmas letter to Inglis's family in Ann Arbor commenting on strange
(00:24:27)Security and VIP treatment for English scientists, Peierls
and wife being stopped on way home.
(00:26:25)Did not know Klaus Fuchs well, who was a
shy bachelor type.
(00:27:21)Impressions of Oppenheimer, a "genius of a theoretical
physicist.. who could turn himself into a very effective administrator."
(00:30:11)Inglis's work on design concepts for gun type and organization of information for the whole
Los Alamos project.
(00:32:35)Limitations of gun type approach in plutonium bombs.
(00:33:15)Teller, becoming enamored quickly that there was more to it than a fission
bomb, fusion bomb post-war.
(00:36:28)Observing the Trinity Test, forebodings of
difficulties to come if they had success.
(00:40:33)Questioning whether the bomb would
shorten the war came later, but until then, concern was being beaten to atomic weapons by
Hitler, but some later discussion of shorten war came after surrender of Germany.
(00:43:45)Concern over German scientists, but Los Alamos knew nothing, and others.
(00:46:40)Discussion about whether the bomb should be used on two cities or one, or
no cities at all, impact on surrender of Japan.
(00:49:35)Changes in attitude at Los
Alamos after bombs dropped, saw that more bombs would be made, "maybe several dozen," but
had no idea how it would turn out in much more powerful bombs and more, ideas of Russian
capabilities, scientists believed it would be two years before they got the bomb, Groves
(00:51:45)Teller after the war, anecdote of climbing mountain near Taos with
(00:54:45)Anecdote about tight security at Los Alamos.
remarkably versatile and quick man with skills as a locksmith.