Here is what our scientists were doing throughout the war. Something interesting that I didn’t know about was the exedous of Jewish scientists from (especially) German institutions to other institutions from 1933 onwards, that is probably something that we want to mention in the episode. They were either forced to leave or discredited by the nazi party. None of the scientists involved in discoveries pre 1900 were active during the war, so I left them off. Also left off scientists involved in discoveries that are in no way related to the atom (e.g. Hubble).
Max Plank – (mostly pre-war under Nazi rule) Tried to talk other scientists out of leaving Germany. Succeeded in allowing a number of Jewish scientists to continue working in Nazi Germany. Met Hitler in 1933 to discuss Jewish scientists, Hitler went on a rant, Plank could only remain silent and then take his leave.
Gilbert Lewis – Not really working on anything to do with atoms/nuclear physics. More of a traditional chemist, research not involved in the war.
Albert Einstein – Born a Jew, emigrated to the US in 1933. Tried to get fellow Jewish scientists jobs in places like Turkey. 1935 decided to stay in US permanently and applied for citizenship, granted in 1940 despite some resistance. Wrote a letter to US president Roosevelt a few months before WW2 after pressure from Leo Szilard warning of the dangers of Germany developing the atomic bomb, something Einstein hadn’t considered, urging the US to begin work on their own project using his connections with the Belgian royal family to get contacts in the oval office. Believes that writing the letter was his 1 great mistake in life. Wasn’t directly involved with the Manhattan project, but did give the US navy guidance with development of some weapons.
Ernest Rutherford – Died 1937
Geoffrey Ingram Taylor - Solved military problems such as the propagation of blast waves, studying both waves in air and underwater explosions. Taylor was sent to the United States in 1944–1945 as part of the British delegation to the Manhattan Project. At Los Alamos, Taylor helped solve implosion instability problems in the development of atomic weapons particularly the plutonium bomb used at Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.
Lise Meitner – Jewish, saved from the exodus of Jewish scientists in Germany by her Austrian citizenship. Her response was to bury herself in her work. Got too difficult and departed for the Netherlands in 1938. Despite being one of the first people to experimentally discover nuclear fission, refused to work on the bomb for either side.
Otto Hahn – Suspected by the Allies of working on in the Uranium club, but did not. His only connection was working on nuclear fission. Taken into custardy by the British in 1945. Was said to be in despair when he learnt about the use of the bomb. Allowed to return to Germany early 1946.
Robert A Millikan – Not involved in WW2, peace activist. Served as vice chairman on the US national research council during WW1 (yes 1, not 2).
Niels Bhor – Concluded based on his liquid drop model of the nucleus that it was U-235 and not the more abundant U-238 responsible for fission with thermal neutrons. Parents were Jewish, so he was considered Jewish. Found many Jewish scientists work in many institutions across the world. Working in Denmark at the beginning of the war, to prevent the Germans from discovering Max von Laue’s and James Franck’s gold Nobel medals, Bohr had de Hevesy dissolve them in aqua regia. In this form, they were stored on a shelf at the Institute until after the war, when the gold was precipitated and the medals re-struck by the Nobel Foundation. Famous meeting with Heisenberg September 1941. Had a hand in getting Sweden to accept Danish Jewish refugees in September 1943. Encouraged to come to Britain, arrived October 1943 but kept out of sight. Paid a series of scientific visits to the US and the Manhattan project, described as a father figure to the younger scientists. Quoted as saying “they didn’t need my help to make toe atomic bomb” but credited with an important contribution to the work on modulated neutron initiators. Tried to get the Anglo-Ampericant to work with the Soviets on the bomb (he believed that they were aware of the project) but the British and Americans refused.
Arnold Summerfeld – Once said to be a nationalist. Wrote to Einstein shortly after Hilter’s rise to power saying “I can assure you that the misuse of the word ‘national’ by our rulers has thoroughly broken me of the habit of national feelings that was so pronounced in my case. I would now be willing to see Germany disappear as a power and merge into a pacified Europe.” Not involved in WW2.
Irving Langmuir – In WW2 worked on improving naval sonar for submarine detection, and later to develop protective smoke screens and methods for de-icing aircraft wings. Not involved in the Manhattan project.
Pierre Victor Auger – Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Louis De Broglie - Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Wolfgang Pauli – Jewish born, became a German Citizen after the German annexation of Austria, tried to get Swiss citizenship to keep his job in Switzerland, but eventually moved to the US in 1940, became a US citizen in 1946. Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Samuel Goudsmit - He was also the scientific head of the Alsos Mission and successfully reached the German group of nuclear physicists around Werner Heisenberg and Otto Hahn. Goudsmit concluded that the Germans did not get close to creating a weapon (published 1947).
George Uhlenbeck – 1943 to 45 led a theory group at the Radiation Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts which was doing radar research.
Fredrich Hund - Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Erwin Schrödinger – Known opponend to Naziism, fled Germany in 1934. Worked in the UK and India. In 1940 helped found the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin, remained there for the remainder of the war. Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Werner Heisenberg – Large part of the uranium club (investigating both nuclear energy and the bomb). Incarcerated for his work on the uranium project 3 May 1945, eeleased 3 Januray 1946.
Walter Heitler - Jewish born German citizen. Lost his job in Germany in 1933. Continued his research in UK and Ireland form 1933 and through WW2, not involved with the war.
Fritz London – Jewish born German citizen. Lost his job in Germany in 1933, after various positions in England and France emigrated to the US in 1939 and became a US citizen in 1945. Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Robert Mulliken - Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Linus Pauling - Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war. Later became an anti-nuclear bomb activist.
John Lennard-Jones- British citizen, at outbreak of war, seconded as Chief Superintendent of Armament Research to the Ministry of Supply which took over the mathematical laboratory for ballistics calculations, developed a team of mathematicians for this purpose. Director-General of Scientific Research (Defence), Ministry of Supply. Member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Fritz Houtermans – Communist, left Germany for Britain after the rise of Hitler. Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Paul Dirac - Continued his research through WW2, not involved with the war.
Ernest Lawrence – Worked on uranium enrichment in the Manhattan Project.
Irène Joliot-Curie – (Marie Curie’s Daughter) Contracted tuberculosis and was forced to spend several years convalescing in Switzerland. Concern for her own health together with the anguish of leaving her husband and children in occupied France was hard to bear and she did make several dangerous visits back to France, enduring detention by German troops at the Swiss border on more than one occasion. Finally, in 1944 Joliot-Curie judged it too dangerous for her family to remain in France and she took her children back to Switzerland.
Frédéric Joliot-Curie (Husband of Irene, above) - At the time of the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, Joliot-Curie managed to smuggle his working documents and materials to England with Hans von Halban, Moshe Feldenkrais and Lew Kowarski. During the French occupation he took an active part in the French Resistance as a member of the National Front. During the Paris uprising in August 1944 he served in the Prefecture of Police manufacturing for his fellow insurgents Molotov cocktails, the Resistance’s principal weapon against German tanks.
James Chadwick - In July 1941, Chadwick was chosen to write the final draft of the MAUD Report, which, when presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, inspired the U.S. government to pour millions of dollars into the pursuit of an atomic bomb. One of the head British scientists on the Manhattan project.
Mark Oliphant – 1938 to 1940 worked on the development of radar. From Mrach 1940 worked on the Manhattan project. Had no misdirections that he was working on a bomb and nothing else like power generation. Inspired Lawrence to convert his 37-inch cyclotron into a giant mass spectrometer for electromagnetic isotope separation. Headed a team assisting his friend Lawrence at the Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley to develop the electromagnetic uranium enrichment—a vital but less overtly military part of the project. A meeting with Major General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, at Berkeley in September 1944, convinced Oliphant that the Americans intended to monopolise nuclear weapons after the war, restricting British research and production to Canada, and not permitting nuclear weapons technology to be shared with Australia, discussed starting a 100% British nuclear weapons project which was rejected. Remarked about the bomb that he felt “sort of proud that the bomb had worked, and absolutely appalled at what it had done to human beings” and “I, right from the beginning, have been terribly worried by the existence of nuclear weapons and very much against their use.”
Carl D. Anderson – Did research at Caltech on rocketry during WW2.
Enrico Fermi - Fermi left Italy in 1938 to escape new Italian Racial Laws that affected his Jewish wife Laura Capon. He emigrated to the United States where he worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Fermi led the team that designed and built Chicago Pile-1, which went critical on 2 December 1942, demonstrating the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. At Los Alamos he headed F Division, part of which worked on Edward Teller’s thermonuclear “Super” bomb. He was present at the Trinity test on 16 July 1945, where he used his Fermi method to estimate the bomb’s yield.
Leo Szilard - After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933, urged his family and friends to flee Europe while they still could. Moved to England, where he helped found the Academic Assistance Council, an organization dedicated to helping refugee scholars find new jobs. Foreseeing another war in Europe, Szilard moved to the United States in 1938, where he worked with Enrico Fermi and Walter Zinn on means of creating a nuclear chain reaction. He worked for the Manhattan Project’s Metallurgical Laboratory on aspects of nuclear reactor design. He drafted the Szilard petition advocating a demonstration of the atomic bomb, but the Interim Committee chose to use them against cities without warning.
Fritz Strassmann - contributed to research at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute on the fission products of thorium, uranium and neptunium. Involved in the uranium club.