The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project   QUANTA TO QUARKS  
Gather process and analyse information to assess the significance of the Manhattan Project to society.
The top secret “Manhattan Project”, set up in 1942, was the code name used for the United States effort to produce the first atomic bomb during World War II. Its objective was to research nuclear fission and to develop an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany could [5]. The Manhattan Project had, and continues to have a significant effect and presents some difficult questions to be considered by science and society.
In 1938, German scientists, many of whom were refugees from Nazi Persecution, discovered nuclear fission and raised the possibility that Nazi Germany might develop an atomic bomb. In 1939, Physicists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner convinced Albert Einstein to write his famous letter (outlining the danger of nuclear research in Nazi Germany and advocating the immediate development of an atomic bomb) to the then President of the USA, Franklin D. Roosevelt.   Einstein had written to inform Roosevelt that research leading into chain reactions utilising uranium made it probable that an ample amount of power could be produced by a chain reaction and that by harnessing this power, the construction of the atomic bomb was possible. Following this “letter of concern”, Roosevelt set up an Advisory Committee on Uranium in October that year [2] and L.J. Briggs, director of the National Bureau of Standards headed a committee supported by a mere $6,000 to start research on the project [5].
It was conceived that there were two different pathways to an atomic bomb, using uranium-235 (U-235) or plutonium- 239 (Pu-239) as a fuel. The most complicated issue was to produce ample amounts of each of these to sustain a chain reaction. By March 1940, it was confirmed that the isotope U-235 did undergo fission with...