We at UVA Today headquarters are usually the ones who present the news from around the University, but today I’m asking you, dear readers, for a little assistance.
Yesterday we came across the obituary of Roy Britten, a pioneering DNA researcher at Caltech. Britten was a graduate of U.Va., where he studied physics. Presumably, he worked with legendary U.Va. physicist Jesse Beams, as both ended up working on the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to build an atomic weapon. (Britten’s obit quotes his son, Ken Britten, as saying, “As a committed pacifist, he was always pleased to say that his particular project was a complete failure.”) Another U.Va. figure who worked on the Manhattan Project is Frank L. Hereford, who went on the become president of the University.
Which brings me to my question: Has anyone ever put together a good history of U.Va.’s participation in the Manhattan Project? It sounds like it could be a pretty fascinating story. (Then again, I would imagine that a lot of the source materials may still be under lock and key.)
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