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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index M > Category: Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project Quotes (11 quotes)

As the Director of the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos, I participated at the most senior level in the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic weapons.
Now, at age 88, I am one of the few remaining such senior persons alive. Looking back at the half century since that time, I feel the most intense relief that these weapons have not been used since World War II, mixed with the horror that tens of thousands of such weapons have been built since that time—one hundred times more than any of us at Los Alamos could ever have imagined.
Today we are rightly in an era of disarmament and dismantlement of nuclear weapons. But in some countries nuclear weapons development still continues. Whether and when the various Nations of the World can agree to stop this is uncertain. But individual scientists can still influence this process by withholding their skills.
Accordingly, I call on all scientists in all countries to cease and desist from work creating, developing, improving and manufacturing further nuclear weapons - and, for that matter, other weapons of potential mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons.
[On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Hiroshima.]
Letter, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Nov 1995), 51:6, 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Disarmament (3)  |  Hiroshima (13)  |  Nation (111)  |  Relief (13)  |  Weapons (2)

Each part of the project had a specific task. These tasks were carefully allocated and supervised so that the sum of their parts would result in the accomplishment of our over-all mission.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 414.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (57)  |  Allocated (2)  |  Carefully (9)  |  Mission (7)  |  Overall (3)  |  Part (146)  |  Project (22)  |  Result (250)  |  Specific (30)  |  Sum (30)  |  Task (68)

I first met J. Robert Oppenheimer on October 8, 1942, at Berkeley, Calif. There we discussed the theoretical research studies he was engaged in with respect to the physics of the bomb. Our discussions confirmed my previous belief that we should bring all of the widely scattered theoretical work together. … He expressed complete agreement, and it was then that the idea of the prompt establishment of a Los Alamos was conceived.”
In 'Some Recollections of July 16, 1945', Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Jun 1970), 26, No. 6, 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Discussion (37)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Los Alamos (3)  |  J. Robert Oppenheimer (30)  |  Research (517)  |  Theory (582)

In answer to the question, “Was the development of the atomic bomb by the United States necessary?” I reply unequivocally, “Yes.” To the question, “Is atomic energy a force for good or for evil?” I can only say, “As mankind wills it.”
Final statements in And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Development (228)  |  Evil (67)  |  Good (228)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Question (315)  |  Reply (18)  |  United States (31)  |  Will (29)

Let us sum up the three possible explanations of the decision to drop the bomb and its timing. The first that it was a clever and highly successful move in the field of power politics, is almost certainly correct; the second, that the timing was coincidental, convicts the American government of a hardly credible tactlessness [towards the Soviet Union]; and the third, the Roman holiday theory [a spectacular event to justify the cost of the Manhattan Project], convicts them of an equally incredible irresponsibility.
In The Political and Military Consequences of Atomic Energy (1948), 126. As cited by Maurice W. Kirby and Jonathan Rosenhead, 'Patrick Blackett (1897)' in Arjang A. Assad (ed.) and Saul I. Gass (ed.),Profiles in Operations Research: Pioneers and Innovators (2011), 17. Blackett regarded the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan as unnecessary because a Japanese surrender was inevitable.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Decision (58)  |  Drop (27)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Hiroshima (13)  |  Irresponsibility (4)  |  Politics (77)

The maintenance of security … required every member of the project to attend strictly to his own business. The result was an operation whose efficiency was without precedent.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 414.
Science quotes on:  |  Attend (9)  |  Business (71)  |  Efficiency (25)  |  Maintenance (13)  |  Member (27)  |  Operation (96)  |  Precedent (4)  |  Project (22)  |  Required (4)  |  Result (250)  |  Security (27)  |  Strictly (6)

There was positive, clear-cut, unquestioned direction of the project at all levels. Authority was invariably delegated with responsibility, and this delegation was absolute and without reservation. Only in this way could the many apparently autonomous organizations working on the many apparently independent tasks be pulled together to achieve our final objective.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (65)  |  Achievement (128)  |  Authority (50)  |  Autonomy (3)  |  Direction (56)  |  Final (33)  |  Independent (41)  |  Level (51)  |  Objective (49)  |  Organization (79)  |  Positive (28)  |  Project (22)  |  Reservation (6)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Task (68)  |  Unify (4)  |  Unquestioned (4)  |  Working (20)

Those of us who saw the dawn of the Atomic Age that early morning at Alamogordo … know now that when man is willing to make the effort, he is capable of accomplishing virtually anything.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (57)  |  Alamogordo (2)  |  Anything (8)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Capable (26)  |  Dawn (10)  |  Effort (94)  |  Know (321)  |  Morning (31)  |  Willing (6)

We did not design our organization to operate in perpetuity. Consequently, our people were able to devote themselves exclusively to the task at hand, and had no reason to engage in independent empire-building.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  Design (92)  |  Devote (23)  |  Empire (10)  |  Engage (11)  |  Exclusively (8)  |  Independent (41)  |  Operation (96)  |  Organization (79)  |  Perpetuity (7)  |  Reason (330)  |  Task (68)

We had a clear, unmistakable, specific objective. Although at first there was considerable doubt whether we could attain this objective, there was never any doubt about what it was. Consequently the people in responsible positions were able to tailor their every action to its accomplishment.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 414.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (57)  |  Action (151)  |  Attainment (35)  |  Clear (52)  |  Consequence (76)  |  Considerable (11)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Objective (49)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Specific (30)  |  Tailor (2)  |  Unmistakable (3)

We had the full backing of our government, combined with the nearly infinite potential of American science, engineering and industry, and an almost unlimited supply of people endowed with ingenuity and determination.
In And Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project (1962), 415.
Science quotes on:  |  American (34)  |  Determination (53)  |  Engineering (115)  |  Government (85)  |  Industry (91)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Ingenuity (27)  |  Potential (34)  |  Science (1699)  |  Supply (31)  |  Unlimited (11)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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