February 5, 2004
by Harley Tillitt
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library
The intent of this paper is to describe a sequence of
activities which not only had a mysterious personal beginning but also led to an
involvement in one important part of the Manhattan Project which resulted in the
worlds first use of an atomic weapon, a technology which, almost 60 years later, is
still among the most intensely discussed
topics on the worlds agenda of important issues.
Much has been
written about the Manhattan Project. One of the first important contributions was a book Atomic Energy for Military Purposes by
Henry De Wolf Smythe, Chairman of the Department of Physics of Princeton University. It
was published by Princeton University Press in 1945.
It was referred to as the Official Report on the
Development of the Atomic Bomb under the Auspices of the United States Government,
Since then a
great amount of information has been placed on the Internet.
individual may visit the Internet and locate much information
pertinent to the Manhattan Project including, among other things, historical information,
photographs, decision making milestones,
general commentary, et al.
All of the data,
diagrams and photographs which follow in this paper, and serve as background for the
above-mentioned sequence as it unfolds, were derived from the two sources mentioned above:
The book by Henry De Wolf Smythe and the
It was about
three months before the United States became involved in the war in Iraq that I was
sitting, at home, reading. The TV was turned on but I was paying attention to it only
sporadically when I heard a word that I had not heard since, perhaps, fifty years earlier.
The TV commentator was talking about Iraq at the time and the possibility
that the country had, or was developing, nuclear weapons. The word that I had heard, or thought that I had heard, was CALUTRON. This
was the name which had been given to a system developed at the University of California,
at Berkeley, for the acquisition of an adequate amount of one of the isotopes of uranium,
and which led to the Hiroshima bomb. As one might expect, the word was an acronym for CALifornia University TRON.
But, I thought,
did I really hear the word or was my mind
simply wandering? I had read that CALUTRON technology was in the possession of China and
Russia. But Iraq also? I wondered. During the Persian Gulf War there was frequent mention, on
TV, of the possibility of nuclear weapons
development in Iraq. Also that the program had been seriously disrupted as a consequence
of Desert Storm. But I had not heard, so far
as I could recall, the word CALUTRON in the TV accounts. Hence my surprise, as
I put down my
newspaper, and hoping to hear another similar
story on the same topic, started to pay attention to the TV, but I never heard the word mentioned again.
My mind went into
what I call a Flashback Mode.
The story of how
I came to hear the word, CALUTRON, for the
first time, follows.
The story starts
in about May, 1942 when I had accepted a position as a civilian Instructor at the U.S. Army Pre-Flight School at
Santa Ana, California.
The U.S. Air
Force, as we know it now, had not yet been
established. The Army Air Corps was interested in developing a pool of air crews in
preparation for a possible future conflict: They would need Pilots, Bombardiers, and
Navigators, and many of them.
In the Pre-Flight
Centers there was no activity with airplanes, but the candidates were heavily involved in
physical training and in academic programs. Although the courses of study for each of the
three schools: Pilots, Bombardiers, and Navigators, were similar, there were some differences.
I had been
assigned to the Pilot School to teach an elementary course in physics. The textbook had
been assigned by the Army, and there were several
procedures relative to testing, grading, etc. which had to be followed.
As I recall, each instructor met from three to five classes per
day for 45-minute periods, and there
were in the neighborhood of 40-45 students in each class. The Pilot School physics faculty had about 8-10 members.
monitored by Army personnel from time to time. I suppose one reason for that was to check on the Instructors. Another reason, perhaps, was to see if any of the students were
On one occasion
when my class had been monitored I asked my boss, afterwards, what I should do about it,
if anything. He told me the main thing I
should do about it was NOT to tell him since he would consider the possibility that I had
been the one who had put one or more students asleep ! I took his advice.
One of the
physics faculty was a fellow Ill refer to as J. Our office desks were close together
and sometimes we exchanged ideas and discussed classroom experiences.
J. had been a Ph.D. candidate, in physics, at U.C. Berkeley.
However, as a consequence of the war effort
then underway: students being drafted, and professors taking positions with defense
organizations, some academic programs were put on hold. Js program was one of these
and he took a position at the Pre-Flight School in Santa Ana.
One day he told
me that he and his wife were going to Berkeley for the weekend to see some friends. On Monday, back at work, he told me, while in Berkeley and following suggestions from some of his friends, that he had
applied for a job in Berkeley, at the Radiation Laboratory, and suggested that I do the
I asked what the
job was and he said that his friends would not tell him but they assured him that it would
be very interesting.
My wife and I did
not need to make a change in our situation: we had a one year old son, a new house in
Santa Ana, a good job only a few minutes away from where we lived, and the unlikely chance
that I would be drafted.
But, of course,
sometimes decisions are made in life in ways which do not follow a line of logic that can
be easily explained to others.
letter of application for a job I could not describe was prepared and mailed to the only
name I knew: Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence,
Director of the Radiation Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Lawrence had been awarded the Nobel Prize , in physics, in 1939, for his work
pertaining to the invention of the cyclotron.
I did not expect
a reply to my letter but in a short time a reply, telling of my acceptance, was received. It was not
signed by Dr. Lawrence, but as I found out later, another
scientist who was associated with the Radiation Laboratory and who had been
borrowed from another part of the University Faculty.
So, in time we
three were en route to Berkeley. It was early
November, 1942. We were trusting to luck in finding housing. No doubt our parents were
still shaking their heads at our embarkation on this
At an appointed
time I went to a Radiation Laboratory office for an interview, being quite interested in
finding out what the future might hold. The
interview was held with the person who had signed the letter of acceptance of my
application. Also there was the filling out of several forms which were related, I was
told, to the future establishment of my security clearance.
In time my
interviewer told me that I had an appointment, with a man Ill call K., in another
building which was a short distance away from where we were. I would know the building, he
said, by a small sign near an entrance which said, 37-inch. The significance of the name,
37-inch, relative to the building will be explained later.
Anxious to sound
appreciative and mature I told the interviewer
that, I expected to learn a lot while I was here. He replied,
Harley we dont give a damn how much you learn while you are here, you were
hired to go to work !
This somehow set
a definite tone to the situation.
After a short
walk I was at the 37-inch building, which was rather old looking, and could have been taken for a two story
dwelling with wooden siding, and met K. See Figure 1* . He told me
that he would be busy for the next few minutes and suggested, in the meantime, that I go across the room to a drafting table on
which there were several magazines. He named a particular magazine which might be of interest. It described, he said, a
current development effort at the Radiation Laboratory.
The article was
about certain equipment which, it was
thought, might be successful in the
separation of a sufficient amount of one of the isotopes of uranium to develop an atomic
So, that was it ! No wonder J.s friends would not tell him
what his job might entail.
Figures 1-11, as well as historical
and technical data, were derived from two sources:
 Atomic Energy for Military
Purposes by Henry D. Smythe, Princeton University Press, 1945
Internet Explorer with search terms as Calutron, Berkeley,
Lawrence, Oak Ridge,
Uranium ,Isotope, 184-inch,
first impression of the 37-inch building was one of confusion. There were the sounds of
pumps, a myriad of wires, a few white lab
coats hanging, the drafting table, one or two lunch buckets sitting, a lathe, a drill
press, and among other things, a flask holding liquid nitrogen.
noticeable item was a very large object around which a few people were standing and
observing a control panel with several meters and lights in view.What an experience this
was going to be
Quite soon I was
introduced to a few individuals who were standing in front of the control panel and told
that the large object was the 37-inch electromagnet. It did not match my experience with
magnets which had been limited to horseshoe or bar shapes. See Figure 2.
It appeared as a
large semi-circular arch, something like a half of a large doughnut resting on its edge,
from the center of which was suspended a circular member which was one of the poles. There
was also, under the floor but out of sight, the other half of the doughnut which was
supporting a similar circular member which was the other pole. The two poles were facing
each other and separated by about two feet. They were both 37 inches in diameter.
Figure 2 is a picture of a the a 27-inch magnet. The
upper part of the arch [yoke] can be seen as well as one of the pole pieces. It was one of several magnets used by Dr. Lawrence
in his early cyclotron work. This 27-inch magnet had been converted, during the
1930s, to the 37-inch magnet which I first saw in the 37-inch building. A picture of the 37-inch magnet was not located but the yoke for both the 27-inch and the
37-inch were the same. Only the poles were different is diameter.
conceived the cyclotron principle in about 1929. It is an instrument to develop beams of high-speed particles for use in nuclear
science to bombard the nuclei of other atoms and to study the forces that bind matter
The cyclotron consisted of a vacuum chamber positioned
between the poles of an electromagnet. Inside
this chamber were two hollow semi-circular electrodes, each the shape of a capital letter
D, facing each other and separated by a gap. They were called dees because they were the shape of the letter D.
In operation an accelerator voltage was applied to each dee and
was alternated between the two.
At the center of
this apparatus ions were created and were accelerated toward one of the dees. The initial
direction was toward one dee or the other according to the polarity of the dee at the moment. Being within the magnetic field the ion
would go into a circular orbit. As the ion
completed its half-circle, and was about to cross the gap between the two dees, the dee
polarity would change and the ion would again be accelerated across the gap into
another, but slightly larger, circular orbit.
Accordingly, this repetitive acceleration would
continue, with the ions spiraling outward
and gaining energy with each gap crossing, until they reached the edge of the magnet.
At this point the
ions would be ejected and used to bombard a target of interest.
The speed of the particles, and therefore their
effectiveness, is related to the size of the magnet as they spiral outward from the center
at ever-increasing speed. The diameter of the magnet limits the extent of this spiral
pathway and therefore the maximum speed of the particles. Some theoretical physicists
noted that, according to Einsteins theory
of relativity, the mass of the accelerated particles would increase as they approached the
speed of light. They would therefore get out of synchronization with the alternating
accelerating fields and would not be able to reach the high energies being sought.
However, it turns
out that an orbiting particle in a magnetic field takes the same time to make a revolution
regardless of radius or energy. Accordingly, the alternating voltage on the dees could be
fixed to match the revolution frequency of all the particles in the system so that everything could be kept in step.
By the time of this story the 37-inch cyclotron
magnet was being put to another use.
But what was the new use to which the 37-inch magnet was being put? Some
history follows: It had been hoped for some
time in the previous several years that somehow by splitting the atom great
amounts of energy could be made available. Just how was this to happen?
One conception of
the atom is that it has a nucleus made up of protons, with positive charges, and neutrons,
with neutral charges, around which are orbiting electrons, with negative charges.
All of the
elements that make up our surroundings, such as silver, gold, oxygen, iron, et al. are
made up from the same fundamental building blocks such as protons, neutrons
and electrons but in different combinations. They
are identified by two numbers  The atomic number which is the number of protons in the nucleus and  The atomic
weight, which is the weight of the whole atom, including protons, neutrons and surrounding
electrons and measured in atomic units. For example, uranium has an atomic number of 92
since its nucleus has 92 protons.
There are several isotopes of uranium, however, all with the same atomic number, 92, but with
different atomic weights, such as: U-234, U-235, and U-238. When found in nature, over 99% of all
uranium is the U-238 variety. The isotope
U-235 makes up about 0.72 %, and U-234 is less than 0.006%.
But back to the
question of where does this hoped-for energy come from relative to splitting the atom.
follows: Suppose that an atom of uranium
designated as U-238 is split, by bombarding it with a subatomic particle, a neutron. This
causes a breakup into lighter atoms. Imagine that it was split exactly in half. The result
would be that there would now be two new atoms each designated as 46/119 .
possible combinations of number and weight do not exist in nature. There is no 46/119.
There is, however, a 46/110. This is the
heaviest stable isotope of palladium. But to
reach stability, as palladium, each of these
new nuclei must eject nine neutrons. These
nine ejected neutrons, the difference between 119 and 110, are the key to the hoped-for
Strange as it may
seem, the mass of the smaller atoms resulting
from a split, taken together, is always less than the mass of the original atom from which
the smaller atoms were derived before it was split. This
difference results in a deliverance of energy.
It was in 1938
that an important discovery was made by two German physicists, Otto Hahn and Fritz
Strassmann. They discovered that the isotope of uranium known as U-235 can be split, as
mentioned above, by bombarding it with what
is referred to as a slow neutron. They discovered that this reaction also produced, on average, 2.5 neutrons. Accordingly, if at least
one neutron per fission is captured by another U-235 nucleus, a chain reaction is
initiated. U- 235 is the only naturally occurring nuclear fission fuel. See Figure 3. This diagram is taken from Atomic Energy for
Military Purposes by Henry D. Smythe, Princeton University Press, 1945.
nuclei from the pairs derived from a split of a U-235 may take several forms, but the most
commonly produced ones are krypton and
fuels exist, but they must be produced. For
example, U-238 can be converted to fissionable Pu-94 and is called plutonium. [There are several
isotopes.] However, if a subatomic particle strikes a U-238
atom the chain reaction does not develop since the neutrons necessary
to continue the fission process do not emit from U-238.
deriving energy from mass as a consequence associated with the action of fission, is
consistent with the well-recognized equation E =
develop these special energy sources, it can be seen that it is desirable to collect U-235
since it has the potential to continue the fission process once it has been started, and
therefore to create a source of continuous energy.
But how can this
be done? As stated earlier, uranium has an
atomic number of 92 and, among many, there are two principle isotopes: U-235, and U-238. A successful method for separation needs to be
based upon differences in atomic weight. Stated in another way, unlike chemically
separating, say, gold from silver, the separation of U-235 from U-238 calls
for, not a chemical procedure, but a physical procedure based upon difference in mass.
Adding to the
complexity of the separation process, the proportion, in nature, of U-235 to U-238 is quite small. For every U-235
atom there are about one hundred forty U-238 atoms.
separation process makes use of equipment
similar to that known as a mass spectrograph. Briefly, a mass spectrograph is an
instrument for the identification of the composition of a substance by separating its
gaseous ions according to their differing mass and charge.
It consists of a
container, within a vacuum chamber, in which
a substance of interest is placed. The
container may be heated so that the substance vaporizes. As it vaporizes it moves into a
space where it is subject to bombardment. This bombardment strikes electrons from some of
the atoms of the vaporized substance thus
forming positive ions. Adjacent to this location are negatively charged components toward
which the ions are accelerated. See Figure 4. Note the reference to Accelerating
In the bottom
left corner of Figure 4 is an area referred to
as the source. It is here that the ions are formed, and from which they are
accelerated, with the result that they are entered
into a circular path toward the collector, shown in the right hand corner of Figure 4.
see Figure 9. There is shown a C shaped unit. It is within this piece of equipment that the elements of Figure 4, the source and the collector, are
enclosed within a copper covering.
All of this
apparatus is positioned within a magnetic field the lines of force of which are
perpendicular to the direction the ions are being accelerated. The combination of these
two forces, electrical and magnetic, cause the ions to move in a circular direction.
The ions move in a direction according to what is known as the left-hand rule. To
illustrate the rule:  Hold the left hand so that the palm is vertical and facing to the
right, Hold the thumb so that it is pointing upward,  Point the index finger straight ahead without bending
a knuckle,  Bend the middle finger to that it is pointing to the right,  Tuck the
other two fingers toward the palm and out of the way.
Now the rule: [a]
The thumb is showing the direction of the magnetic field between the north and south
poles, up being north, [b] The index finger is showing the direction toward which the
electrically charged component is accelerating the ions, and [c] The middle finger is
showing the direction the ions travel.
The result is
that the ions travel in a circular direction. However, since the U-238 ions are slightly
heavier than the U-235 ions, their inertia causes them to make a slightly wider arc. See Figure 4, again
while considering the left-hand rule.
Thus, the two
isotopes are separated by a small distance when they arrive at a position 180
degrees from where they started. At this location are placed two separate collectors
placed slightly apart at positions where the highest concentrations of ions are expected.
See Figure 4,
distance between the U-235 and the U-238 concentrations is quite small and there is some overlap of the U-238 beam on top of the U-235 beam. It is a slow process, but
enrichment takes place, and the resulting
percentage of U-235 relative to U-238 is
higher than it appears in nature , which is
1/140, or, as mentioned above, about o.72 per
It was suggested above that for his cyclotron
work Dr. Lawrence, see Figure
5, wanted to develop an
even larger system than the 37-inch, mentioned
above, or in 1939, the 60-inch , which was
used for medical research. This was so that a larger spiral pathway,
leading to greater speed, could be achieved .
His winning of
the Nobel Prize in 1939 placed him in a good
position to initiate planning, including funding, for the largest cyclotron yet. He
pursued this interest and was successful. The poles of the new magnet would be 184 inches [15 feet
4 inches] in diameter.
the 184-inch magnet was completed for cyclotron use, WWII interfered and the system
was converted for use in the separation of uranium isotopes, as mentioned above, with the
37-inch magnet. [The 184-inch magnet was finally turned back to cyclotron use in
It might be said
that it was quite fortuitous that Dr.
Lawrences cyclotron interests led to the 184-inch magnet since it was almost ready-at-the-right-time and came
to be such an important component in the WWII
magnet became the focus of the Radiation Laboratorys efforts. Some urgency was
associated with the possibility that Germanys efforts in the development of nuclear weapons might be achieving success.
Figure 6, in the Berkeley
hills, shows where the 184-inch magnet was
located. It was beautiful location from which to observe the surroundings.
Figure 7 gives some idea
of the massiveness of the 184-inch magnet. Its pole pieces were about 6 feet apart,
between which there was enough space for most
people to walk. Wrist watches would not function, nor could regular steel hand tools be
used, between the poles. It weighed about 4000 tons. However, there was room for a semi-circular arc of
ions 96 inches in diameter between the ion
source and the collectors in the separation process being developed to acquire U 235. See Figures 4 and 9, again.
Figure 8 is another view
of the magnet as work progressed. Note the circle painted on the floor in the foreground.
This circle served as a visual warning relative to entering into a strong magnetic field.
Also note the three rails extending toward
the bottom of the picture, from the magnet, toward the painted circle.
A CALUTRON which was about to be put to use was
first placed on these rails and then pushed into the space between the poles of the
magnet. The source, as mentioned above, would be on the side nearest the left-hand rail,
and the collectors on the side nearest the right-hand rail.
I have a personal
recollection of the right-hand rail. On one occasion, with all voltages presumably turned
off, but, while sitting on that rail and checking for some kind of malfunction, I received
an electric shock. I remember shouting and then awakening some distance away, outside the
circle. After a few days in a hospital I returned to work but with a cautious sensitivity
sometimes when making other equipment checks.
details of the 37-inch system were well known, the process of scaling-up to a
184-inch system called for considerable engineering skill and effort.
had established some ideas relative to:  What U-235 enrichment level was achievable,
 How much U-235 , at that enrichment level, could be produced per day with the 184-inch
system, and  How much U-235 would be needed to produce a weapon.
It was clear
that, given a low production rate for a single unit, many units would be required. But to
build a large number of the 184-inch systems, as then configured, would be undesirable.
conclusion was to retain the size of the units, which, following the suggestion of Dr.
Lawrence, and mentioned earlier, came to be
known as CALUTRONS, as had been in use with the
184-inch magnet, but to develop a new
configuration for the magnet which would require less space and less material and
therefore be more suitable for multiple installations.
Figure 9 shows a CALUTRON as developed at the Berkeley Laboratory. The prototype of the magnets to be installed at
Oak Ridge had a horizontal field with room for four tanks, each with a double source. These designs caused more than one set of ion beams to cross on the way to their
respective collectors. This did not seem to cause any difficulty relative to beam
The final design
called for what were called racetracks. Which
were an oval shape 122 feet long, 77 feet wide, and 15 feet high. In general, there were alternate vertical spaces
around a racetrack for 96 CALUTRONS each with a magnet on both sides.
Because of a shortage of copper at the
time, the windings for the magnets were
silver ribbons about ¾ of an inch wide and about 1/8 inch thick. Almost 15,000 tons of pure silver were
borrowed from a government vault for the purpose.
In time there
were five racetracks of 96 CALUTRONS in operation. To supply such a large complex and to account for the rotation and repair of the CALUTRONS, nearly 1200 were in use.
When the first
racetrack was made operational there were, of course, many problems to be solved. It was a
complicated undertaking. To assist in this
situation a small group of Radiation Laboratory personnel was sent to Oak Ridge. A group
of several of the 96 tanks was made the responsibility of Berkeley personnel. In about six weeks these units
were functioning quite well. This was encouraging since it demonstrated that the transfer
of this complex technology from
Laboratory-to Factory was going to be successful. After these six weeks had
elapsed most of the Berkeley Group brought their families and stayed until the war was
over. During this time the Berkeley Group members were assigned to a variety of roles. Figure 11 shows a Racetrack control room.
There was one cubicle for each CALUTRON. It was
usual for two-person team to be assigned to three cubicles.
As the program
progressed, there was concern that the enrichment
being achieved was not adequate to develop a
weapon. This resulted in the development of a
second stage of equipment which would use as its feed the enriched material
which had been produced from the process mentioned above. This brought about a greater enrichment. These two processes were known as Alpha
Beta racetracks of 36 tanks each were also constructed. These Beta CALUTRONS , although based upon the same
physical principles as the Alpha units were smaller and had certain differences in design.
Then, in time,
the Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The ramifications of this action, after nearly sixty
years are still unfolding. Monday morning quarterbacking has never been in short supply.
But, the Genie is
now out of the bottle. The atom is here to stay and will not be contained within specific
international boundaries. What happens in the long run will depend upon actions among
politicians, anthropologists, physicists, theologians, and, perhaps others, especially
mothers, both current and yet to be.
This ends the
original Flashback Sequence which was mentioned at the beginning of this story.
Some Memories of
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
was the thing to do to have a garden. Sylvia suggested tomatoes. They were
planted and they grew, and grew, and grew. The success of the crop was beyond our
expectation. Initial concern about whether or not the plants would grow changed into
concern about what we were going to do with the super abundant harvest.
We could not give
them away since all of our neighbors had planted tomatoes also, and with the same results.
We came to a
conclusion: Make catsup. It was easy to make . . . just boil it down until it was the
right consistency, add some spices, and store in proper containers. We learned something
in carrying out this plan: [Do not try it again!]
confronted with the following two questions:  How long would it take to boil down a
yard-full of tomatoes? What should one do with
enough canned catsup to supply a small army?
I do not remember
how it all ended.
Some will remember that during WWII there was a
shortage of butter. It, among other things, was rationed and people were issued ration
coupons which were necessary to present when making a purchase. However, butter was not always available in the stores,
ration coupons or not. Oak Ridge had grown in a very short time from nothing to about
80,000, and although there were several good-sized grocery stores, butter was often in
One day we found
out about the University of Tennessee School of Agriculture in Knoxville which was about
25 miles away. We heard that the School of Agriculture often had butter. With a little
help we located the establishment and learned of a certain green door and found that
within that door there was a small hinged door about one foot square. If one knocked on
the small door a person would appear from inside and a request for butter could be made.
Most of the time
butter was available. Ration coupons were
still required to make the purchase, but we now had a source of supply.
When we lived in
California we had enjoyed artichokes quite often. However,
they were rarely seen in the Oak Ridge markets. On one occasion Sylvia bought some and at
the checkout stand the young man attending the cash register asked, What are these
things? She answered, They are artichokes. He replied, Do you
actually eat these things?
It may have been
active more than one day per week but we visited it only on Saturday. It was in a large red brick building in a busy
part of Knoxville. On one side of the building were what might be called docks against
which pickup trucks were backed and were unloaded.
The interior, as
I recall, was almost cavernous, and not dreary but lacking in brilliant lighting. It was
separated into many spaces, some larger than others, and each attended by one or more
individuals offering their wares.
And what a
selection it was: homemade bakery goods, handmade clothing, used and new tools, sausage
and other meat products, books, magazines, candy, and no doubt many more things. One
vision I retain is that of an gnarled senior citizen sitting by a pan of ice water in which there were chunks of ice and above which
was suspended a single chicken, now departed this world, with both head and feet attached but without feathers. With a displayed patience reminiscent of Job he
was pouring cold water over the chicken, cup
by cup by cup to keep it cool.
institution the Market was. A place where it was clear that people were meeting friends
and at the same time satisfying daily material needs. What can be better then that ?
were operated 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Since the work area was some distance
from the residential area, it was common for employees to eat in a cafeteria during their
work shifts. Three things come to mind:  The servings were self-help, therefore ample,
and cheap.  There was a juke box which was
always blaring at full volume. Much of the music was along the line of Mareziedotes and dozeydotes and little lamziedivy. 
The waiters and waitresses must have been indoctrinated with a philosophy of clean up the tables as soon as possible
after a person has finished with his meal. This of course made sense so that tables
could be made available for others not yet seated. However, with some personnel, the
training seemed to have gone too far: That is, if while eating, one was not careful,
between bites, ones plate would be snatched away.
The population of
Oak Ridge was quite varied since people had come there from many parts of the country.
This was often
brought home to us when people would comment on our Yankee Accent.
It can easily be
imagined that the great influx of people into the Oak Ridge area might have caused some
anguish and resentment in the small towns nearby. However, for some elections at least,
the Oak Ridge population became a part of the local electorate.
One incident comes to mind: It was about time for
the polls to close and a line had formed at the desk of the election official in charge of
checking voters registration.
In what seemed
like an abrupt action the official, who was clearly a long-time resident, announced that
the polls were closed.
One of the
persons still in line objected and went outside to look at the clock on top of the old
building. On his return he told the official that the outside clock showed that several
minutes were left before the announced time for the polls to close.
heard the objection, took his watch out of his pocket and said, My watch says the
polls are closed. And so they were.
This was an
interesting operation to observe.
contingent was a single man walking in front of a slowly moving truck. He used a whistle
to signal the driver either to start or stop the truck.
On each side of
the street, and walking about adjacent to the
trucks front wheels, there was one man.
The duty of each of these men was to go to the house on that side of the street, pick up
the now-full garbage can and carry it to the edge of the street. Then they proceeded forward to the next house to
repeat the operation.
Near the rear
wheels of the truck, and on each side of the street was another man. His job was to lift
the garbage can just placed by the other man, put the contents into the truck then place the now-empty can where
it had been and move ahead as the truck moved forward.
two men were two others, one on each side of the street. These two men returned the
now-empty cans back to the side of the house where they had been.
Bringing up the
end of this group was another single man with a whistle whose duty was to stop the
operation if it somehow got slowed down for any reason, and then to re-start it when
everyone was in position again.
Quite often there
was singing by the crew as they went on their
We are all
familiar with the trash units widely known as Dempster Dumpsters , or sometimes just called Dumpsters.
It is thought
that this equipment, which comes in several sizes, originated in Knoxville, Tennessee with
a company owned by the then Mayor of Knoxville, Mayor
As might be imagined when a city such as Oak Ridge
is under rapid construction, there are opportunities to locate piles of lumber, both used
and new, as well as other building materials. All that was required was a willingness to
search for it.
Motivated by the
needs of two small children within a neighborhood of residences most of which also had
small children, it was easy to plan a playground.
located supplies led to the development of a couple of swings, a sand box, a slide, a
teeter totter, and perhaps the most popular
of all, a small merry-go-round.
The latter item
took some special effort. A large wooden spool, like all of us have seen on utility trucks
wound with large cable, was needed. In time, about ½ mile from the house such a spool was
located. It was too large to put into a car and no truck was available so it was rolled
down the streets which connected its location with the playground site in our back yard. I
took some ribbing from that experience but all ended well.
I do not recall
now how the units central bearing was
The yard drew
players from the surrounding neighborhood which was the
idea in the first place.
Sylvia became involved with the Oak Ridge School System
both as a teacher and as a teacher-in-charge of school.
One interesting situation involved a boy who was about 13 or 14 years old.
After school one
day he came to her and announced that that would be his last day of school. She asked why that was going to be. He told her
that his father, although enjoying his job in Oak Ridge, could make more money where that
had come from, making whiskey, and they were going back there.
Just what Sylvia
put in the records as a reason for leaving the school, I do not know. She never told me.
her teaching experiences at Oak Ridge. The opportunity for diversity of opinions was
great. She sometimes wondered, I believe, if she being from the California system of
Education, was often being put to the test. Nevertheless, during the time she
was involved she published an article in The Tennessee Teacher, a magazine for
The City of Oak
Ridge was growing so fast at one stage that
quite often it was necessary for single school
room to be used by two different teachers. One might have a class from 7:00 AM until noon,
and the other from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM. Of course, the room decorations, furniture arrangements and perhaps many other things would
be quite different between the two teachers.
There was a bus
system, of course, to transport the students. At one school where Sylvia had the late shift, and on the first day of her being at that location, at the end of
the day the lights went out and she was involved with a roomful of children in the darkened building and who had
missed the bus.
How she managed
to get everyone home I do not recall.
Sometimes, later, she often wondered if the incident was some kind of initiation to the
school, and the old timers had neglected to tell her about a
special get-ready-to-go-home bell.
The next day
however, she said that she felt that she had been accepted as one of the gang. All was
List of Figures
Referred to in the Text Above
Radiation Laboratory Building
27 Cyclotron in the Original Building
Ion Paths inside
Lawrence at 37 Cyclotron Controls
Building in Berkeley Hills
with Lawrence and Staff
as a Calutron
Calutron at Y-12
Alpha Racetrack in Oak Ridge
Operators of Y-12 Alpha Racetrack at Oak
An article taken from the Internet which describes
some current activities pertinent to Calutron use at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories , ORNL.
As of February 5, 2004
Harley Tillitt is a native of the village of Del Rosa, California
located in what is now the North East part of San Bernardino. He attended Del Rosa Grammar
school, which was on the same site as the school in which his parents, in about 1900, met
in the first grade. He attended Highland Junior High School, and was graduated from San
Bernardino High School, the University of Redlands, and the Claremont Graduate School.
In 1938 he was married to Sylvia Jewel Payne. There were two children,
Jay Lanning and Kay Lynn.
After five years in the California Public School System he became
involved with the Manhattan Project [A-Bomb] at the University of California, Berkeley,
and at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After War II he was employed by the U.S. Navy, in the
Mathematics Division of its largest laboratory, then known as the Naval Ordnance Test
Station, at China Lake, California, with the responsibility to establish a center for
scientific and technical computation. In 1971, "on loan from China Lake", he
became a part of the Headquarters Staff of the Navy Material Command, located in
Arlington, Virginia. He was involved with the acquisition and dissemination of information
related to the Navy's Research and Development programs.
He has given papers on computer-related topics both in the United
States and abroad.
He retired in 1975. He was widowed in 1994. In 1996 he married his high
school sweetheart, Frances Lucille Hunting Bryan. Frances passed away in 1996.