Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index
John Manley

John Manley

INFLUENCING THE COURSE OF HISTORY

Honored March 1987

John Manley

You may ask how a scientist who helped build the bomb can claim to be working for peace. The answer is simple. We were at war at the time, and I was working for peace in my way. Now that the war is over and we face another kind of nuclear threat, I've been working for peace in another way," said John Manley.

Handpicked by J. Robert Oppenheimer to coordinate the experimental aspects of atomic weapons development, John was "very doubtful about it, but finally agreed to do it on a trial basis." On April 4, 1943, John cautiously made his way up the primitive road to Los Alamos, carrying the fragile tube of a Cockroft-Walton accelerator in the back of a pickup. His initial tasks were to oversee the construction of laboratory buildings he had approved from Chicago "without having any knowledge of the terrain," and to install the accelerator.