The Manhattan Project was the codename for the development of the nuclear bomb during World War II by the United States. It is an example of a crucial moment in history when science and the rationalists stepped up to the plate and delivered the long ball.
At the same time, it also made possible one of the most terrifying scenarios ever devised.
 Brief description
The Manhattan Project grew out of research into nuclear fission. Nominally controlled by the Army Corps of engineers under General Leslie Groves, the scientific work was directed by Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist who brought together some of the greatest scientific minds in the world to solve the "problem" of nuclear weapons. Starting with theoretical research, the project moved to a purpose-built site in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Following a successful test in New Mexico in 1945, and President Truman's approval, two bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The amount of influence the bombings had on the surrender of Japan is disputed - it is most commonly accepted, however, to be a strong factor.
Any list of scientists involved in the Manhattan Project is likely to be incomplete, but among those involved were:
- Hans Bethe
- Enrico Fermi
- Richard Feynman
- John von Neumann
- Robert Oppenheimer
- Edward Teller, who later became the "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb" and of the Star Wars
moviemissile defense project
The project was also riddled with evil libural communist spies.
The discoveries made during the Manhattan Project not only resulted in a functional nuclear weapon, but also kick-started the entire field of nuclear engineering. The first nuclear submarine was completed only 17 years after the phenomenon of nuclear fission was first discovered, with the first nuclear power plant following one and a half year later. The success of the Manhattan Project was a significant factor in the fundamental shift in the way science was done. Before World War II, basic research was conducted by lone scientists or small groups working at academic institutions or large companies. After Manhattan, national governments became the primary patrons of science, and the most important discoveries were increasingly made as a result of large-scale projects which brought together thousands of people and utilized enormous machines. This modern paradigm is called Big Science.[wp]