Lecture: The ISU Chemist Who Saved the Manhattan Project

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Date/Time:Monday, 07 Mar 2022 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Location:Sun Room, Memorial Union
Channel:Lecture Series
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"Wilhelm's Way: The Inspiring Story of the ISU Chemist Who Saved the Manhattan Project," author and scholar Teresa Wilhelm Waldof is the world's leading expert on the Ames Project section of the Manhattan Project and the granddaughter of Dr. Harley Wilhelm, co-founder of the Ames Laboratory on the Iowa State University campus. A book-signing will be held after the event.

In February 1942, while the first American troops arrived in Europe and others found themselves engaged in desperate combat against Japanese invasion forces during the Battle of Bataan, Dr. Harley Wilhelm, a chemist at Iowa State, was recruited by his boss, Dr. Frank Spedding, to solve the problem of how to produce uranium for the Manhattan Project. The challenges were immense, the obstacles great, yet Wilhelm and his small, ragtag team of scientists and technicians persevered, producing tons of pure uranium placed at the core of the world's first controlled nuclear chain reaction. Following that history-making event in December 1942, the Iowa State team produced millions more pounds of uranium for the atomic bombs that, ultimately, brought about the end to World War II.

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This event will be live streamed and recorded.