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Women of the Manhattan Project coloring book

DOE recognizes the women who shaped the work of the Manhattan Project, from providing their expertise in explosives chemistry to working on nuclear fission theories to supprting the workforce to testing reactors to designing and building the atomic bomb. In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, alerting the President to the importance of research on nuclear chain reactions and the possibility that research might lead to developing powerful bombs. On January 19, 1942, President Roosevelt approved production of the Atomic Bomb and the top-secret Manhattan Project quickly began. View resources on energy.gov/manhattan to get the full history.

Timeline: Women’s contributions to the Manhattan Project

Unfortunately their achievements have often been overshadowed or overlooked, but their contributions have been essential. For instance, the girls of Atomic City worked in secrecy and obscurity on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge National Lab. Their names and contributions might still be unknown today had it not been for the bestseller novel by the same name.

Rick Perry
Former Secretary of Energy (2017 - 2019)

Women played important roles across the Manhattan Project complex. They worked as nurses, teachers, librarians, and secretaries. They sold and processed war bonds, worked the desks at dormitories and post exchanges, welded, and even monitored the control panels of the calutron.  

 

As Kathy Keith at Los Alamos National Laboratory wrote, "In 1943 Manhattan Project leaders J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie R. Groves scoured the country looking for anyone that would help achieve their goal: to end World War II by building a “gadget” that exploited the newly discovered phenomenon of nuclear fission. They did not discriminate; women or men, young or old, Ph.D. or technical experience—all were considered if they had something to contribute."

Explore the History of Women in the Manhattan Project

How Women Helped Build the Atomic Bomb
This Women's History Month, we're showcasing the broad spectrum of women who contributed to the Manhattan Project.
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Five Fast Facts About Dr. Lilli Hornig
The first woman from the Manhattan Project we're highlighting this Women's History Month is Lilli Hornig.
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Five Fast Facts About Floy Agnes Lee
The fourth woman from the Manhattan Project we're highlighting this Women's History Month is Floy Agnes Lee.
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Five Fast Facts About the "Calutron Girls"
The "Calutron Girls" are the final women of the Manhattan Project we're celebrating this year.
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Five Fast Facts About Blanche J. Lawrence
The second woman from the Manhattan Project we're highlighting this month is Blanche J. Lawrence.
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Five Fast Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
The third woman whose work helped the Manhattan Project that we're highlighting this month is Irène Joliot-Curie.
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Coloring Book: Women of the Manhattan Project
Download our free Women of the Manhattan Project coloring book.
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SHORT CIRCUIT | Ruth's Story
Ruth Huddleston was 18 when she took a job at a secret Army facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during World War II. It was so highly classified that no one could even tell her what she was working on. We have her story.
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