The November speaker for the SaddleBrooke World War II Roundtable will be Bruce Rogers. Please join us at 1 p.m. in the DesertView Theater on Friday, November 10.
The development of the atomic bomb was undertaken by the United States when President Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project in 1942. At this time, the scientific understanding of radioactive materials was in its infancy. The development of atomic weapons would take us down a long, rough road fraught with problems of secrecy, staffing, economic, political and engineering barriers, all of which had to be overcome if we were to succeed.
The scientists who urged the construction of an atomic weapon theorized that two paths of research would have to be followed for success: The enrichment of uranium in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the enrichment of plutonium in Hanford, Washington on the banks of the Columbia River. The refined radioactive elements were funneled to Los Alamos where the weapons were designed, tested and assembled.
Our speaker, Bruce Rogers, who spoke to the Roundtable on the production of Liberty Ships, will tell us about the challenges not only of refining uranium and plutonium, but also transferring the critical elements to Los Alamos, assembling the bombs, capturing an island to launch planes capable of carrying the bombs to their targets and return safely and many more details crucial to carrying out the mission of the Manhattan Project. Bruce will cover the road to Nagasaki and provide us with some history on what happened to the three facilities after the war.
Bruce is a fan of the movie “Oppenheimer”, which tells the story of the man and the project in wonderful detail. However, the film ended shortly after the hearings in which Oppenheimer lost his clearance. Bruce will fill in Oppenheimer’s road in life after he lost his clearance.
A native of California, Bruce received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, an master’s degree from University of Santa Clara and post graduate studies in Nuclear Engineering at General Electric, S. Army Nuclear Reactor School and MIT. Company Commander of HQ Company Army Engineer Reactors Group with 11 morning reports from Antarctica to Panama and Alaska. Worked in reactor safety and nuclear fuel design at General Electric Nuclear Division. Consulted to the California Senate on energy policy and started a consulting company helping nuclear utilities and government labs on decision analysis, management improvement programs, nuclear waste disposal and technical problems. He retired in 2002 and has been married for 53-years, so far. Bruce also has two children and four grandchildren.
“We have traveled extensively, visiting about 125 countries and still counting,” Bruce explained. “Here, in SaddleBrooke, we enjoy walking, reading, trivia, bocce and relaxing with friends and a glass of red.”
Once again, join us on Friday, November 10 at 1 p.m. in the DesertView Theater to hear more. Since we have a small surplus, we are not asking for the usual donation of $1.