Bill, Laura, and I visited some museums in Oak Ridge Tennessee. Oak Ridge is the home of the Clinton Engineer Works, now called Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The uranium used in the ‘Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima was made here. The effort was herculean. The world’s largest building (at that time) was built and manned to hold the hundreds of machines used to enrich the Uranium. It’s known as the K-25 site.
There were other efforts using different enrichment techniques at other locations on the large laboratory site.
Today the Laboratory has very active programs. Especially for the production and use of neutrons for imaging and other high-tech application, as well as programs for our nuclear stockpile.
I stumbled upon a machine there which brought back some amazing experiences from my early professional work. My first job at Boeing was to test aircraft using a much more modern version of this hardware. Later I went to work for Hewlett-Packard which was making modern vibration test systems.
In the middle with the big dial is a Hewlett-Packard Oscillator. This was a version of the original product Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard made in the garage in Palo Alto in the late 1930s. One of the first customers was Disney which used them to make the soundtrack for the movie ‘Fantasia’ during the same time period. I actually did marketing work on the successor models many years later and was directly involved in obsoleting the product line.
We also visited the American Museum of Science and Energy which had very good exhibits on some of the newer efforts of the lab as well as its history and general information on nuclear energy.