The U.S. government’s Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the first nuclear weapons, was a massive but highly secretive World War II undertaking that involved thousands of scientists and engineers at dozens of sites across the nation. They included a few with Rolla connections, most notably Thomas G. Day, a professor of organic chemistry at S&T in the 1940s, who served as an “administrative assistant to one of the scientific divisions” and “gave himself wholeheartedly to the work and made a real contribution to it,” wrote Harold C. Urey, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist who played a significant role in the development of the atom bomb. Another Rolla professor, Harold Q. Fuller, worked on the Manhattan Project during 1944-1945 before joining the S&T physics faculty, where he served as department chair 1948-1970. According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation, two Rolla graduates also worked on the Manhattan Project. Max L. Custis, a 1944 chemical engineering graduate, and Sam Tarson, who earned a mechanical engineering degree in 1947, both worked in a “Special Engineer Detachment” at the K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Share This Story

Spark a Memory?

Share your story! Fill out the form below to share your fondest memory or anecdote of S&T. If you'd prefer not typing, you can also share by phone at 833-646-3715 (833-Miner150).

Overcoming challenges

Overcoming challenges

When Lelia Thompson Flagg, a 1960 graduate in civil engineering, arrived at Missouri S&T for the first time, there were…

All a-Twitter

All a-Twitter

The creator and co-founder of Twitter — Jack Dorsey — spent a couple of years studying electrical and computer engineering…

Titanoboa – reptile king of the prehistoric rainforest

Titanoboa – reptile king of the prehistoric rainforest

Sixty million years ago in the steamy prehistoric forests of what is now Colombia, there slithered a 50-foot, 2,500-pound reptile….

From S&T soccer to the state capitol

From S&T soccer to the state capitol

You might think that with the thousands of graduates Missouri S&T has produced over its 150-year history, at least a…

Chain reaction

Chain reaction

Take 60 sleep-deprived students — easy enough to find in Rolla — and add 450,000 strips of newsprint and 530,000…

Memories from “Mr. Miner,” Jerry Bayless

Memories from “Mr. Miner,” Jerry Bayless

After earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1959, Jerry Bayless began teaching in the department...