The July 1945 Szilard Petition on the Atomic Bomb Memoir by a Signer in Oak Ridge

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2001-02-01
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Howard Gest was a member of the "Charles Coryell Chemistry Group" of the Manhattan (Atomic Bomb) Project at the University of Chicago and in the "secret city" of oak Ridge (TN). Research of the group was focused on characterization of the numerous radioactive isotopes created during uranium fission, development of a process for chemical isolation of plutonium, and preparation of gigantic amounts of radioactive barium required by Los Alamos physicists. This memoir describes activities in Oak Ridge and documents the history of the ill-fated secret Szilard Petition addressed to President Truman. In essence, the petition requested him to refrain from approving actual use of atomic bombs on inhabited cities if at all possible; alternatives for ending the war with Japan were suggested, e.g., demonstration of the devastating effects of an A-bomb on an uninhabited island. Gest and about 150 other scientists signed the petition, which remained classified as a "secret document" for about 10 years.
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decision to use A-bombs, National Archives, Harrison-Bundy Files, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, atomic bombs, radioactive barium, plutonium, uranium, Henry Stimson, President Truman, Howard Gest, Charles Coryell, Szilard petition, Leo Szilard, Manhattan Project
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