Study Guide

Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the Worlds Most Dangerous Weapon Chapter 12

By Steve Sheinkin

Chapter 12

Disappearing Scientists

  • It's November of 1942 and Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves decide to take over a boys' school in Los Alamos, New Mexico—not because they suddenly have an overwhelming desire to instruct young men wearing shorts in the winter, but because the school occupies the perfect location for their new, top-secret, atomic-bomb-building location.
  • They notify the school that it has been closed and "acquired for military purposes," and then they start moving in immediately.
  • Next, they start the "unscrupulous recruiting" of any scientists they can get to join them.
  • All of a sudden, all over the country, scientists at the top of their fields are suddenly up and moving to New Mexico for mysterious war work. One scientist even moves and doesn't tell his wife where they're headed until they're halfway there (which takes some serious gumption, if you ask us…).
  • One scientist, Richard Feynman, doesn't want to have anything to do with building a new super bomb, but then he realizes that if Hitler builds it first the world will be a much more dangerous place…so he changes his mind.

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