DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
8a radioactive, luminous white, metallic element that occurs in very small quantities in combination with minerals. Radium emits alpha particles and gamma rays to form radon gas. Radium has been used in luminous surface materials, such as the numbers on watch faces, and used in treating cancer.
16the U.S. Government's secret project, launched December 28, 1942 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Manhattan Engineer District, to develop the atomic bomb. Headquartered in Washington, the Manhattan Project was the Office of Scientific Research and Development Section on Uranium and was codenamed S-1 (Section One of the Office of Scientific Research and Development).
17J. Bergonie and L. Tribondeau, French scientists who in 1902 discovered that immature, rapidly dividing cells were more sensitive to the effects of radiation than slowly dividing, well-differentiated cells
18any of several cancers of the bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of white blood cells in the tissues, resulting in anemia, increased susceptibility to infection, and impaired blood clotting
23plural of metastasis, the spread of disease-producing organisms or of malignant or cancerous cells to other parts of the body by way of the blood or lymphatic vessels or membranous surfaces; or, the condition so produced
25of the lymphatic system, the system of glands, tissues, and passages involved in generating lymphocytes and circulating them through the body in the medium of lymph; it includes the lymph vessels, lymph nodes, thymus, and spleen.
29Dr. Arthur Compton, University of Chicago, a key member of the scientific team that established the Manhattan Project. Early in 1942, as part of the emerging effort to develop an atomic bomb, Dr, Vannevar Bush, head of the National Defense Research Committee, appointed Compton to be one of three program chiefs with responsibility to run chain reactions and develop weapons theory. As a result, under Arthur Compton the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago became a critical research facility for the Manhattan Project.
30A pioneer in radiation therapy, Robert Stone, M.D., had conducted human radiation studies before World War II. He was an early researcher at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and became a major figure in radiobiology research. When Joseph Hamilton began operating his 60-inch cyclotron at Crocker Laboratory, Stone requested that fission products be made on the cyclotron and that their fate in mammals be systematically studied in small animals. That information would be used for radiation protection proposes. In 1942, while chairing the Department of Radiology at UC San Francisco's medical school, Stone was recruited to lead the Medical Division of the Manhattan Project, overseeing all biological, medical, and radiological protection research. Accordingly, he moved to the University of Chicago, where he served as Associate Director for Health under Arthur Compton. In the 1950s, after serving in the Atomic Energy Commission, Stone returned to his post at the UCSF as head of the Department of Radiology. Under Stone, UCSF acquired a 70-MeV synchrotron for conducting therapeutic research.
35Dr. John Lawrence, brother of Ernest O. Lawrence, was Director of the Division of Medical Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He operated a clinic at Donner Laboratory, where he treated leukemia and polycythemia vera patients with radioactive phosphorus. For a colleague's recollection of Dr. Lawrence's clinic, see in the interview with Dr. John Gofman (DOE/EH-0457, June 1995), the sections "From Research to Laboratory Production of Plutonium," "Medical Treatments With Radioactive Phosphorus (32P)," "Conflict Between University of California San Francisco and Berkeley," "Heparin and Lipoprotein Research With Human Subjects," and "Radiophosphorus Therapy for Polycythemia Vera." See also "Reflections on John Lawrence" in DOE/EH-0476, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Physiologist Nello Pace, Ph.D. (June 1995).
42a laboratory set up at the UC Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley during the 1930s specifically to conduct experiments in medical physics. For an inside view of Donner Laboratory's role, programs, personalities, and day-to-day operations, see DOE/EH-0479, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Donner Lab Administrator Baird G. Whaley (September 1995).
44alimentary canal, a tubular passage functioning in the digestion and absorption of food and the elimination of food residue, beginning at the mouth and terminating at the anus; here, Freidell is referring to administration by ingestion.
51According to the "linear hypothesis," all ionizing radiation is harmful; the harm rises in direct proportion to the dose. Over time, some radiologists and health physicists came to find this assumption simplistic and proposed more complex models, most of them based on a linear quadratic equation.
56At Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in early 1944, Segrè developed Little Boy, a lighter, smaller version of a uranium bomb that used a plutonium gun design. Little Boy was dropped, untested, at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
57Joseph Hamilton, an M.D., worked at Crocker Laboratory, then the site of a 60-inch cyclotron that he operated to produce radioisotopes in support of research and some medical diagnosis and treatment. Crocker was part of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, later renamed Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, in Berkeley, California.
58a medical researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who died prematurely of leukemia, probably brought on by overexposure to radiation in the course of his career, which included work with radiophosphorus in England. Low-Beer, a physician, had been trained in his native Czechoslovakia. He served as an associate professor of Radiation Therapy before heading the Radiation Therapy Division of the Department of Radiology at UC San Francisco.
59For reminiscences of Dr. Soley's radioiodine treatment clinic, see DOE/EH-0465, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Dr. Nadine Foreman, M.D. (July 1995).
60U.S. chemist, born 1912. A professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, Seaborg discovered plutonium in 1940 and went on to play a key role in the discovery of more than half a dozen heavy elements through the 1950s, winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1952. Seaborg later served as Director of the Atomic Energy Commission.
63Metallurgical Laboratory, the laboratory set up at the University of Chicago during World War II to lead the secret research and development of controlled nuclear fission under the Manhattan Project. Met Lab researchers had produced the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942. Operating initially at one-half watt, it achieved 200 watts ten days later.
64(1908) Hungarian-born refugee physicist and the "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb." Teller was one of a number of European scientists who had fled to the United States in the 1930s to escape Nazi and Fascist repression.
66established by an executive order June 28, 1941six days after German troops invaded the Soviet Union. The OSRD's Director reported directly to the President and could invoke the prestige of the White House when dealing with other Federal agencies. The National Defense Research Committee, at the time headed by Harvard President James Conant, became an advisory body responsible for making research and development recommendations to the OSRD.
67a professor of Radiology at the University of Rochester (Rochester, New York), site of research involving plutonium and human subjects. Dr. Warren worked on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge as head of the medical section and headed an Intramedical Advisory Committee. After World War II, Dr. Warren became dean of the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School.
68During World War II, the Manhattan Project had built a vast complex of highly classified facilities in and near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to process uranium for use in atomic bombs. The Atomic Energy Commission assumed control of these facilities upon its creation. Today they belong to the Department of Energy.
69E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company constructed and operated the Hanford site in Washington state from 1943 to 1946 for the Manhattan Project. Du Pont and the Harshaw Chemical Company of Cleveland produced uranium hexafluoride on a scale sufficient to keep the vital isotope-separation research going.
72Leon O. Jacobsen, M.D. (born 1911), specialized in internal medicine. He served as Director of Health, Plutonium Project of the Manhattan Engineer District at the University of Chicago. Jacobsen specialized in hematology, radiation biology, and the effects of chemotherapy and isotopes on leukemia and lymphoma. Jacobsen served as the first director of the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.
74a substance that slows (moderates) or thermalizes neutrons coming from the fission reaction, increasing the probability of their causing additional fissions in sustaining the chain reaction. In modern reactors, water is used as the neutron moderator.
78Office of Scientific Research and Development. Established by an executive order June 28, 1941six days after German troops invaded the Soviet Union. The OSRD's Director reported directly to the President and could invoke the prestige of the White House when dealing with other Federal agencies. The National Defense Research Committee, at the time headed by Harvard President James Conant, became an advisory body responsible for making research and development recommendations to the OSRD.
81From 1942 to 1944, researchers under Dr. Craver at Memorial Hospital conducted studies to determine the clinical and hematological effects of prolonged daily exposure to whole-body, high-voltage x-ray irradiation. The work was sponsored by the Manhattan Engineer District. For a summary and list of references, see OT-66, " Tolerance to Whole-Body Irradiation of Patients with Advanced Cancer," in Human Radiation Experiments Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and Its Predecessors, DOE/EH-0491, July 1995.
85Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory was a key research and development center for the Manhattan Project. Nuclear bombs were assembled there before and during the Cold War. It has been a research and development center for nuclear weapon designs. Renamed Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is now a part of the U.S. Department of Energy, operated by the University of California.
87Dr. Paul Aebersold established the administrative system for distribution of radioactive isotopes. After working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge from 1942 to 1946, he served as director of the Atomic Energy Commission's Isotopes Division at Oak Ridge from 1947 to 1957. He retired as the Director of the AEC's Office of Isotopes Development in 1965. Two-and-a-half years later, he committed suicide. For additional information on Dr. Aebersold, see "Safety of the Nuclear Industry" in the interview with Merril Eisenbud (DOE/EH-0456, May 1995); "Remembrances of Personalities" in the interview with Earl Miller (DOE/EH-0474, June 1995); and "Oak Ridge Committees (Isotope Distribution, Human Use, et al.)" and "Vanderbilt University Study of Pregnant Women and Iron-59" in the interview with Karl Morgan (DOE/EH-0475, June 1995).
88Hempelmann was a group leader in the Health Division at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1943 to 1947 and led the division from 1946 to 1948. An expert in radiology and radiobiology, he served in the Atomic Energy Commission from 1948 to 1950, then joined the faculty of the University of Rochester.
93The race to build the atomic bomb would soon result in a working bomb and possibly large-scale production. There was an imminent need to understand the relationship between plutonium intake and rate of excretion, so that workers could be properly monitored by urine bioassay.
94Animals had been suspected, and were later confirmed, to metabolize and excrete radionuclides at rates that differed, often substantially, from the rates in humans; animal metabolic rates are usually higher than man's.
95Shields Warren, M.D., was Chief Pathologist at New England Deaconess Hospital and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He joined the U.S. Navy Medical Department in 1939 and wrote with others on what was then known about radiation during World War II. Dr. Warren served on the first U.S. team to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki after they were bombed with atomic weapons and was involved in creating what became the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. He was the first director of the AEC's Division of Biology and Medicine and, later, established his own cancer research institute at New England Deaconess Hospital. See "Recollections of Shields Warren" in DOE/EH-0471, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Radiologist Henry I. Kohn, M.D., Ph.D. (June 1995).
96Karl Morgan recalls: "I don't think it would be any problem in getting the plutonium. Probably my guess would be that Hymer Friedell or Stafford [Warren] were brought intimately into the earlier stages of [this study]. I say that without any great knowledge, but only because I knew both parties quite well at the time and knew what their interest[s] were and what one of their main goals was: to get information on the risks of plutonium [and uranium]. from "Plutonium Injection Studies at an Oak Ridge Military Hospital (1945)" in DOE/EH-0475, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Health Physicist Karl Z. Morgan, Ph.D. (June 1995).
98the short title for a Los Alamos report on results of research involving injection of plutonium into human subjects: W.H. Langham, S.H. Bassett, P.S. Harris and R.E. Carter. "Distribution and Excretion of Plutonium Administered Intravenously to Man." Los Alamos: Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, LA-1151, 1950; reprinted in Health Physics. Vol. 38, No. 6, 1980, pp. 103160.
104In the early '30s at MIT, Evans investigated the bioeffects of radium on dial painters in New Jersey and Connecticut. By 1941, Evans with others had set the first standards for a tolerance level for radium in the human body. The first "tolerance level" for radium was set at 0.1 microgram body burden: Evans judged that there would be no bone cancers below 0.1 microgram 226Ra in the skeleton. Later he served on the AEC's Committee on Isotope Distribution. At a 1967 symposium, he proposed that the AEC establish a National Center for Human Radiobiology so the AEC could follow up and combine all the radium cases being studied at MIT, Argonne National Laboratory, and elsewhere. On September 1, 1969, the center opened at Argonne, headed by Robert E. Rowland; Evans maintained a satellite office at MIT. In the early 1990s, Evans's pioneering basic research earned him the Department of Energy's Fermi Award.
113a program initiated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to identify and demonstrate uses for peaceful nuclear explosives (PNEs), such as civil engineering projects. For a variety of reasons, no such peaceful nuclear explosions ever were conducted by the United States as anything other than tests. Before its breakup, the Soviet Union reportedly used PNEs in several massive civil works projects.
114In the late 1950s and early '60s, several contractors worked on the development of nuclear-reactorpowered jet engines for long-range military aircraft. The projects were funded by the AEC and the Department of Defense, and the contractors included General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and others. Engines were built in Connecticut (Pratt & Whitney) and Ohio (GE), and some were tested at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho. Also known as the NEPA (Nuclear Engine for the Propulsion of Aircraft) program, the nuclear aircraft program was cancelled by President Kennedy because problems with engine weight and crew shielding, as well as design philosophy disagreements, were halting progress.
115Tobias was a professor of medical physics and radiology at the Donner Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Tobias's main research focused on the biological effects of radiation; cancer research; and space medicine. For the transcript of the interview with Tobias, see DOE/EH-0480, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Biophysicist Cornelius A. Tobias, Ph.D. (July 1995).
118physicist, group leader at the Met Lab in Chicago (194344), and subsequently of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (194446), and Cornell University (1946); recipient of numerous prizes in physics and astronomy