Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Oak Ridge is an incorporated city in Anderson and Roane Counties in East Tennessee, USA, about 25 miles northwest of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 27,387 people at the 2000 census. The portion of the city located in Anderson County is included in the Knoxville Metropolitan Area, while the portion located in Roane County is included in the Harriman, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area; both of these areas are components of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette, TN Combined Statistical Area. Oak Ridge's nicknames are the Atomic City, the Secret City, The Ridge and the City Behind the Fence.
THC marker recalling the now-defunct community of Scarboro
Oak Ridge was established in the early 1940s as a base for the Manhattan Project— the massive U.S. government operation that developed the atomic bomb. As such, scientific development still plays a crucial role in the city's economy and culture in general.
Before World War II, there was no Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Many cities have been affected by wars. But Oak Ridge is one of the only cities to ever be entirely created because of a war.
In 1939, the United States was on the verge of war with Germany, Japan and Italy. That year, a brilliant scientist named Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt informing him that the Germans were on the verge of splitting the atom and create a powerful new weapon.
A couple of years later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the United States was drawn into World War II. A few months later, Roosevelt got Congress to secretly fund work on such a weapon in four locations -- Anderson County, Tennessee, being one of the four. The Tennessee site was chosen in part because it was close to Norris Dam, which was new at the time and was producing large amounts of excess electricity that were needed for such a project.
A letter received by someone who owned land in what is now Oak Ridge
With the war on, the government was in a hurry. People lived on land that the military wanted were told that the government would be buying their property immediately. Many of them were told about the project -- referred to in public documents as the Clinton Engineer Works -- only weeks before they were supposed to be off their farms.
The K-25 plant Quickly the site was cleared and three large manufacturing plants were built. The plants were known as X-10, Y-12, and K-25. And, although the details of what went on in these massive facilities is above the scope of this web site, suffice it to say that each of the buildings was involved in trying to separate Uranium 235 -- used in the atomic bomb -- from Uranium 238.
Of course, we know this now, but most of the people who working at Oak Ridge during World War II didn't know anything about Uranium 235 or an atomic bomb. "The manager of one plant, for example, was kept completely isolated from other plants where different processes and methods were used," The New York Times later said. "Work was so compartmentalized that each worker knew only his own job, and had no inkling of how his part fitted into the whole."
Various types of early Oak Ridge housing Tens of thousands of people were brought in from all over the country to work at these facilities, and in the early years these people were housed in all types of structures. As you can see from these pictures, most people lived in tiny houses that were built rather quickly.
Oak Ridge residents celebrate the end of World War II By the summer of 1945 Oak Ridge had an estimated 75,000 residents, making the brand new town the fifth largest city in Tennessee. And the project succeeded in its mission. In July 1945 small amounts of Uranium 235 were carried from Oak Ridge to New Mexico, where they were placed in a nuclear bomb known as "Little Boy." That bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and a few days later Japan surrendered, ending World War II.
For more information on Oak Ridge, click here to take a virtual tour of the American Museum of Science and Energy.
1. "Oak Ridge: The Way it Was" -- Bill Carey
2. "A letter received" -- Bill Carey
3. "K-25" -- Ed Westcott
4. "Oak Ridge Housing" -- Ed Westcott
5. "Residents celebrate" -- Ed Westcott
THC marker recalling the now-defunct community of ScarboroThe earliest substantial occupation of the Oak Ridge area occurred during the Woodland period (c. 1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D.), although artifacts dating to the Paleo-Indian period have been found throughout the Clinch Valley. Two Woodland mound sites— the Crawford Farm Mounds and the Freels Farm Mounds— were uncovered in the 1930s as part of the Norris Basin salvage excavations. Both sites were located just southeast of the former Scarboro community. The Bull Bluff site, which was occupied during both the Woodland and Mississppian (c. 1000-1600 A.D.) periods, was uncovered in the 1960s in anticipation of the construction of Melton Hill Dam. Bull Bluff is a cliff located immediately southeast of Haw Ridge, opposite Melton Hill Park. The Oak Ridge area was largely uninhabited by the time Euro-American explorers and settlers arrived in the late 1700s, although the Cherokee claimed the land as part of their hunting grounds.
In the 1800s, the Oak Ridge area saw the development of several rural farming communities, namely Edgemoor and Elza in the northeast, East Fork and Wheat in the southwest, Robertsville in the west, and Bethel and Scarboro in the southeast. The settlers who founded these communities first arrived in the late 1790s, when the Cherokee signed the Treaty of Holston, ceding what is now Anderson County to the United States.
Memorial Baptist Church
George Jones Memorial Baptist Church, built by the residents of Wheat in 1901According to local tradition, John Hendrix (1865-1915), an eccentric local resident regarded as a mystic, prophesied the establishment of Oak Ridge some 40 years before construction began. Upset by the death of his young daughter and the subsequent departure of his wife and remaining family, he became religious and told his neighbors he was seeing visions. When he described his visions, people thought he was insane; for this reason, he was imprisoned for a time. According to several published accounts, one vision that he described repeatedly was an uncannily accurate description of the city and production facilities that were built 28 years after his death. The version recalled by neighbors and relatives has been reported as follows:
"In the woods, as I lay on the ground and looked up into the sky, there came to me a voice as loud and as sharp as thunder. The voice told me to sleep with my head on the ground for 40 nights and I would be shown visions of what the future holds for this land.... And I tell you, Bear Creek Valley someday will be filled with great buildings and factories, and they will help toward winning the greatest war that ever will be. And there will be a city on Black Oak Ridge and the center of authority will be on a spot middle-way between Sevier Tadlock’s farm and Joe Pyatt’s Place. A railroad spur will branch off the main L&N line, run down toward Robertsville and then branch off and turn toward Scarborough. Big engines will dig big ditches, and thousands of people will be running to and fro. They will be building things, and there will be great noise and confusion and the earth will shake. I've seen it. It's coming."
Starting in October of 1942, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began acquiring the Oak Ridge area for the Manhattan Project. Unlike TVA's land acquisitions for Norris Dam— which were still fresh on the minds of many Anderson Countians— the Corps' "declaration of taking" was much more swift and final. Many residents came home to find eviction notices tacked to their doors. Most were given six weeks to evacuate, although several had as little as two weeks. Some were even forced out before they received compensation. By March of 1943, the area's pre-Manhattan Project communities had been removed, and fences and checkpoints had been established. Anderson County lost 1/7 of its land and $391,000 in annual land tax revenue. The manner with which the Oak Ridge area was acquired created a tense, uneasy relationship between Oak Ridge and the surrounding towns that lasted throughout the Manhattan Project.
The Bethel Valley Checking Station
The Bethel Valley Checking Station, In 1942, the United States Federal Government chose the area as a site for developing materials for the Manhattan Project. Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves, military head of the Manhattan Project, liked the area for several reasons. Its relatively low population made acquisition affordable, yet the area was accessible by both highway and rail, and utilities such as water and electricity were readily available due to the recent completion of Norris Dam. With Tennessee's history as a right-to-work state, Union rules or civilian wage issues were virtually non-existent.  Finally, the project location was established within a 17-mile (27-km) long valley, and the valley itself was linear and partitioned by several ridges, providing natural protection against disasters between the four major industrial plants -- so they wouldn't blow up "like firecrackers on a string".
Workers Leaving Y-12 Plant
Workers leaving the Y-12 plant at shift changing time, 1945 (US government photo by Ed Westcott)The location and low population also helped keep the town a secret. Although the population of the settlement grew from about 3,000 in 1942 to about 75,000 in 1945, and despite the fact that the K-25 uranium-separating facility by itself covered 44 acres (178,000 m²) and was the largest building in the world at that time, Oak Ridge was kept an official government secret. It did not appear on maps, and wasn't formally named until 1949, only being referred to as the Clinton Engineering Works (CEW). All workers wore badges, and the town was surrounded by guard towers and a fence with seven gates.
The United Church
The United Church, commonly called the Chapel on the Hill, built for Manhattan Project employeesBeginning in late 1942, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began acquiring more than 60,000 acres (240 km²) for the CEW under authority of the Corps' Manhattan Engineer District (MED). The K-25, S-50, and Y-12 plants were each built in Oak Ridge to separate the fissile isotope uranium-235 from natural uranium, which consists almost entirely of the isotope uranium-238. During construction of the magnets which were required for the process that would separate the uranium at the Y-12 site, a shortage of copper forced the MED to borrow 15,000 tons of silver bullion from the United States Treasury to fabricate into wire for the electromagnet coils as a substitute. The X-10 site, now the location of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was established as a pilot plant for production of plutonium.
Because of the large number of workers recruited to the area for the Manhattan Project, the Army planned a town for project workers at the eastern end of the valley. The time required for the project's completion caused the Army to opt for a relatively permanent establishment rather than a camp of enormous size.
The architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill was contracted to provide a layout for the town and house designs. Prefabricated modular homes, apartments, and dormitories, many made from cemesto (bonded cement and asbestos) panels, were quickly erected. Construction personnel swelled the wartime population of Oak Ridge to as much as 70,000. That dramatic population increase, and the secret nature of the project, meant chronic shortages of housing and supplies during the war years.
The news of the use of the first atomic bomb against Japan on August 6, 1945 revealed to the people at Oak Ridge what they had been working on.
Since World War II
The Peace Bell
The Peace Bell at the Oak Ridge Civic CenterTwo years after World War II ended, Oak Ridge was shifted to civilian control, under the authority of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). In 1959 the town was incorporated and a city manager and City Council form of government was adopted by the community rather than direct federal control. Three of the four major facilities created for the wartime bomb production are still standing today:
K-25, where uranium was enriched by the gaseous diffusion process until 1985, is now being decommissioned and decontaminated.
Y-12, originally used for electromagnetic separation of uranium, is still in use for nuclear weapons processing and materials storage.
X-10, site of a test graphite reactor, is now the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
In 1983, the Department of Energy declassified a report showing that significant amounts of mercury had been released from the Oak Ridge Reservation into East Fork Poplar Creek between 1950 and 1977. A federal court ordered the DOE to bring the Oak Ridge Reservation into compliance with federal and state environmental regulations.
Currently, the Department of Energy runs a nuclear and high-tech research establishment at the site and performs national security work. Tours of parts of the original facility are available to American citizens from June through September. The tour is so popular that there is a waiting list for seats.
Oak Ridge's scientific heritage is explored in the American Museum of Science and Energy.
View from the Oak Ridge Summit, a barren knob on the north slope of Pine Ridge. East Fork Ridge is on the left, Blackoak Ridge spans the horizon.
The entrance to Y-12
The federal government projects at Oak Ridge are reduced in size and scope, but are still the city's principal economic activity and one of the biggest employers in the Knoxville metropolitan area. The Department of Energy owns the federal sites and maintains a major office in the city. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest multipurpose lab in the Department of Energy's National Laboratory system, and is also home to the Spallation Neutron Source, a 1.4 billion dollar project completed in 2006. The Y-12 National Security Complex is a component of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Bechtel Jacobs is the Department of Energy's primary contractor conducting an extensive program of decontamination and decommissioning, environmental cleanup, and waste management that aims to remove or stabilize the residues remaining from decades of government production and research activities. The Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information, which disseminates government research and development information and operates the Science.gov Web site, is located in the city. The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, operated by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, conducts research and education programs for the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies. The Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD), one of several field divisions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Air Resources Laboratory, is also located in the city. ATDD began under AEC sponsorship in 1948 as a Weather Bureau research office providing meteorological information and expertise for the AEC. Currently its main function is to perform air quality-related research directed toward issues of national and global importance.
Boeing has operated a manufacturing plant in the city since the early 1980s, but is closing in 2007. IPIX, Remotec (now a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman), and several other technology-based companies have been founded in Oak Ridge. Wackenhut provides security services for DOE's local facilities, employing about 900 people. Several radioactive waste processing companies, including EnergySolutions, have operations in Oak Ridge.
The infrastructure that was new in the 1940s is aging, and the once-isolated city is now incorporated into the Knoxville metropolitan area. Oak Ridge, a proud city with historic international implications, is now challenged to blend into the suburban orbit of Knoxville while its heritage as a "super secret" government installation subsides. Changing economic forces have led to continuing changes in the commercial sector. For example, the Oak Ridge City Center, a shopping center built in the 1950s and converted to an indoor shopping mall in the 1980s by Crown American, is largely empty in preparation for its partial demolition and redevelopment into a more open type of shopping development.
The Orise Building
The ORISE building at Oak Ridge Associated Universities,
The city operates a preschool, four elementary schools enrolling kindergarten through grade 4, two middle schools enrolling grades 5 through 8, and one high school enrolling grades 9 through 12.
In an August 2004 referendum, city voters approved an increase in local sales taxes to fund a 55 million dollar "rebuilding" project for Oak Ridge High School. Following demolition of one wing of the main building, construction on the first wall of the new building began in April 2005. Temporary classrooms were set up to house science classes; they will continue to be used for different purposes as the multi-year project progresses.
The Oak Ridge Commemorative Walk at the Civic Center
Roane State Community College has a branch campus in Oak Ridge. Other higher education organizations present in the community, but not offering classes locally, include the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the University of Tennessee Forestry Stations and Arboretum.
Independent schools in the city include the Montessori School of Oak Ridge (preschool and kindergarten), St. Mary's School (Roman Catholic, pre-kindergarten through grade 8), and several preschools. The Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning offers a diverse array of educational opportunities for adults.
Notable people from Oak Ridge
The following are notable people who were born, educated, resided, or worked in Oak Ridge:
Justice E. Riley Anderson
E. Riley Anderson, Tennessee Supreme Court justice,
E. Riley Anderson (born August 10, 1932) is a judge and former Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Anderson received a J.D. and Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1957. He graduated from the Appellate Judges Program in 1988 and from the Advanced Appellate Judges Program in 1999 at New York University. He practiced private law in Oak Ridge from 1958 to 1987. He was elected the charter commissioner of the city of Oak Ridge and served from 1962 to 1964. He was appointed to the Court of Appeals on March 2, 1987 and elected in August 1988.
In August 1990, Anderson became one of the last Tennessee Supreme Court members to enter office through an election, rather than being appointed by the governor and subject to a subsequent vote on retention. He was re-elected to the Supreme Court in August 1998. He served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from October 1994 to May 1996, from July 1997 to August 1998, and from September 1998 to August 2001.
During Anderson's time as Chief Justice, the Supreme Court passed a rule allowing the media to bring cameras into courtrooms. He worked on and wrote more than 3,000 appellate court decisions during his judicial career. On January 25, 2006, E. Riley Anderson announced that he would retire from the Supreme Court on August 31 of that year. However, when it became apparent that Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen and the judicial selection commission created under the Tennessee Plan were not going to be able to agree upon two nominees to replace Anderson and fellow retiring justice A. A. Birch, Jr., Anderson agreed to continue his service on an interim basis until a successor could be named and qualified.¹
E. Riley Anderson is a former president of the Anderson County Bar Association, of the Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association, of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and of the Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court. He is also a former member of the Board of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association. Between 1990 and 1995, he served as the chair of the Tennessee Judicial Council.
Anderson served as chair of the Select Senate/House Committee on Court Automation between 1990 and 1994. In 1998 and 1999 he was vice-chair of the Courts, Children and the Family Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices, an organization whose membership is composed of the highest judicial officers of U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and certain territories. In 1999 and 2000, he was on the Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices.
A Friend And Jennifer Azzi
Jennifer Azzi, former WNBA player and Olympic gold medalist,
Jennifer Lynn Azzi (born on August 31, 1968, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) is a former collegiate and professional basketball player.
She received a scholarship and played point guard for Stanford University's women's basketball team from 1987 to 1990. During her four years at Stanford, the Cardinal compiled a 101-23 won-loss record, and captured two Pac-10 titles.
During her senior year (1990), Azzi led the Cardinal to win the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship, defeating Auburn University.
Her individual accomplishments include:
Named to the Kodak All-America First Team in 1989 and 1990.
1990 recipient of the Wade Trophy and Naismith Award.
NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player (MVP), and the West Region MVP in 1990.
Pac-10 Player of the Year award in 1989 and 1990.
Three time All-Pac 10 first team selection
She graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics.
Azzi was a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's basketball team at the 1994 Goodwill Games, which was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
She also won a gold medal while playing for the U.S. women's basketball team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
She was one of six core players selected for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but she withdrew herself from consideration to avoid the extensive touring.
General Burwell Baxter Bell
General Burwell Baxter Bell III receiving Spain's highest military award, the Gran Cruz Del Merito Militar, or Grand Cross of Military Merit (with White Ribbon), from Dr. Delfin Colome, ambassador of Spain.
General B.B. Bell, general in command of U.S. Forces Korea since 2006 and previously in command of United States Army, Europe and NATO's Joint Command.
Early life and education
Bell was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Upon graduation from the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) with his undergraduate degree in business administration Bell was commissioned in the U.S. Army.
Awards and decorations
Bell's awards include:
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with four Oak Leaf Clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Manson Benedict, nuclear engineering pioneer,
Manson Benedict (9 October 1907 in Lake Linden, Michigan — 18 September 2006 in Naples, Florida) was a professor of nuclear engineering at MIT. From 1958 to 1968, he was the chairman of the advisory committee to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
Prof. Benedict received a B.S. from Cornell University in chemistry, and a Ph.D. from MIT in physical chemistry. It was at MIT where he met his wife Marjorie, who also received a PhD in chemistry.
Dr. Benedict was well-known for his pioneering role in Nuclear Engineering. He developed the gaseous diffusion method for separating the isotopes of uranium and supervised the engineering and process development of the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where fissionable material for the atomic bomb was produced. He received many awards for his work on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and for his later career as a scientist, educator, and public servant, which focused on nuclear power and other peaceful uses of atomic energy. Among his awards were: the William H. Walker award in 1947, the Perkin Medal in 1966, the Robert E. Wilson Award in 1968, the Enrico Fermi Award in 1972, and the National Medal of Science from President Gerald Ford in 1975.
From 1958 to 1968, Dr. Benedict was a member and chair of the Advisory Committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, appointed by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.
He established the Nuclear Engineering department at MIT in 1958 (prior to 1958 it was a program in Chemical Engineering started by Benedict in 1951), and was head of the department until 1971. He had a role in educating over 500 graduate students.
He died at his home in Naples, Florida, on September 18, 2006. His wife Marjorie died in 1995 after 59 years of marriage. Two daughters, Marjorie Cohn of Arlington, Mass., and Mary Sauer of Naperville, Illinois, and Naples, Florida, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren survive him.
Nikki Caldwell, head coach for women's basketball at UCLA
Kenneth Lee Carder, United Methodist Church bishop,
Kenneth Lee Carder (born 18 November 1940) is a retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1992. Kenneth distinguished himself as a Pastor, a member of Annual Conference and General U.M. agencies, a Bishop and an author.
Lee Clayton, country-rock singer/songwriter, whose song 'Industry' (1981) is a highly critical account of his childhood in Oak Ridge.
His style has been described as in between rock and country. Clayton grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and began to play harmonica and guitar at the age of 7. At 9 he received his first steel guitar.
After quitting the Air Force he moved to Nashville in 1968 and began his career as a songwriter. His first success was the song "Ladies Love Outlaws" which became a Number 11 hit in the Billboard Charts by Waylon Jennings in 1972. The country music style outlaw country was derived from that song. In 1973 he released his first album simply titled Lee Clayton, with which, as Clayton would later say, he was very dissatisfied. In the following years he continued his songwriting. He wrote songs like "Lone Wolf" for Jerry Jeff Walker or "If You Could Touch Her at All" for Willie Nelson. In 1978 his second album, Border Affair, was released. It was critically acclaimed but became a flop at the charts.
His most successful album was 1979's Naked Child. The songs' style was reminiscent of Bob Dylan and the single, "I Ride Alone", became very notable. In 1979, he went on a big world tour which became a huge success. In 1981 he released his last studio album, The Dream Goes On, which had a harder sound than his previous work. After that he published two autobiographical books and, in 1990, released a live album entitled Another Night which was recorded in Oslo. Also in 1990, The Highwaymen, an outlaw country supergroup comprising Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, had a minor hit with a song of his, "Silver Stallion", which had previously appeared on Border Affair. In 1994 he released the album Spirit of the twilight. Cat Power also covered "Silver Stallion" on the popular 2008 cover album "Jukebox". Today Clayton's career has largely gone silent.
Sheldon Datz, chemist,
Sheldon Datz (July 21, 1927 – August 15, 2001) was born in New York City, son of Clara and Jacob Datz. He went to Stuyvesant High School and received degrees in Chemistry from Columbia University and University of Tennessee. He did early work inventing the molecular beam technique which later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Dudley R. Herschbach, Yuan T. Lee and John Charles Polanyi. He shared the Fermi Award in 2000 with Sidney Drell and Herbert York. He served in the Navy and moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn., upon the opening of federal nuclear facilities there after the Second World War. He is the father of two children, William and Joan.
Charlie Ergen, billionaire co-founder and CEO of EchoStar Communications Corporation, the parent company of Dish Network
Charles W. "Charlie" Ergen (born March 1, 1953) is the co-founder and CEO of EchoStar Communications Corporation, the former parent company of Dish Network.
Born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Ergen's father William Ergen was a nuclear physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his mother Viola Ergen is the retired business manager of the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge. After graduating from Oak Ridge High School in 1971, he graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (BA) and Wake Forest University (MBA). While at the University of Tennessee he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He worked as a financial analyst for Frito Lay.
In 1980, he founded EchoStar with his wife Cantey and Jim DeFranco, targeting rural audiences for satellite dish service. He hosts a show called Charlie Chat on the Dish Network.
He is the 34th richest person in the world with a net worth of $9.1 Billion.
One of his brothers, Dr. Fred Ergen, is a physician at St. Mary's Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Megan Fox, actress
Megan Denise Fox (born May 16, 1986) is an American actress and model. Fox's career in modeling and acting began with her winning several awards at the 1999 American Modeling and Talent Convention in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She began her acting with the film Holiday in the Sun (2001), later appearing in the films Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Crimes of Fashion, and the TV series The Help (all 2004). She is well known for her roles on the television series Hope & Faith (2004) and in the 2007 live-action film Transformers
Fox has Irish and French ancestry. She was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the daughter of Macey Tonachio, former Roane County, Tennessee Tourism Director, and Frank Fox, and she grew up in nearby Rockwood, Tennessee. She was born as Megan Denis Foxx, with two X's in the last name, but changed it once she entered the business. She grew up in a "very poor" household and has one older sister. She was offered her first job at elite pictures london where she was given her first opportunity to star in a movie. Fox began her training in drama and dance at the age of 5 in Kingston, Tennessee. She attended a dance class at the community center there, and was involved in Kingston Elementary School's chorus and the Kingston Clippers swim team. At age 10, after moving to Florida, she continued her training and finished her high school education.
John H. (Jack) Gibbons, Director of the Office of Technology Assessment and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
John Howard (Jack) Gibbons (born 1929) is an American scientist. Between 1993 and 1998 he served as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Gibbons was born in Harrisonburg, VA, in 1929 and received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and chemistry from Randolph-Macon College in 1949 and a doctorate in physics from Duke University in 1954.
Following his formal training in physics, he spent the next 15 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Oak Ridge, Gibbons studied the structure of atomic nuclei, with emphasis on the role of neutron capture in the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements in stars. In the late 60's, at the urging of Alvin M. Weinberg, he pioneered studies on how to use technology to conserve energy and minimize the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption. In 1973, Gibbons was appointed the first director of the Federal Office of Energy Conservation.
Two years later he returned to Tennessee to direct the University of Tennessee Energy, Environment and Resources Center. In 1979, he returned to Washington to direct the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment which provided Congress with nonpartisan, comprehensive analyses on a broad spectrum of issues involving technology and public policy where his tenure lasted over two six-year terms prior to his Presidential appointment as Science Advisor on February 2, 1993.
After leaving the White House, Dr. Gibbons served as the Karl T. Compton Lecturer at MIT (1998-1999) and Senior Fellow at the National Academy of Engineering (1999-2000) where he assisted NAE’s president on a variety of topics including the new NAE program in Earth Systems Engineering. During 1999-2001 he was Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of State where he assisted the Secretary in revitalizing science and technology capabilities, including creating the position of Science Advisor to the Secretary. From 2000-2001 he was the elected President of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Eugene Guth, physicist,
Eugene Guth (Born in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 21, 1905. Died July 5, 1990) was an American physicist who made contributions to polymer physics and to nuclear and solid state physics. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics by the University of Vienna in 1928. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Wolfgang Pauli) at the Austrian-German Science Foundation, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, and University of Leipzig, with Werner Heisenberg from 1930 to 1931. He was Professor at the University of Vienna (1932-1937) and the University of Notre Dame 1937-1955. He was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1955 to 1971.
He is noted for several pioneering discoveries that advanced the field of polymer physics, which was recognised by the award of the Bingham Medal for rheology in 1965. These included the treatment of the flexible, randomly kinked molecule in Brownian motion of polymers; the explanation of the entropic origin of the elastic force; and the Kinetic Theory of Rubber Elasticity.
Aside from establishing the first Polymer Physics Laboratory at an academic institution in America, Dr. Guth had an international reputation in physics and polymer science. In 1976, he delivered the first plenary lecture on "Birth and Rise of Polymer Science - Myth and Truth," before the International Symposium on Applied Polymer Science. Two years later, he received the University of Vienna's Distinguished Alumnus Award, and in 1979, he was awarded the Honor Cross of Science and Arts by President Rudolf Kirchschläger of the Republic of Austria. He remained interested in science throughout his entire life. His last article was published posthumously in 1991 in the Journal of Polymer Science.
Eugene Guth in 1990
A book, co-edited by his long time friend and colleague Professor J. E. (Jim) Mark of the University of Cincinnati, was designed to celebrate Eugene Guth's 85th birthday, but subsequently was published as a memorial. The book is entitled ELASTOMERIC POLYMER NETWORKS, Prentice Hall Publishers, 1992, ISBN 0132494833. The oval picture to the right is found in the inside preface to that collected papers volume.
Elaine Hendrix, actress
Katherine Elaine Hendrix (born December 28, 1970, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) is an American actress, producer, singer, dancer, and activist. She is best know for her roles in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, Inspector Gadget 2, and the 2004 documentary What the Bleep Do We Know!?.
Hendrix was born in Oak Ridge, TN and raised in Morristown, TN. At age 15 she and her mother moved to Atlanta, GA, where she attended the Northside School of Performing Arts.
Alston Scott Householder, mathematician who invented the Householder transformation
Alston Scott Householder (Rockford, Illinois, USA, 5 May 1904 – Malibu, California, USA, 4 July 1993) was an American mathematician who specialized in mathematical biology and numerical analysis, inventor of the Householder transformation and of Householder's method. Married to Belle Householder (d. 1975), children: John, Jackie and remarried 1984 to Heidi Householder, née Vogg.
Householder spent his youth in Alabama; getting a BA in philosophy from the Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois in 1925, and an MA, also in philosophy, from Cornell University in 1927. He taught mathematics while preparing for his PhD, which was awarded at the University of Chicago in 1937. His thesis dealt with the topic of the calculus of variations.
After receiving his doctorate, Householder concentrated on the field of mathematical biology, working with several other researchers with Nicolas Rashevsky at the University of Chicago.
In 1946, Householder joined the Mathematics Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he was appointed chair in 1948; it is during this period that his interests shift toward numerical analysis. In 1969 he left ORNL to become Professor of Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, where he eventually became chairman. In 1974 he retired to and went to live in Malibu, California.
Householder has contributed in different ways to the organisation of research. He has been president of the American Mathematical Society, president of SIAM and of the Association for Computing Machinery. He was a member of the redactional committees for Psychometrika, Numerische Mathematik, Linear Algebra and Its Applications, and has been editor in chief of the SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis. He opened up his wide personal bibliography on numerical algebra in form of a KWIC index. He also organized the important Gatlinburg Conferences, which are still held under the name Householder Symposia.
Kai-Fu Lee (traditional Chinese: 李開復; simplified Chinese: 李开复; pinyin: Lǐ Kāifù; b. December 3, 1961) is an information technology executive and a computer science researcher. The founding president of Google China, he was hired in July, 2005. He became the focus of a 2005 legal dispute between Google and Microsoft, his former employer, due to a one-year non-compete agreement that he signed with Microsoft in 2000 when he became its corporate vice president of interactive services.
Lee was born in Taipei, Taiwan, the son of Tien-Min Li, a legislator and historian from Sichuan, China.
In 1973, Lee immigrated to the United States and attended high school in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in computer science from Columbia University in 1983, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Randy McNally, Tennessee State Senator,
Randy McNally is a Tennessee politician and a Republican member of the Tennessee Senate representing the 5th district, which encompasses Anderson County, Loudon County, Monroe County, and part of Knox County. He is a resident of Oak Ridge.
He was elected to the 91st through 94th General Assemblies as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He was a key figure in the Operation Rocky Top investigation in the late 1980s, when he worked undercover to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation obtain evidence on political corruption in the Tennessee state government. He moved to the state senate for the 95th General Assembly, and has served there continuously since then. In the 105th General Assembly (2007-2008) he is Chair of the Senate Finances, Ways, and Means committee, Vice-Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, and a member of the Senate General Welfare Committee and the Joint Fiscal Review Contract Services Subcommittee.
Since 1978 McNally has worked as a hospital pharmacist at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1962, obtained a B.S. from Memphis State University in 1967, and graduated from University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1969. He was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate in 2007, but fellow Republican Ron Ramsey was elected to that position.
Edgar Meyer, Grammy Award-winning bassist
Edgar Meyer (born November 24, 1960) is a prominent contemporary bassist. His styles include classical, bluegrass, newgrass, and jazz. Meyer has worked as a session musician in Nashville, part of various chamber groups, a composer, and an arranger. His collaborators have spanned a wide range of musical styles and talents; among them are Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Béla Fleck, Sam Bush, James Taylor, Jerry Douglas, Mike Marshall, Mark O'Connor, Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and the trio Nickel Creek.
Meyer grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He learned to play the double bass from his father, the late Edgar Meyer, Sr., who directed the string orchestra program for the local public school system. Meyer later went on to Indiana University to study with Stuart Sankey.
Meyer is noted for achieving virtuosity on an instrument of unusual technical difficulty. His skill has allowed him to perform difficult music originally composed for other instruments, as in his recordings of Bach's unaccompanied cello suites.
Meyer has also composed a number of works that break the traditional mold of classical music, including two double bass concertos, a double concerto for bass and cello, and a violin concerto composed specifically for Hilary Hahn.
In 2000, he won the Avery Fisher Prize, given once every few years to classical instrumentalists for outstanding achievement. In 2002, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. Meyer's collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O'Connor on the widely acclaimed Sony Classical disc Appalachia Waltz reached the top of the United States pop charts for 16 weeks when it was released. Meyer collaborated again with Yo-Yo Ma and Mark O'Connor on Appalachian Journey, that earned a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.
On Meyer's self-titled 2006 Sony Classical release, he performs accompanied only by himself on a wide variety of instruments besides his usual piano and double bass, including guitar, banjo, viola da gamba, mandolin and dobro. Meyer's son, George is in the breakthrough band The Horror!
Sarah Monette, author,
Sarah Monette is an American novelist and short story author writing mostly in the genres of fantasy and horror. She was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 2004 she earned a PhD in English literature, specializing in Renaissance Drama and writing her dissertation on ghosts in English Renaissance revenge tragedy. She double-majored in Classics and Literature (a cross-departmental program between French, English, and Comparative Literature) in college. She is currently teaching a course on seventeenth century literature.
She won the Spectrum award in 2003 for her short story ‘Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland.' Her first novel, Mélusine was published by Ace Books in August 2005, earning starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly and Booklist and a place in Locus's Recommended Reading list for 2005. The sequel, The Virtu, followed in July 2006, also earning starred reviews and making Locus's Recommended Reading lists for 2006. Her short stories have been published in Strange Horizons, Alchemy, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, among other venues, and have received four Honorable Mentions from The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (eds. Datlow, Grant, and Link). Her poem "Night Train: Heading West" appeared in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror XIX, and a story she co-wrote with 2005 Campbell winner Elizabeth Bear, "The Ile of Dogges," appeared in The Year's Best SF (ed. Dozois) 2007.
In 2007, she donated her archive to the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.
Ward Plummer, physicist
E. Ward Plummer is an American physicist. His main contributions are in surface physics of metals.
E. Ward Plummer is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis and Clark College in 1962 and completed his Ph.D. degree in physics at Cornell University in 1967, working with Prof. Thor Rhodin. His thesis work was on atomic binding of 5-d transition-metal atoms using Field ion microscope (FIM).
Plummer accepted a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Bureau of Standards [now called The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)] in the fall of 1967 working with Russ Young, and he stayed as a staff scientist until the fall of 1973. His work included field emission and photoemission studies of surfaces. NIST selected his 1969 paper "Resonance Tunneling of Field-Emitted Electrons Through Adsorbates on Metal Surfaces," co-authored with J. W. Gadzuk and R. D. Young, for inclusion in the agency's centennial collection of its top 100 articles of the 20th century. This paper reported the first-ever single electron spectroscopy work in which electronic energy levels of atoms at the surface of a metal were observed.
In 1973, Plummer accepted a position in the Physics Department at the University of Pennsylvania where his work mainly focused on angle-resolved photoemission, momentum-resolved inelastic electron scattering and nonlinear optical response from surfaces. In 1988, he was appointed the William Smith Professor of Physics and in 1990 became the director of the NSF-funded Materials Research Laboratory (Laboratory for Research on Structure of Matter).
In January 1993, Plummer moved to his present joint position at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research interests have shifted to the study on an atomic scale of phase transitions in reduced dimensionality and surfaces of highly correlated electron systems such as transition-metal oxides. His primary research tool has been variable-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. In 2000, Plummer became the Director of the Tennessee Advanced Materials Laboratory, a state-funded Center of Excellence.
Plummer has served on many national and international committees both to review existing scientific programs and to identify future directions for science and technology. Recent examples include: Chair of DOE-sponsored Workshop on "Soft X-Ray Science in the Next Millennium: The Future of Photon-In/Photon-Out Experiments, Pikeville, Tennessee, March 15-18, 2000, and Chair of DOE-BESAC (Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee) subpanel for the evaluation of the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source (IPNS) at Argonne National Laboratory and the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Manuel Lujan Jr. Neutron Scattering Center. He also recently became a member of the DOE-Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, 2001-2004.
He is author of more than 300 refereed papers and is included in the list of the 1,000 Most Cited Physicists, a list compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information which is based on papers published between 1981 and 1997. But what Plummer is proudest of in his long and distinguished career is the mentoring of promising young scientists. To date, this includes advising or co-advising Ph.D. theses of 40 graduate students, hosting ~25 postdoctoral fellows, and assisting many young scientists in advancing their careers.
William Shepherd, American astronaut who served as commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station.
Congressional Metal Of Honor
William McMichael Shepherd (born July 26, 1949) is a former American astronaut who served as commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station. Shepherd is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Shepherd was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on July 26, 1949, but considers Babylon, New York his hometown. He is married to Beth Stringham of Houston, Texas. His mother, Barbara Shepherd, resides in Bethesda, Maryland. His father, George R. Shepherd, is deceased.
Shepherd graduated from Arcadia High School, in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1967, and received a degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971. After successful completion of BUD/S, he joined the elite community of Naval Special Warfare and qualified as a Navy SEAL. Then, in 1978, he obtained both an MS in mechanical engineering and the degree of Ocean Engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Clifford Shull, Nobel Prize-winning physicist,
Clifford Glenwood Shull (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 23, 1915 – March 31, 2001) was a Nobel Prize-winning American physicist.
Clifford G. Shull was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics with Canadian Bertram Brockhouse. This is the longest ever time after the original work was completed that the Nobel Prize was awarded. The two won the prize for the development of the neutron diffraction technique. He also conducted research on condensed matter. ‘Professor Shull's prize was awarded for his pioneering work in neutron scattering, a technique that reveals where atoms are within a material like ricocheting bullets reveal where obstacles are in the dark.
When a beam of neutrons is directed at a given material, the neutrons bounce off, or are scattered by, atoms in the sample being investigated. The neutrons' directions change, depending on the location of the atoms they hit, and a diffraction pattern of the atoms' positions can then be obtained.
Understanding where atoms are in a material and how they interact with one another is the key to understanding a material's properties.
"Then we can think of how we can make better window glass, better semiconductors, better microphones. All of these things go back to understanding the basic science behind their operation," Professor Shull, then 79, said on the day of the Nobel announcement. ...
He started [his pioneering work] in 1946 at what is now Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At that time, he said, "Scientists at Oak Ridge were very anxious to find real honest-to-goodness scientific uses for the information and technology that had been developed during the war at Oak Ridge and at other places associated with the wartime Manhattan Project."
Professor Shull teamed up with the late Ernest Wollan, and for the next nine years they explored ways of using the neutrons produced by nuclear reactors to probe the atomic structure of materials.
In Professor Shull's opinion the most important problem he worked on at the time dealt with determining the positions of hydrogen atoms in materials.
"Hydrogen atoms are ubiquitous in all biological materials and in many other inorganic materials," he once said, "but you couldn't see them with other techniques. With neutrons it turned out that that was completely different, and we were very pleased and happy to find that we could learn things about hydrogen-containing structures."
As he refined the scattering technique, Professor Shull studied the fundamental properties of the neutron itself. He also initiated the first neutron diffraction investigations of magnetic materials. ... "If there is a ... 'Father of Neutron Scattering' in the United States, it is Professor Shull," wrote Anthony Nunes ..., professor of physics at the University of Rhode Island. ...
Professor Shull came to MIT as a full professor in 1955 and retired in 1986, though he continued to visit and to "look over the shoulders" of students doing experiments in the "remnants of my old research laboratory." ...
Professor Shull's awards include the Buckley Prize, which he received from the American Physical Society in 1956, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1956) and to the National Academy of Sciences (1975). In 1993 he received the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Gregori Aminoff prize for his "development and application of neutron diffraction methods for studies of atomic and magnetic structures of solids."'
Gore Verbinski, film director best known for his direction of Pirates of the Caribbean series,
Gregor (Gore) Verbinski (born March 16, 1964) is an American film director and writer.
He was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States. His father, Vic Verbinski, was of Polish descent and worked as a nuclear physicist at the Oak Ridge Lab. In 1967 the Verbinski family moved to Southern California, where a young Gregor grew up in the town of La Jolla. Gregor was the third of five children (Janine, Claire, Gregor, Diane and Steven), his parents Vic and Laurette being a constant presence in their children's lives. Gregor was an active Boy Scout and surfed regularly. He went to Torrey Pines Elementary, Muirlands Junior High, and La Jolla High before attending UCLA Film School. His first band was Thelonius Monster, which included drummer Danny Heifetz, he also played in the local band "The Drivers", and Allstar band "The Cylon Boys Choir". His first films were a series of 8mm films called "The Driver Files" circa 1979, when he was a young teen. Although most associate Verbinski with feature films, he started his career directing music videos for bands like Bad Religion, NOFX, 24-7 Spyz and Monster Magnet working at Palomar Pictures. This was not surprising to his friends in LA, since he also played music for various punk and rock bands including The Little Kings, Bulldozer and the Daredevils, which included then-departed member of Bad Religion Brett Gurewitz.
Verbinski moved from music videos to commercials, where he worked for many brand names including Nike, Coca-Cola, Canon, Skittles and United Airlines.
One of his most famous commercials was for Budweiser, featuring frogs who croak the brand name. For his efforts in commercials, Verbinski won four Clio Awards and one Cannes advertising Silver Lion.
Viper and Cat
Viper (born Stephanie Green), porn actress,
Green was born September 12, 1959 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but raised in rural New Hampshire. She was interested in theater and ballet while growing up, first dancing with the New Hampshire Ballet Company from 1968 to 1976, then one season with the American Ballet Theater in New York City after graduating high school. In 1978, after being kept on the back lines of the ballet, Green joined the United States Marine Corps, where she served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and achieved the rank of Corporal.
After six years, Green was expelled from the Corps for fraternizing with her superior officers, and worked a year in Baltimore as a prostitute and an entertainer at "The Block" nightclub.
Alvin N. Weinberg
Alvin Weinberg on right standing next to his good friend Eugene Wigner.
Early years in Chicago
Alvin Weinberg was born April 20th, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in mathematical biophysics in 1939. He then worked at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago until the war intervened. He then went to work at a newly formed laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Work at Oak Ridge
He served as director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Physics Division from 1945 until 1948, when he became Research Director for the laboratory. He was named director of the laboratory in 1955.  Weinberg often sat in the front row at ORNL division information meetings and ask the first, often a very penetrating, question after each scientific talk. For young scientists giving their first presentation, the experience could be frightening but was also exciting and stimulating. When asked how he found the time to attend every meeting, Weinberg replied jokingly, "We didn't have a DOE in those days."
Weinberg had the Materials Testing Reactor converted into a mock-up of a real reactor called the Low Intensity Test Reactor (LITR), or the "Poor Man's Pile." Experiments at the LITR led to the design of both pressurized-water and boiling-water nuclear reactors, which have since become the dominant reactor types in commercial nuclear power plants.
In the late 1940s Weinberg asked ORNL's reactor engineers to design a reactor using fluid fuel instead of solid fuel. This Homogeneous Reactor Experiment (HRE) was affectionately dubbed "Alvin's 3P reactor" because it required a pot, a pipe, and a pump. The HRE went into operation in 1950 and at the criticality party Weinberg brought the appropriate spirits: "When piles go critical in Chicago, we celebrate with wine. When piles go critical in Tennessee, we celebrate with Jack Daniel's." The HRE operated for 105 days before it was closed down. Weinberg even invited Senator Jack Kennedy and Senator Albert Gore, Sr. to visit the reactor, but to no avail. Nevertheless, information was still gained from operation of the HRE.
Weinberg's next project, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, set a record for continuous operation and was the first to use uranium-233 as fuel. It was known as the "chemist's reactor" because so many of the problems which cropped up were chemical ones.
Under Weinberg's tenure as director, ORNL's Biology Division grew to five times the size of the next largest division. This division was charged with understanding how ionizing radiation interacts with living things and to try and find ways to help them survive radiation damage, such as bone marrow transplants. In the 1960s Weinberg He also pursued new missions for ORNL, such as using nuclear energy to desalinate seawater. He recruited Philip Hammond from Los Alamos to further this mission and in 1970 started the first big ecology project in the United States: the National Science Foundation-Research Applied to National Needs Environmental Program.
In 1958 Weinberg published The Physical Theory of Neutron Chain Reactors with Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner. It was destined to become a classic in the field. He was elected president of the American Nuclear Society in 1959 and began service on President's Science Advisory Committee the following year. In 1965 he was appointed vice president of the Union Carbide Corporation's Nuclear Division. Weinberg retired from ORNL in 1973 after 18 years as the lab's director.
Ed Westcott, only authorized photographer of the Manhattan Project,
Richard White, actor,
Richard White (born August 4, 1953 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee) is an American Reverend, gay activist, actor, opera singer and voice actor. He is most famous for voicing the character of Gaston in the 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast and in the TV series House of Mouse.
He also played the character of Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat at Paper Mill Playhouse and Robert Mission in The New Moon, at the New York City Opera. White also created the title role of Erik in the world premiere of Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston's musical, Phantom and sings the role on the original cast recording. White is a 1971 graduate of Bethel Park High School.
He was also considered for the voice of Governor Ratcliffe in the 1995 Disney animated feature Pocahontas, but the producers realized that viewers would hear his voice and think of Gaston. David Ogden Stiers (coincidentally, White's co-star from Beauty and the Beast), provided Ratcliffe's voice.
Eugene Wigner, Nobel Prize-winning physicist,
Eugene Paul "E.P." Wigner (Hungarian Wigner Pál Jenő) (November 17, 1902 – January 1, 1995) was a Hungarian physicist and mathematician.
He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 "for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles". Some contemporaries referred to Wigner as the Silent Genius and some even considered him the intellectual equal to Albert Einstein, though without his prominence. Wigner is important for having laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics as well as for his research into atomic nuclei, and for his several theorems.
Wigner was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) to a middle class Jewish family. At age 11, Wigner contracted what his parents believed was tuberculosis. They sent him for six weeks to a sanitarium in the Austrian mountains. During this period, Wigner began to develop an interest in mathematical problems. From 1915 till 1919, concurrently with John von Neumann, Wigner studied at the Lutheran Fasori Evangélikus Gimnázium where they both greatly benefited from encouragement by the legendary mathematics teacher László Rátz. In 1919, to escape the Bela Kun Communist regime, the family briefly moved to Austria, returning after Kun's downfall. Partly as a reaction to the prominence of Jews in the Kun regime, the family converted to Lutheranism.
In 1921, Wigner studied chemical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin (today the Technische Universität Berlin). He also attended the Wednesday afternoon colloquia of the German Physical Society. These colloquia featured such luminaries as Max Planck, Max von Laue, Rudolf Ladenburg, Werner Heisenberg, Walther Nernst, Wolfgang Pauli, and Albert Einstein. Wigner also met physicist Leó Szilárd, who at once became Wigner's closest friend. A third experience in Berlin was formative. Wigner worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry (now Fritz Haber Institute), and there met Michael Polanyi, who became, after László Rátz, Wigner's greatest teacher.
In the late 1920s, Wigner deeply explored the field of quantum mechanics. A period at Göttingen as an assistant to the great mathematician David Hilbert proved a disappointment, as Hilbert was no longer active in his works. Wigner nonetheless studied independently. He laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics and in 1927 introduced what is now known as the Wigner D-matrix. It is safe to state that he and Hermann Weyl carry the whole responsibility for the introduction of group theory into quantum mechanics (they spread the "Gruppenpest"). See Wigner's 1931 monograph for a survey of his work on group theory. In the late 1930s, he extended his research into atomic nuclei. He developed an important general theory of nuclear reactions (see for instance the Wigner-Eckart theorem). By 1929, his papers were drawing notice in the physics world. In 1930, Princeton University recruited Wigner, which was timely as the Nazis soon came to power in Germany. In Princeton in 1934 Wigner introduced his sister Manci to the physicist Paul Dirac, whom she married.
In 1936, Princeton did not rehire Wigner, so he moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There he met his first wife, a physics student named Amelia Frank. She died in 1937, leaving Wigner distraught. On January 8, 1937, Wigner became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Princeton University shortly invited Wigner back, and he rejoined its faculty in the fall of 1938. Though a professed political amateur, in 1939 and 1940 Wigner played a major role in agitating for the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb. However, he was by personal preference a pacifist. He later contributed to civil defense in the U.S. In 1946, Wigner accepted a job as director of research and development at Clinton Laboratory (now Oak Ridge National Laboratory) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. When this did not work out especially well, Wigner returned to Princeton.
In 1941 Wigner married his second wife, Professor Mary Annette Wheeler, of Vassar College. Professor Wheeler was also a physicist, with a Ph.D. from Yale in 1932. They were married until her death in 1977 and had two children.
In a 1987 appreciation of Professor Wigner, Alvin M. Weinberg stated: "…this trait of Wigner’s [giving credit to his young collaborators] explains why so much, not only of reactor theory but of theoretical physics from 1930 to 1965 — though it may not bear Wigner’s name — actually has origin in a suggestion made or question asked by Professor Wigner."
Herbert York, nuclear physicist,
Herbert Frank York (Born in Rochester, NY, November 24, 1921) is an accomplished American nuclear physicist who has held numerous scientific and administrative positions within the United States government and various educational institutes.
He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Rochester, and his Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
After leaving Rochester, York left to work on the Manhattan Project during World War II at the Oak Ridge production site as a physicist.
After the war ended, York returned to school at Berkeley to earn his Ph. D. Barely three years out of graduate school, he served as the University of California Livermore National Laboratory's first Director. Since leaving the Lab in 1958, he has held numerous positions in both government and academia, including Chief Scientist of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, Director of Defense Department Research and Engineering, Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego from 1961 to 1964, and again from 1970 to 1972. He is currently Director Emeritus of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at UC San Diego and serves as chairman of the university's Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee, which oversees activities at both Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He also serves on the board of the Council for a Livable World, a non partisan arms control organization in Washington, D.C.
From 1979 to 1981 he served as U.S. ambassador to the Comprehensive Test Ban negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.
York has written 6 books
Arms Control (Readings from Scientific American (W.H. Freeman, 1973)
The Advisors: Oppenheimer, Teller and the Superbomb (W.H. Freeman, 1976)
Race to Oblivion: A Participant's View of the Arms Race (Simon and Schuster, 1978)
Making Weapons, Talking Peace: A Physicist's Journey from Hiroshima to Geneva (Harper & Row, 1987)
A Shield in Space? Technology, Politics and the Strategic Defense Initiative (U.C. Press, 1988, with Sanford Lakoff)
Arms and the Physicist (American Physical Society, 1994)
York has three children. His daughters are Cynthia and Rachel.
Points of interest
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
ORNL is in the final stages of a $350 million modernization project. A combination of federal, state, and private funds is supporting the construction of 13 new facilities, including the Laboratory for Comparative and Functional Genomics, the Nanoscience Center, the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, the Office of Science’s Leadership Computing Facility for unclassified high-performance computing, and the state-funded joint institutes for computational sciences, biological sciences, and neutron sciences.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, a limited liability partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville. Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that build the nation's expertise in key areas of science; increase the availability of clean, abundant energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security.
ORNL also performs other work for the Department of Energy, including isotope production, information management, and technical program management, and provides research and technical assistance to other organizations.
University of Tennessee Arboretum,
The University of Tennessee Arboretum (250 acres) is a research and educational arboretum operated by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station. It is located at 901 South Illinois Avenue (State Highway 62), Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and open weekdays without charge.
The arboretum contains approximately 2,500 native and exotic woody plant specimens, representing 800 species, varieties, and cultivars, with good collections of azaleas, conifers, crabapples, dogwoods, hollies, junipers, magnolias, oaks, rhododendrons, and viburnums. It also includes geographic groupings of plants from both relatively nearby habitats (Cumberland River gorge, Southern United States coastal plains) and elsewhere in the world (California, central China, and Poland), as well as four nature trails with interpretive signs.
East Tennessee Technology Park - Formerly known as the K-25 Site,
The K-25 plant, located on the southwestern end of the Oak Ridge reservation, used the gaseous diffusion method to enrich uranium by separating uranium-235 from uranium-238. Based on the well-known principle that molecules of a lighter isotope would pass through a porous barrier more readily than molecules of a heavier one, gaseous diffusion produced through myriads of repetitions a gas increasingly rich in uranium-235 as the heavier uranium-238 was separated out in a system of cascades. Although producing minute amounts of final product measured in grams, gaseous diffusion required a massive facility to house the thousands of cascades and consumed enormous amounts of electric power.
Begun in June 1943 and completed in early 1945 at a cost of $512 million, the K-25 plant employed 12,000 workers. The U-shaped K-25 building measures half a mile by 1,000 feet (over 2,000,000 sq. ft. (609,600 m²) and is larger than The Pentagon, and at the time was the biggest building in the world. Construction began before completion of the design for the process. Due to construction needs at K-25 and elsewhere on the reservation, the town of Oak Ridge, originally designed for 13,000 people, grew to 50,000 by summer 1944. The people needed for the construction of K-25 lived near by, in a community that came to be known as Happy Valley. Built by the Army in 1943, Happy Valley was a temporary community that housed 15,000 people in trailer homes.
Gaseous diffusion was one of three isotope separation processes that provided uranium-235 for the Hiroshima weapon (Little Boy) - the other two being electromagnetic separation and liquid thermal diffusion. All of the plants were located on the Oak Ridge reservation. The Y-12 electromagnetic separation plant was located about eight miles northeast of the K-25 plant. The S-50 liquid thermal diffusion plant, using convection to separate the isotopes in thousands of tall columns, was built next to the K-25 power plant, which provided the necessary steam. Much less efficient than K-25, the S-50 plant was torn down after the war. Gaseous diffusion was the only uranium enrichment process used during the Cold War. K-25 was the prototype for later Oak Ridge plants and those at Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio. Uranium enrichment operations at K-25 ceased in 1987.
United Church, The Chapel on the Hill
The United Church, Chapel on the Hill is the first church constructed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee upon the initiation of this city as a part of the Manhattan Project. The original building, which was designed and built as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 700series U.S. Army chapel, is still in use today.
Museum Snap Shots
Children's Museum of Oak Ridge,
The Children's Museum of Oak Ridge is a non-profit organization in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that provides museum exhibits and educational programs.
The museum was first conceived as a Girl Scout project. With the support of a $500 grant from Reader's Digest, it opened on March 11, 1973 in the library of the former Jefferson Junior High School. In January 1974 it moved to the former Highland View Elementary School, where it is still located, with 54,000 square feet (5,000 m2) of space for exhibits, classrooms, and special events. The museum purchased the building and land from the city of Oak Ridge in 1983.
Selma Shapiro was the director of the museum from shortly after its establishment in 1973 until 2004. She has continued to serve as a volunteer since her retirement. In the early 1980s she was the first recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission's Gordon Holl Arts Administrator Award. In 2005 the American Association of Museums named her to its Centennial Honor Roll, recognizing her as one of 100 American "museum champions" who had worked during the past century to innovate, improve and expand how museums in the United States serve the public.
During the period 1978 to 1982 the Children's Museum conducted a public education project known as "An Appalachian Experience," funded by a $376,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project resulted in the development of teaching materials on Appalachia and the 1982 publication of An Encyclopedia of East Tennessee, edited by James R. Stokely III and Jeff D. Johnson (ISBN 978-0960683208).
Enjoy attractive exhibits on Oak Ridge, Appalachia and countries around the world.
The motto of the museum is "please touch".
Learn new ideas, develop useful skills- there is something for all ages.
Tour our simulated Amazon rainforest, complete with sound effects, a waterfall, a railed walkway, beautiful murals, an observation deck high in the forest canopy, and many trees, flowers, and wild animals! Begin in the Field Station, where you can learn more about rainforests and how you can help protect them. Then, when you're ready for adventure... it's time to tour the rainforest!
One of the most popular exhibits at the museum is the "World of Trains". Inspired by models donated by longtime Oak Ridge model railroader Milton Lloyd and built by members of the Knoxville Area Model Railroaders, the World of Trains wing contains a hands-on play room with a mock-up of a diesel engine and a large HO scale layout called Lloydstown which are open to museum visitors every day. In addition, the wing contains the club rooms of KAMR, a full size Norfolk Southern caboose, and a garden railroad which are open to museum visitors the third Sunday of each month September thru May and the third Saturday in June, July, and August. Call the museum for hours.
(Closed for renovation) The homestead consists of three re-constructed log houses furnished with artifacts from 1850 to 1880. Each cabin depicts life on the frontier. Students frequently participate by role playing and enjoy this area more than other sections of the Museum.
Knoxville in the 1910s: City Life & Country Life
City Life / Country Life consists of two period rooms, circa 1910, juxtaposed for visitors to compare. The objective is for students to discover that life in this area in 1910 was diverse - country families relied on their own skill, while city families relied on urban conveniences.
International Hall presents the culture of many countries. It is not unusual to watch children walking around in wooden shoes and another group 'making music' on an African Balafon. Busy hands are also encouraged to handle selected Japanese Kokeshi dolls.
Waterworks is a hands-on flume that demonstrates the lock system on the Tennessee River. Busy hands send boats down the waterways through the locks daily. Coming soon is a wooden tugboat that children will be able to play in.
The Bird Room
This room is up and flying! The room is filled with bird songs common to the East Tennessee area. Try the interactive table and learn what bluebird nests and eggs look like compared to the nests and eggs of other species. View what the environment of birds common to the East Tennessee area are like. Climb down steps to a marsh area where you might see a few surprises! John Edwards, exhibit technician for the museum feels this exhibit is one for all ages to learn and have fun!
One of our newer exhibits is called the "Dollhouse". It is a permanent exhibit located in the west wing of the museum. The Dollhouse is a two story house that a 5 ft child can comfortable fit through. In addition there are miniatures and other doll house related items on display.
Another exhibit - "A Century of Toys Exhibit" - displays a sampling of the museum’s toys and dolls from 1900 - 1999.
Sample the breadth and diversity of the animal kingdom. Start with ancient sea creatures that look more like plants than animals, like sea fans, coral, sponges. Then visit the animals you might see at the beach, like sand dollars, sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and fish. Finally, visit our more familiar mammalian neighbors, like the fox, the deer, and the black bear, and one animal that our ancestors knew better than we do: the mountain lion.
The Arctic (including Nanook, our real stuffed polar bear)
Native American exhibit
Life in the 1930s
The Oak Ridge Corridor: Difficult Decisions
Ed Westcott Photography Exhibit
Appalachian Resource Center
"Gallery II", our rotating exhibit space
Art by self-taught painters from Brazil
OSTI, located on Science.gov Way in Oak Ridge, TN
US DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI)
The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is a component of the Office of Science within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
OSTI's mission is to advance science and sustain technological creativity by making R&D findings available and useful to DOE researchers and the American people.
Accelerating science by increasing the contact rates among scientific communities is a priority for OSTI.
At OSTI, one can search collections of DOE research results, find out about ongoing research projects, explore significant DOE discoveries, learn about DOE Nobel Prize Winners, access and search scientific e-prints, sign up for alerts on science topics of interest, find science conference papers and proceedings, connect with national laboratory education sites, and find other resources.
OSTI, located on Science.gov Way in Oak Ridge, TN
Sharing scientific and technical information is integral to OSTI’s mission. OSTI objective is to make R&D findings available and useful, so that science and technological creativity can advance.
OSTI provides access to energy, science, and technology information through publicly available Web-based systems, with supporting tools and technologies to enable information search, retrieval and re-use.
American Museum of Science and Energy,
The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) is a science museum in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, designed to teach both children and adults about energy, especially nuclear power. The museum began in 1949 in an old wartime cafeteria and moved to its current location in 1975. The museum was originally named the American Museum of Atomic Energy but that name was changed in 1978.
The museum has both permanent and rotating exhibits, including robots, science puzzles, a NOAA weather station, a timeline of atomic discoveries, a large Van de Graaff generator, and a solar demonstration project.
The museum is open seven days a week. The museum was free to the public for many years when its operation was fully funded by the federal government, but admission is currently $3 for students, $4 for senior citizens, and $5 for adults.
Oak Ridge Newspaper
Southern Appalachia Railway Museum
PO Box 6756, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831
The Southern Appalachia Railway Museum (SARM) is a non-profit organization located in Knoxville, Tennessee, dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and operation of historical railroad equipment, and the preservation of the railroad history of the Southern Appalachia Region. The club sponsors the operation of the Secret City Scenic excursion train in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Museum members volunteer their time to restore, maintain, and operate our equipment. Our members are of all ages and all walks of life. They include teachers, firemen, computer programmers, mechanics, writers, professors, students, lawyers, and retirees. Most of our members live in the east Tennessee area, but some come from as far as Atlanta to attend museum activities. If you are interested in participating or supporting our efforts, museum memberships are available. Yearly dues are $30 for individuals and $40 for families the first year, and $20/30 every year thereafter. Lifetime memberships are $300 for individuals and $400 for families. Corporate memberships are also available. If you have ever wanted to be a train conductor, brakeman, or engineer, here is your chance! The museum provides training (in accordance with state and federal regulations) for these positions.
Museum activities include a monthly membership meeting, an annual picnic, an annual slide show, group dinners, work sessions, and operating the Secret City Scenic excursion train. We publish a monthly newsletter, The Blue Flag, which contains the latest museum news, meeting notices, photographs, railroad news, and articles on local railroad history. The Museum is an active member of the Alliance of Tennessee Railroad Museums, the Railroad Passenger Car Alliance, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and the Roane County Chamber of Commerce.
Please contact the museum at P.O. Box 6756, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 37831, or call the museum at (865) 241-2140 for more information.
In July, 1992, Oak Ridge City Council authorized a citizens group to create a concept for City greenways. The task force was to determine the need, feasibility, and funding strategy for a system of greenways in Oak Ridge. A formation meeting was held in August, 1992, with area residents and representatives from the City and conservancy groups. Over the next year, numerous volunteers developed a greenways report. A Task Force Report was presented to City Council in September, 1993. The Council adopted the report by unanimous vote with resolution 9-154-93. A state grant of $8,000 was used to open the Cedar Hill trail.
The Greenways committee consists of a dozen or so volunteers, with additional assistance from neighborhood groups, clubs, civic organizations, and the City. The Greenways committee meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 pm in the Training Room at the Oak Ridge City Building. Guests are welcome.
Friends of Haw Ridge Park
The Friends of Haw Ridge Park is a citizen-created nonprofit 501(c) organization established in November, 2000 to foster conservation and educational efforts in support of Haw Ridge Park by providing support and assistance in the preservation and protection of the many natural, cultural, and scenic features that exist within the Park work with the City and citizens of Oak Ridge and Park users to provide quality recreation and interpretive experiences to the general public.
City of Oak Ridge
Housing Design Program
Historic homes in the City of Oak Ridge are one step closer to being preserved and modernized for the needs of families today, thanks to an initiative by the City of Oak Ridge and the Housing Development Corporation of the Clinch Valley (HDC). The Housing Design Program is an initiative which includes the development of three different remodeling plans for ten historical housing types to encourage homeowners and new homebuyers to improve the aging housing stock and to help make the renovation of the older homes affordable. These permit-ready construction drawings are provided by the City of Oak Ridge to families who wish to buy and/or remodel the original housing free of charge stock built by the U.S. Government when Oak Ridge was a restricted federal enclave during the 1940's and 1950's. The initiative also includes several local banks that are offering special mortgage products and Home Depot which will provide the list of materials needed for the designs.
HDC assisted the city in identifying addresses representing the 10 housing types and was instrumental in promoting participation in the program. Approximately 6,000 homes in Oak Ridge could be eligible for the program.
The City of Oak Ridge, HDC, and Barge, Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, the firm selected by the City to develop the design plans, presented and described the house plans at a public forum in July of 2002. The forum included various speakers who explained how the program worked and several exhibitors who presented a variety of mortgage products that will be offered to homebuyers in connection with the design program. The forum was well received and over 200 homeowners and potential homebuyers attended.
To date, city staff has had a follow up "brainstorming" meeting at the Chamber of Commerce on September 5, 2002; attended the Realtors' monthly meeting to promote the program and provide notebooks with the floor plans for each of the ten houses to each Realtor's office; and participated in the Housing Summit on November 14, 2002. A total of 407 housing plans have been given out to the general public to date.
The Housing Design Program has drawn praise from many housing advocates. The program encourages homeowners and homebuyers to improve the aging housing stock and helps make the renovation of the older homes more affordable.
About Oak Ridge
Early Oak Ridge Story
Oak Ridge was established by the Federal Government. First known as the Manhattan Project, it was secretly developed for the purpose of making nuclear weapons which were used to end World War II. In the beginning of the city's history, approximately 75,000 people were brought from all over the United States and the world to construct the facilities and to work in the federal and city installations.
Early Oak Ridge Secret Town
Located in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee, the city of Oak Ridge did not exist until 1942. However, it would play an important role in ending World War II. President Roosevelt ordered the "Manhattan Project" in order to build an atomic bomb since Germany had declared war against the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. In September of 1942, 60,000 acres in East Tennessee was selected for three facilities which met the requirements for security, water, electric power, labor, and transportation. As many as 80,000 construction workers began a race against time to build three mystery plants to be known as K-25, Y-12, and X-10. Houses were built at a rate of two per minute. Originally planned for a population of 13,000, Oak Ridge grew to over 75,000 in less than three years ultimately producing the two atomic bombs that helped end World War II.
Opened to the public in 1949, Oak Ridge is now known throughout the world for its scientific research and development in energy, nuclear research, materials, and medical and environmental research with a population near 27,310. The X-10 site was renamed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). By the summer of 1944, the primary goal of the war effort was achieved and the laboratory was transformed into the first well rounded institution for nuclear research.
Housing and Town Life
Oak Ridge was the first Manhattan Project site and became the largest of the Project communities with a population at its peak of over 75,000. The original community was designed by the architectural-engineering firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill to accommodate about 12,000 people. This suburban community design adapted the gently winding streets to the contours of the ridge, preserved trees and natural areas, provided attractive home sites, and required minimal cut and fill. Single family homes were grouped into the three neighborhoods of Pine Valley, Cedar Hill, and Elm Grove, each of which featured an elementary school and essential shopping within walking distance including a drug store, dry cleaners, shoe repair, grocery store, beauty parlor and barber shop. Homes were sited with living areas oriented toward green belts, views, and individual gardens. Five home designs designated “A” through “F” according to size (thus how the houses became known as Alphabet houses), included central heat, porches, and fireplaces. Homes were assigned according to family size or, in some instances, job importance.
Construction workers lived in 16,000 rudimentary wooden hutment and barrack spaces, 13,000 dorm rooms, and 5,000 trailers which had little room and no frills. Three thousand cemesto houses, which took two hours each to build, were completed at the rate of one every thirty minutes. Children would return home to find an entire subdivision had been built while they were at school. To save time and labor in providing housing for the thousands of newcomers, prefabricated houses, complete with cabinets, plumbing, curtains, and even some furniture, were brought in by trucks, half-a-house at a time.
House rent included heat, water, and electricity. A typical “B” house, with two bedrooms and one bath, rented for $35 a month. Coal was used for heating. Renters were not allowed to improve housing in any way – painting, planting, remodeling – without special permission. It was not until 1955 that citizens were allowed to own the property they had lived on.
Shopping In Early Oak Ridge
Streets were laid out systematically. Main arteries were named after states, by alphabet, starting at the east end of town and working west. All side streets branching off a main artery bore the first letter of the state’s name. For example, all streets branching off New York Avenue began with the letter “N.”
The local hotel, the Guest House, served as a rest stop for many of the world’s leading scientists, industrial executives, and politicians after its opening in August 1943.
While food was scarce due to government allotments, fresh garden produce provided a welcome treat for the townspeople who could seldom find enough of the essentials, such as milk and flour. Facilities for dry cleaning and laundry were no more modern than the rest of the city, and long waits for service were not uncommon.
Grocery shopping was frustrating, as one store would attempt to serve 10,000 residents with only basic stock and undependable food shipments, since many suppliers often refused to ship orders to a city that was not on a map. Standing in long lines became second nature to Oak Ridgers, whether they were shopping or cashing pay checks.
Churches, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores, and drugstores were built and enlarged.
Original Town Sites
Jackson Square – the original Townsite
Neighborhoods centered on the Townsite, which was designed to offer comprehensive shopping, recreation, and business facilities. The high school, hospital and multifamily housing units were also located near the Townsite. After completion, the area was named Town Center, but that name did not catch on, and residents continued to call it Townsite. Later, it took on the name of Jackson Square.
The Army tried to provide adequate commercial outlets for consumer goods and services behind the fence. Miller’s Department Store in 1944 grossed over $1.2 million. Many shoppers were longing for the items that could be purchased back home in their own department stores. Other shops in the area included Hall’s Shoes, the Hamilton Bank of Knoxville, Sutton’s Barbershop, The Arcade, McCrory’s 5 and 10 Cent Store, Post Office, Fire Station, and more.
Midtown Shopping provided a limited number of goods for sale to the residents of the trailer camps and hutments. A gas station, grocery store, barber shop, and post office were among the shops. Also on site were the Middletown Recreation Hall with a bowling alley and a movie theater.
The Grove Theater was the newest and largest of the seven theaters in Oak Ridge. It opened on September 30, 1944 and seated 1,000 people. The first movie shown on the big screen was Hail the Conquering Hero, starring Eddie Bracken, William Demarest and Ella Rains. Admission tickets were 35¢ for an adult and 11¢ for a child.
Grove Center also had a bowling alley, as did Jefferson, Happy Valley, Central and Midtown. Jefferson Circle Skating Rink was a popular site for residents, and roller hockey became an active sport. Since the tennis courts were the only paved surface in Oak Ridge for a time, they became the center for social dances. An orchestra and a community playhouse were soon in full swing, as were the Music Society and Community Art Center.
Central Recreational Hall in Townsite was a popular hangout for teens. The juke box played loud and long, and drinks and ice cream were served at the snack bar. Midtown Community Center opened with a three-day open house that concluded with a dance. The building continued to be city-owned, becoming the Wildcat Den High School Student Center and later the Senior Citizens Center. The building is currently occupied by the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association.
The Pool opened on August 3, 1944. Ben Martin, who was the head football coach for the Oak Ridge High School Wildcats, was also the Pool Director. Built by the Corp of Engineers when they concreted the bottom and sides of a small pond, the pool was the largest spring-fed pool of its kind anywhere when it was constructed. A water show opened The Oak Ridge Pool with fancy diving, sprints and relay races, and life-saving and correct swim stroke instructions.
The bus system in Oak Ridge provided plant workers with service from the city to the plants, school bus service, and a general city-wide transit service. More than 350 buses were used in the city area, and 400 buses were used to transport non-residents to work. Bus services were free during the war years.
Over 160 miles of boardwalks were built so people could move around. Still, the mud was a constant problem and boots became a primary means of footwear.
Security in Early Oak Ridge
"Behind the Fence." That's how Oak Ridge came to be known in its early years. Born in late 1942 with most of its construction taking place in 1943, Oak Ridge didn't open its gates to the public until 1949, the same year it was officially placed on the state and national maps.
During the War, the word "uranium" was classified for obvious reasons. In fact, the few people who knew that uranium was even being enriched in Oak Ridge were told to call it by a fake name, "Tubaloy," whenever they had the need to use it.
Security Behind The Fence
The atomic number for uranium is "92." A majority of the buildings at the Y-12 Plant are named numerically beginning with those first two numbers, i.e. 9201-2, 9214, etc. When General Groves arrived in Oak Ridge, he was very displeased that this number was being used so openly.
He was also upset that the K-25 Plant had a tell-tell name. The 25 was taken from the Uranium 235 that was being produced in the plant, and the K stood for Kellex, the subsidiary of M.W. Kellogg Corporation that was engineering and constructing the building. However, to take any action would have called more attention to the numbers and letters than desired and would have caused more harm just letting the practice continue.
Stories abound in Oak Ridge about the amount of energy involved in keeping such a huge secret. One of them revolves around the word uranium. It seems that when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, one man working in a laboratory at Y-12 was seen running up and down the hallway outside his office yelling, "Uranium, uranium!" because he could then say the word opening, as his wife had just called him to say the newspapers had reported that the uranium for Little Boy came from Oak Ridge.
A Post–War Security Story: "Katy's Kitchen"
The name of the project was originally "Installation Dog." It began in 1947, and its purpose was to construct Building 9214, a structure specially designed and camouflaged to look like a farm barn with a silo. The motivation for the unique design was to create a better, more hidden location for the storage of the Uranium 235, the fuel for the atomic bomb which was being enriched in Oak Ridge. Initially, the Uranium 235 was stored in Building 9213 where it was not hidden in any fashion. The importance of this material required all precautions be taken, so an alternative plan was set into motion.
The "silo" on Building 9214 was actually a guard tower. An underground vault safely concealed the Uranium 235, and the barn-like structure was added to the building to make it look like any other barn set within the rural landscape. The enriched uranium was stored in Building 9214 from May 1948 to May 1949.
In 1957, a woman named Kathryn Odom, a division secretary, often had lunch in Building 9214, and the facility was nicknamed "Katy's Kitchen."
In some small ways, Oak Ridge is still behind the fence. The Department of Energy Reservation, which includes the BWXT Y-12 National Security Complex and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was once again placed under heightened security following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
However, Oak Ridge as a whole is open to the public and very welcoming and eager to share its incredible story by means of its intriguing heritage sites, fascinating Manhattan Project veterans (many of whom can be found volunteering at the Oak Ridge Welcome Center), and wonderful attractions.
Year-round, an audio driving tour is available at the American Museum of Science & Energy's Discovery Shop. This tour takes visitors on a journey through the Secret City from yesterday to today, giving insight into the historic sites of the Manhattan Project up to today's venues like the city's Melton Hill Lake rowing course, site of the 2007 NCAA Women's Rowing Championship Regatta and the 2007 Master's Rowing Regatta. Maps and brochures are also available at the Oak Ridge Welcome Center.
During the summer months, a special guided bus tour provided by the Department of Energy takes visitors back behind the fence so they can visit some of the original Manhattan Project Sites that are now closed to the general public. Please contact the Oak Ridge Welcome Center for dates and times.
Thanks to D. Ray Smith for his help with information for this section.
John Hendrix Prophecy:
John Hendrix and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, TN
Y-12 is more than just a place and more than mere historical fact. Y-12, in the truest sense, is a vision brought to reality. Over 40 years before it was conceived in the minds of our government officials, it was seen in a true-to-life vision by John Hendrix, who is now called “The Prophet of Oak Ridge.”
In the 1940’s, Y-12 was a monumental national triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it succeeded in producing a new material so powerful that it changed the world forever and it represented the epitome of an idea transformed into spectacular and tremendous action. Yet to grasp the essence of “Y-12” requires more than just the knowledge of these facts, an understanding of the deeper truths and symbols of Y-12 must first be gained. The story of John Hendrix must first be appreciated for the wonder it brings regarding time and place and the power of the human mind.
John Hendrix, a mystic who roamed the East Tennessee woods around the turn of the 20th century, more than 40 years before Y-12 or Oak Ridge existed, told the future regarding Bear Creek valley that lay between two East Tennessee ridges and Black Oak Ridge just north of that valley.
He first predicted that soon a railroad would be built running from Knoxville through the central part of Anderson County. This prediction proved accurate and caused Hendrix to consider himself capable of even more amazing prophecies. He was told by a voice, he said, to sleep on the ground for 40 nights and he would learn about the future. He did as he was told and on the 41st day he emerged from the woods and beginning at the local crossroads general store he told everyone who would listen about the amazing things he had seen in his visions while sleeping on the ground.
“Bear Creek Valley some day will be filled with great buildings and factories and they will help toward winning the greatest war that will ever be.”
Before the War: The Elza, Robertsville, Scarboro, and Wheat Communities
Information obtained from “An Historic View of Oak Ridge,” D. Ray Smith, and ornl.gov
Of the four communities that predated Oak Ridge, only Scarboro (the new spelling) retains much of its old character (although the houses and country stores along Bethel Valley Road are gone). Scarborough Elementary School burned in the late 1920’s but it was rebuilt as a brick structure, part of which is still standing and used by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.
Also standing is the New Bethel Church across from ORNL. Church leaders were convinced that the government would tear down the church in 1942, so they voted to erect a monument to the church as their last official action. The memorial behind the church reads "Erected in Memory of New Bethel Baptist Church, Open 1851 Closed 1942...Church Building Stood 47 Feet in Front of this Stone."
However, the U.S. government let the building remain and used it for storage, meetings, and experiments. It serves today as a museum about the residents who had to move and leave their beloved land. The New Bethel Church, one of four pre-Oak Ridge churches, can be viewed on the Department of Energy Public Bus Tour that takes place each year from June through September.
Residents of Scarborough were as unhappy as the settlers in Wheat, Robertsville, and Elza about leaving their farms and land. But, as one of them said: "What do you do? The government needed your land to win the war. Who would refuse such a request as that?"
The Scarboro cemetery is still located near the ORNL complex.
Information obtained from “An Historic View of Oak Ridge,” D. Ray Smith, and ornl.gov
Other communities included Edgemoor, Bethel and East Fork, but not as much information is available about those communities.
Before 1942 when the U.S. government began buying up the farm land that now comprises the city of Oak Ridge, the area was populated by 3,000 people residing in approximately 1,000 homes scattered throughout these seven communities.
The Elza community was named after a construction engineer in charge of building a railroad bridge in that area. This was also once the home of John Hendrix, the "prophet" who around 1900 predicted that Oak Ridge would be created in Bear Creek Valley.
Robertsville was settled in 1804 by Collins Roberts, who had received a 4,000-acre land grant in what is now Oak Ridge. Robertsville High School was built there around 1915; its auditorium is now the gymnasium of Robertsville Junior High School.
Wheat, settled in the middle of the 19th century, was named after the first postmaster, Frank Wheat. It was the home of Roane College, a liberal arts college that was open from 1886 through 1908. The community was dispersed by acquisition of the land for the K-25 Site.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its surrounding land displaced Scarborough, which was founded in the 1790’s and named after three early settlers, Jonathan, David, and James Scarborough, brothers from Virginia. The area along the Clinch River had been called the Pellissippi by the Cherokees.
Why Oak Ridge?
The city of Oak Ridge was not officially on any map until 1949 when the gates were opened and citizens were allowed to come and go as they pleased. It was only then that Oak Ridge received its name. During the war years, it was referred to as Clinton Engineering Works (C.E.W.) because of its location near the town of Clinton.
In 1942, the 59,000-acre region was actually very rural and consisted of several smaller towns and a population of about 3,000 ( For more information see "Before the War: The Elza, Robertsville, Scarboro, and Wheat Communities").
The relatively low population of the area made acquisition of the land affordable for the federal government. The area was also accessibly by highway and rail. Electricity and water were readily available thanks to the Clinch River and TVA’s Norris Dam . ( For more information see "The Role of TVA")
The topography of the area was also of major importance in the selection site. The valley Oak Ridge sits in is 17 miles long and is partitioned by several ridges which would have provided natural protection from any unforeseen disasters that might have occurred at the four major industrial plants.
The topography of the area was also of major importance in the selection site. The valley Oak Ridge sits in is 17 miles long and is partitioned by several ridges which would have provided natural protection from any unforeseen disasters that might have occurred at the four major industrial plants. In addition, the distance from seacoasts and the proximity to Knoxville’s labor source also contributed to the selection of 59,000 acres in East Tennessee.
However, there is a possibility that politics may have entered into the decision. Senator McKellar from Tennessee just may have influenced the choice. The story goes like this:
In August 1943, President Roosevelt decided to create the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. He needed a way to set aside a large sum of money without it becoming obvious what was being done. Roosevelt asked Senate Budget Committee Chairman McKellar if this could be done. McKellar is said to have replied, “Yes, Mr. President, I can do that for you ... now just where in Tennessee are you going to put that thang?”
A second McKellar story is related by Lester Fox, local automobile dealer. In 1942, Lester was attending the Oliver Springs High School. Lester and a friend were skipping school one day when as they walked by the telephone office, the operator leaned out the door and said, “Lester, go get the principal, he has an important phone call!” Now, Lester is skipping school, but he and his friend go tell the principal what they were instructed to tell him. The principal went to the telephone office and took the call. When he returned to the school, he called all the students into an assembly and told them, “I just got a phone call from Senator McKellar who said for me to tell you to go home and tell your parents that the government is going to need to take your land for the war effort so you need to find other places to live.” Lester swears this is the way many folks in the area that was to become the Manhattan Project first learned they were going to have to move off their land. In a matter of days, letters started showing up on the front doors of homes giving people only a few weeks to move and find another place to live.
The Role of TVA During WWII
Secret Military Facilities
During the era of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New Deal was cause for great celebration and much needed jobs in rural East Tennessee. During this time period, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was called upon to erect the first dam in the TVA system.
The site for this dam was Norris, TN. One of two cities in Anderson County built by the federal government, Norris began as a planned community developed by TVA in 1933 to house the workers building Norris Dam. Approximately 2,900 families were displaced from reservoir lands during construction. Later, the homes were purchased by the town’s residents, and the town was incorporated in 1949.
Norris Dam is a hydroelectric and flood-control structure located on the Clinch River. Designed by architect Roland Wank, construction on the dam began in October 1933 and was completed in March 1936. The project cost $36 million.
The enormous amount of power needed to fuel the production of nuclear materials was one of the reasons the Manhattan Project site in Oak Ridge was built where it was. Nuclear-materials production was both delicate and potentially dangerous. It required plenty of fresh water for cooling and a place that was not in danger of flooding.
For three years, the Manhattan Project site in Oak Ridge used millions of kilowatts of TVA energy. Not even the TVA chairman knew this until August 1945, when the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war.
The electricity provided by Norris Dam, sixteen miles upstream from Oak Ridge, helped to run the facilities in Oak Ridge for the Manhattan Project. But that wasn’t the only role TVA played during WWII.
In 1935, TVA’s chairman, Arthur Morgan, testified before Congress that “an adequate supply of electric energy comes pretty close to being a matter of national defense.” Over the next six years, TVA geared up its energy capacity to be ready in the event of war.
During the war, TVA’s contributions began with its mapping department, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This department used aerial reconnaissance and techniques perfected in the course of mapping the Tennessee Valley to make crucial maps of Europe for Allied aviators. In addition, the TVA nitrate plants in Alabama supplied the raw material needed for thousands of tons of munitions.
The main contribution of TVA, however, was the huge amount of electric power it provided to customers during the war, including an A-31 bomber factory located in Nashville, Tennessee. Another TVA customer located in Alcoa, Tennessee, just south of Knoxville, was the Aluminum Company of America, the largest aluminum plant in the world which was used to provide aluminum for the 50,000 planes that President Roosevelt demanded in May 1940 for the air force. In 1941, Alcoa gave its Fontana property to the federal government and ten days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a bill was signed authorizing the construction of Fontana Dam. Soon after that, TVA launched the construction of two more dams, Cherokee and Douglas. Their roles were also to support the wartime production of aluminum.
Behind The Fence
Secret History - What was being built and the secrecy required
Clinton Engineering Works (C.E.W.) was separated into several different communities. It wasn’t until after the war when the buses started going through the gates that people realized C.E.W. was more than just their particular housing area, shopping center, and war-time facility.
The division and segregation of each community was vital to the secrecy the military was enforcing in the city. The less the residents knew, the better. They had no way of knowing that there were four facilities being built. They had no way of knowing there was more than one town site, more than one movie theater, more than one school.
Happy Valley was the town located next to the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant. This was more of a camp site than an actual town. The campsite was made up hutments, trailers, dormitories, and barracks. A few farm houses remained on the land and were used by higher level officials.
While Happy Valley was situated near the K-25 site, Town Site was filled with workers who were busy building the Y-12 and X-10 plants. They had no way of knowing there was another Manhattan Project facility being built in the next valley.
Each plant had a secret code name, designed specifically to mean absolutely nothing. This was intentionally done so outsiders who might get inside the gates wouldn’t know what was going on at each plant. The only plant name that had a tell-tell sign was the K-25 plant. The 25 was taken from the Uranium 235 that was being produced in the plant, and the K stood for Kellex, the subsidiary of M.W. Kellogg Corporation that was engineering and constructing the building. By the time General Groves arrived in Oak Ridge and found out about this, he thought that changing the name would attract too much attention, so he left it as it was.
General Leslie Groves had requested compartmentalization in all matters related to the Manhattan Project because he wanted to limit any knowledge of the project held by any individual so that person would not betray it to an enemy.
Grover L R
By limiting discussion to a few top officials, this was possible. However, Groves’ wishes were not completely followed. According to his biography, Racing for the Bomb by Robert S. Norris, Groves listed eight major objectives for secrecy:
To keep knowledge from the Germans and the Japanese
To keep knowledge from the Russians
To keep as much knowledge as possible from all other nations, so that the US position after the war would be as strong as possible
To keep knowledge from those who would interfere directly or indirectly with the progress of the work, such as Congress and various executive branch offices
To limit discussion of the use of the bomb to a small group of officials
To achieve military surprise when the bomb was used and thus gain the psychological effect
To operate the program on a need-to-know basis by the use of compartmentalization.
Richard Feynman was one of the great young scientists working on the bomb at Los Alamos. Feynman took it upon himself to demonstrate the inadequacy of the security systems at Los Alamos. Because there was not much to do in the way of entertainment during down time, Feynman spent much of his free time playing practical jokes on his colleagues – breaking into offices and file cabinets and leaving notes for his friends to read. In addition, when he found holes in the fence, he made it a practice to sneak out, then walk back in through the gate until the guards realized he was only going one direction. Feynman often borrowed the car of his friend, Klaus Fuchs, so he could visit his ailing wife. Feynman would later learn that Fuchs was actually one of the employees who had been selling the secrets of Los Alamos. Fuchs, who was a German communist turned British citizen, would rendezvous with Russian spies at a meeting place in Santa Fe regularly from 1942 to 1945.
The full scope of infiltration by the Soviet Union is still not fully known, but we do know that after the war, several men and women were revealed as spies including Alan Nunn May, David Greenglass, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Klaus Fuchs.
According to Groves, a spy like Greenglass would never have learned so many of the secrets of Los Alamos with his low-level clearance if he was not told those secrets by the security violators themselves.