AUTHORHershberg, James G.
TITLEJames B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Atomic Bomb
PUBLISHERAlfred Knopf
CITYNew York, NY
DATE PUBLISHED1993
ISBN0-394-57966-6


This book is the first biography of James B. Conant, who was president of Harvard University and led the U.S. government’s effort to build the first atomic bomb. As a young man, Conant won a scholarship to study at Harvard, which led to his later professorship in chemistry. Hershberg contends that Conant was close to a Nobel Prize when he accepted the presidency of the University and abandoned the laboratory. As a science advisor to President Roosevelt in 1941, Conant worked closely with Vannevar Bush to evaluate the feasibility of building the atomic bomb. He became one of only a handful of men to guide the secret atomic project for the duration of World War II. Conant was the civilian administrator of the Manhattan Project, and attended the Trinity test in Alamogordo New Mexico. Conant abandoned the realm of nuclear policy when he and J. Robert Oppenheimer lost a bitter fight to prevent the building of the hydrogen bomb. Hershberg combines previously classified information with his original research to shed light on one of the most profoundly important and enigmatic figures of mid-20th century.


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