|Birth name||Robert Ralph Furman|
|Born||August 21, 1915|
Trenton, New Jersey
|Died||October 14, 2008 93) (aged|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1940–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War II:|
|Other work||Founder of Furman Builders Inc|
Robert Ralph Furman (August 21, 1915 – October 14, 2008) was a civil engineer who during World War II was the chief of foreign intelligence for the Manhattan Engineer District directing espionage against the German nuclear energy project. He participated in the Alsos Mission, which conducted a series of operations with the intent to place all uranium in Europe into Allied hands, and at the end of the war rounded up German atomic scientists to keep them out of the Soviet Union. He personally escorted half of the uranium-235 necessary for the Little Boy atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian. He was also a key figure overseeing the construction of The Pentagon building. After the war he founded Furman Builders Inc., a construction company that built hundreds of structures, including the Potomac Mills shopping mall in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Robert Ralph Furman was born on August 21, 1915, in Trenton, New Jersey, one of five sons of William and Leila Ficht Furman. His father was a bank teller, and his mother worked as a riveter during World War II. He attended Princeton University and graduated in 1937 with a degree in civil engineering. He then worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad and a construction company in New York.
In December 1940, Furman was activated as a member of the United States Army Reserve and assigned to the Quartermaster Corps Construction Division, where he worked for Colonel Leslie R. Groves, Jr., supervising the day-to-day construction of The Pentagon. When the building was completed in 1943, Groves was reassigned to the "Manhattan Project" and brought his aide, Furman, with him.
In August 1943 Furman was put in charge of an intelligence effort formed by Groves in response to concerns raised by atomic bomb project scientists about the German nuclear energy project. As director of intelligence, Furman was responsible for ascertaining the progress the Germans were making.In December 1943, Groves sent Furman to Britain to discuss the establishment of a London Liaison Office for the Manhattan Project and the British government, and to confer over coordinating the intelligence effort.
Furman sent the spy Moe Berg to Switzerland to meet the head of the German project, Werner Heisenberg. After chatting with Heisenberg at a cocktail party, Berg concluded that the Germans were a long way behind the Allied effort.Furman travelled to Rome in June 1944, where he interviewed Italian scientists about the German project.
When the Alsos Mission found documentation in office of Union Minière in Antwerp that indicated over 1,000 tons of refined uranium had been sent to Germany, but about 150 tons still remained at Olen, Belgium,Groves sent Furman back to Europe with orders to secure the Olen cache. The Alsos Mission located 68 tons there, but another 80 tons was missing, having been shipped to France in 1940 ahead of the German invasion of Belgium. Groves had the Olen uranium shipped to England and, ultimately, to the United States.
Documentation indicated that the missing uranium had been sent to Toulouse.An Alsos Mission team under Boris Pash's command reached Toulouse on October 1 and inspected a French Army arsenal with a Geiger counter. When the needle jumped near some barrels, they were inspected and found to be the 31 tons of uranium from Belgium. The 3342nd Quartermaster Truck Company was released from the Red Ball Express to retrieve the shipment. The barrels were collected and transported to Marseilles, where Furman supervised their loading on a ship bound for the United States.
In April 1945, Furman participated in Operation Harborage. The Alsos Mission and the 1269th Engineer Combat Battalion occupied Haigerloch, where they found and destroyed a German experimental nuclear reactor, and recovered uranium and heavy water.The Alsos Mission took Heisenberg into custody on May 2. Furman supervised his detention and that of nine other German scientists, who were taken to Rheims, then Versailles, and finally to the country estate of Farm Hall in England, where their conversations were monitored and where they could not defect to the Soviet Union.
In July 1945, Furman personally escorted half of the uranium-235 necessary for the Little Boy atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian. Accompanied by Captain James F. Nolan, a radiologist with Project Alberta, Furman set out by car from Santa Fe to Albuquerque on July 14, then travelled by air to Hamilton Field, California. The men boarded the cruiser USS Indianapolis at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, and crossed the Pacific to Tinian, arriving on July 26. A few days after leaving Tinian, the Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine with the loss of over 800 men.
Furman left the army the year after the war ended and founded Furman Builders Inc. in Rockville, Maryland. The firm built hundreds of homes, schools and commercial buildings, including the Potomac Mills shopping mall in Woodbridge, Virginia, the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and the United States embassy in Nicaragua.He married Mary Eddy in 1952. They had four children: a son, David, and three daughters, Martha Keating, Julia Costello and Serena Furman.
For the most part, Furman kept quiet about his exploits during the war. He served as president of the local Rotary Club and sang baritone in a barbershop quartet.He retired in 1993, and died of metastatic melanoma on October 14, 2008 at Buckingham's Choice retirement community in Adamstown, Maryland at the age of 93.
"Little Boy" was the codename for the type of atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 during World War II. It was the first nuclear weapon used in warfare. The bomb was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces and Captain Robert A. Lewis. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city. The Hiroshima bombing was the second man-made nuclear explosion in history, after the Trinity test.
The Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory that designed the actual bombs. As engineer districts by convention carried the name of the city where they were located, the Army component of the project was designated the Manhattan District; Manhattan gradually superseded the official codename, Development of Substitute Materials, for the entire project. Along the way, the project absorbed its earlier British counterpart, Tube Alloys. The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion. Over 90 percent of the cost was for building factories and to produce fissile material, with less than 10 percent for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than thirty sites across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves Jr. was a United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project, a top secret research project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.
The Alsos Mission was an organized effort by a team of British and United States military, scientific, and intelligence personnel to discover enemy scientific developments during World War II. Its chief focus was on the German nuclear energy project, but it also investigated both chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them.
Operation Big was an operation of the Alsos Mission, the Allied seizure of facilities, materiel, and personnel related to the German nuclear weapon project during World War II. It was tasked with sweeping several targeted towns in the area of southwest Germany designated to the French First Army, including Hechingen, Bisingen, Haigerloch, and Tailfingen.
Tube Alloys was the research and development programme authorised by the United Kingdom, with participation from Canada, to develop nuclear weapons during the Second World War. Starting before the Manhattan Project in the United States, the British efforts were kept classified, and as such had to be referred to by code even within the highest circles of government.
A calutron is a mass spectrometer originally designed and used for separating the isotopes of uranium. It was developed by Ernest Lawrence during the Manhattan Project and was based on his earlier invention, the cyclotron. Its name was derived from California University Cyclotron, in tribute to Lawrence's institution, the University of California, where it was invented. Calutrons were used in the industrial-scale Y-12 uranium enrichment plant at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The enriched uranium produced was used in the Little Boy atomic bomb that was detonated over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.
The Quebec Agreement was a secret agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States outlining the terms for the coordinated development of the science and engineering related to nuclear energy and specifically nuclear weapons. It was signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt on 19 August 1943, during World War II, at the First Quebec Conference in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
The German nuclear weapons program was an unsuccessful scientific effort led by Germany to research and develop atomic weapons during World War II. It went through several phases of work, but in the words of a historian, it was ultimately "frozen at the laboratory level" with the "modest goal" to "build a nuclear reactor which could sustain a nuclear fission chain reaction for a significant amount of time and to achieve the complete separation of at least tiny amount of the uranium isotopes." Scholarly consensus is that it failed to achieve these goals.
The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Army component of the project was designated the Manhattan District; "Manhattan" gradually became the codename for the entire project. Along the way, the project absorbed its earlier British counterpart, Tube Alloys. The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion. Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and producing the fissionable materials, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons.
The MAUD Committee was a British scientific working group formed during the Second World War. It was established to perform the research required to determine if an atomic bomb was feasible. The name MAUD came from a strange line in a telegram from Danish physicist Niels Bohr referring to his housekeeper, Maud Ray.
The S-1 Executive Committee laid the groundwork for the Manhattan Project by initiating and coordinating the early research efforts in the United States, and liaising with the Tube Alloys Project in Britain. It evolved in June 1942, alongside the S-1 Section of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), from the Uranium Committee of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), which had itself evolved from the Advisory Committee on Uranium when the OSRD absorbed the NDRC in June 1941.
Major General Thomas Francis Farrell was the Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Field Operations of the Manhattan Project, acting as executive officer to Major General Leslie R. Groves, Jr.
Operation Epsilon was the codename of a program in which Allied forces near the end of World War II detained ten German scientists who were thought to have worked on Nazi Germany's nuclear program. The scientists were captured between May 1 and June 30, 1945, as part of the Allied Alsos Mission, mainly as part of its Operation Big sweep through southwestern Germany.
Major General Kenneth David Nichols, also known by Nick, was an officer in the United States Army, and a civil engineer who worked on the secret Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb during World War II. He served as Deputy District Engineer to James C. Marshall, and from 13 August 1943 as the District Engineer of the Manhattan Engineer District. Nichols led both the uranium production facility at the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the plutonium production facility at Hanford Engineer Works in Washington state.
The industrial firm Auergesellschaft was founded in 1892 with headquarters in Berlin. Up to the end of World War II, Auergesellschaft had manufacturing and research activities in the areas of gas mantles, luminescence, rare earths, radioactivity, and uranium and thorium compounds. In 1934, the corporation was acquired by the German corporation Degussa. In 1939, their Oranienburg plant began the development of industrial-scale, high-purity uranium oxide production. Special Soviet search teams, at the close of World War II, sent Auergesellschaft equipment, material, and staff to the Soviet Union for use in their nuclear weapon project. In 1958 Auergesellschaft merged with the Mine Safety Appliances Corporation, a multinational US corporation. Auergesellschaft became a limited corporation in 1960.
The Montreal Laboratory in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was established by the National Research Council of Canada during World War II to undertake nuclear research in collaboration with the United Kingdom, and to absorb some of the scientists and work of the Tube Alloys nuclear project in Britain. It became part of the Manhattan Project, and designed and built some of the world's first nuclear reactors.
John Lansdale Jr. was a United States Army colonel who was in charge of intelligence and security for the Manhattan Project.
Britain contributed to the Manhattan Project by helping initiate the effort to build the first atomic bombs in the United States during World War II, and helped carry it through to completion in August 1945 by supplying crucial expertise. Following the discovery of nuclear fission in uranium, scientists Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch at the University of Birmingham calculated, in March 1940, that the critical mass of a metallic sphere of pure uranium-235 was as little as 1 to 10 kilograms, and would explode with the power of thousands of tons of dynamite. The Frisch–Peierls memorandum prompted Britain to create an atomic bomb project, known as Tube Alloys. Mark Oliphant, an Australian physicist working in Britain, was instrumental in making the results of the British MAUD Report known in the United States in 1941 by a visit in person. Initially the British project was larger and more advanced, but after the United States entered the war, the American project soon outstripped and dwarfed its British counterpart. The British government then decided to shelve its own nuclear ambitions, and participate in the American project.
High Explosive Research (HER) was the British project to develop atomic bombs independently after the Second World War. This decision was taken by a cabinet sub-committee on 8 January 1947, in response to apprehension of an American return to isolationism, fears that Britain might lose its great power status, and the actions by the United States to withdraw unilaterally from sharing of nuclear technology under the 1943 Quebec Agreement. The decision was publicly announced in the House of Commons on 12 May 1948.