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Word Count: 3,253
In the months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor the Manhattan Project--thename given to the atomic bomb program because its original offices were inManhattan--grew very quickly And although the Army had been involved since June of1942 it was just beginning to realize that someone was going to have to be put in overallcharge The man chosen was Leslie Richard Groves a 46-year-old colonel in the ArmyWhile he was a competent engineer Groves was no scientist He did notunderstand the science behind building the atomic bomb nor did he pretend to Heneeded someone who would be able to supervise the scientific side of the project Afterdismissing a number of candidates Groves decided on who seemed like the mostimprobable of candidate of all--38-year-old J Robert Oppenheimer After he was officially given the job of laboratory director Oppenheimer planned acampaign of absolutely unscrupulous recruiting of anyone we can lay our hands on1 He used his charismatic personality to recruit some of the greatest scientific talent in theworld to join the project He then helped Groves find a location for his bomb-makinglaboratory tentatively called Site YA number of southwestern sites were explored On November 16 OppenheimerGroves and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers were looking at a site atJemez Springs New Mexico a deep canyon about 40 mi 64 km northwest of Santa Fe Oppenheimer did not care too much for the site nor did Groves His main objection wasthat there was no room for expansion Oppenheimer then innocently remarked aboutgoing back to Albuquerque via the Los Alamos Ranch SchoolGroves liked Los Alamos at once and began moving quickly He calledWashington that very evening and began to buy the land The Ranch School was havingfinancial trouble as a result of the war and so it was more than happy to sell out Within aweek the land the building and other possessions of the school--including 1600 booksLos Alamos or the Hill as it was commonly referred to officially opened
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