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l3 The Academy in World War I] FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (~93~947) World War II was foreshadowed in the Japanese invasion of Man- churia in Age, Mussolini's assault on Ethiopia in ~935, Italian and German interference in the Spanish Civil War (~936-~939), and Hitler's march into the Rhineland in ~ 936. Then Austria and Czechoslovakia fell to Hitler, and Albania to Mussolini. Upon the full-scale German invasion of Poland on September I, ~939, Britain and France declared war against the Third Reich. A week later President Roosevelt declared a state of limited national emergency. Frank Hewett, a man of great vigor and action, elected to the presidency of the Academy in ~939, was soon the driving force behind the Academy's mobilization for the war effort. Possessed of a keen intellect, wide interests, and an amazing talent for friendship, he could be, when the occasion called for it, outspoken and colorful in his speech and correspondence; and, happily for history, he kept meticu- lous records. 382
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Frank Baldwin Jewett, Presi- dent of the Academy, ~939- ~947 (From the archives of the Academy). The Academy in World War II I 383 As a member of the Science Advisory Board and its Executive Council, he had tended to be wary of the partnership of science and government. Some in the Academy might deplore this cautious at- titude, but none denied his talent for getting things done. Like presidents before him, Jewett would have many occasions to remind the membership of the one and only purpose of the Academy, to respond to any department of the government "whenever called upon." Out of some idiosyncrasy, Jewett invariably wrote and quoted it as "whenever requested," and it was dutifully printed that way in Academy publications.) Descended from New England ancestors who settled in Mas- sachusetts in ~632, Frank Jewett was born on September 5, ~879, in Pasadena, California, a community at that time of some twelve houses. Paternal relatives had earlier purchased a large section of the sur- rounding country, and his father had been given a wild tract of twenty-five acres as a wedding present. He was graduated in ~ 898 with an A.B. degree from nearby Throop Institute, which later became the California Institute of ~ e.g., NAS, Annual Report for 194445, p. I.
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384 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) Technology. An adviser persuaded him to do his graduate work in physics at the University of Chicago, where he roomed with Oswald Veblen and was for a time Michelson's research assistant. After receiving his Ph.D., he went to MIT in ~ got as an instructor in physics. His career, however, was not to be in physics, but in engineering. After two years at MIT, he heard of an opening in the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and joined it as a transmission engineer. His life and calling coincided almost exactly with the first seventy years of the telephone. Just three years before Jewett's birth, Alexander Graham Bell had obtained his first patent, and in ~8~' formed the Bell Telephone Company. Entering the young industry when he was twenty-five, Jewett was sent first to the company offices in Boston, where he demonstrated an extraordinary knack for seeing the solution to problems and supervising the necessary engineering research. He rose rapidly to the top of its engineering department and from there went to the New York office. By ~9~2, he was an acknowledged expert on long-distance telephone transmission and was made Assist- ant Chief Engineer of the Bell System's manufacturing unit, Western Electric. He went on to become Chief Engineer in ~9~6, and Vice- President and Director in ~9~. Shortly after the Engineering Department of Western Electric became the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Jewett was made its Presi- dent early in ~925 and a Vice-President of AT&T, in charge of all research and development in the Bell System. He was elected to the Academy in ~9~8, in recognition of his achievements in communications research and development and his services to the Signal Corps and Navy in World War I, and was active in its affairs from that time on. He had come to know Vannevar Bush in ~9~7 when they met at the Navy antisubmarine laboratory at New London, Connecticut. Jewett was then an advisory member of the Navy's Special Board on Submarine Detection; and Bush, with doctorates in engineering from both Harvard and MIT, was engaged in research at the laboratory.2 In ~9~3, shortly after Jewett became Chairman of the Research Council's Division of Engineering, he brought in Bush as a member, who not long after his election to the Academy in ~934 took over the division chairmanship. The close association was furthered by their 2 Frank B. Jewett, "Vannevar Bush ~943 Edison Medalist," Electrical Engineering 63 :82 (March ~944).
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The Academy in World War II I 385 membership in other Academy-Research Council committees, nota- bly the Committee on Scientific Aids to Learning.s Jewett therefore knew Bush well and was aware of his conversations in Cambridge with Karl T. Compton, President of MET, and Harvard's President, James B. Conant, about the imminence of U.S. involve- ment in the war. And he knew why Bush had come to Washington. Drawn into their "discussions of a suitable mechanism for effective mobilization of the scientific and technical resources of the country," as he reported, Jewett became one of the four "mobilizers."4 The Potentialities of Nuclear Fission On January ~6, ~939, seven months before the German attack on Poland, Niels Bohr had arrived from Copenhagen with disquieting news of a German experiment. At a conference on theoretical physics held at the Carnegie Institution of Washington ten days later, he reported the receipt of a telegram from Denmark from Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, refugee scientists from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin, saying they had confirmed the experimental splitting of the uranium atom recently achieved by their colleagues Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann at the Institute. The Meitner-Frisch report appeared in the February ~ I, ~939, issue of Nature magazine in Great Britain and was soon verified in a number of physics labora- tories in this country.5 Continuing research pointed strongly to the possibility of a chain reaction in uranium, with enormous release of energy, and, on the basis of information from Berlin, the strong likelihood that German science would organize a massive effort to develop it into a weapon. Early in October ~939, a month after the outbreak of war in Europe these conclusions were laid before President Roosevelt in a dossier that included a letter of August s, signed by Albert Einstein, ~ On that committee, see NAS, Annual Report for 1937-38, pp. 32-33 et seq.; NAS Archives: EX Bd: Com on Sc Aids to Learning: Proposed: ~936; Vannevar Bush, Pieces of the Action (New York: William Morrow & Co., COO), pp. 32-33, 37. ~ NAS, Annual Report for 1939~0, p. i; A. H. Compton, Atomic Quest: A Personal Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, ~956), p. 34. 5 Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, "Disintegration of Uranium by Neutrons: A New Type of Nuclear Reaction," Nature 143:239-240 (February At, ~939); Frisch, "Physical Evidence for the Division of Heavy Nuclei under Neutron Bombardment," ibid., p. ~76 (February ~8, ~939).
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386 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) emphasizing the gravity of the possibilities.6 By then almost a hundred articles on the phenomenon of nuclear fission and the theory of its mechanisms had been published throughout the world. The probability of a chain reaction demanded attention at the execu- tive level. In the absence of any real confidence between the Administration and the scientific community, and confronted with the political neces- sity of maintaining strict security while exploring the possibility of harnessing nuclear fission, the President turned to scientists in the federal government. He appointed an Advisory Committee on Uranium under Lyman I. Briggs, Director of the National Bureau of Standards, to which he assigned Army and Navy ordnance specialists Col. Keith F. Adamson and Comdr. Gilbert C. Hoover. Other mem- bers were physicists Fred L. Mohler of the Bureau and Richard B. Roberts of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Three of the most knowledgeable nuclear physicists in this country were consultants: Leo Szilard, Eugene P. Wigner, and Edward Teller, who not long before had fled their native Hungary. The committee obtained a small appropriation of federal funds to support the exploratory research going on in university and institutional laboratories. By March ~g40 the findings of Enrico Fermi, John R. Dunning, Herbert L. Anderson, George B. Pegram, and Harold L. Urey at Columbia; Jesse L. Beams at Virginia; Alfred O. C. Nier at Minne- sota; Gregory Breit at Wisconsin; Merle A. Tuve at the Carnegie Institution; and Ross Gunn at the Naval Research Laboratory indi- cated that concentration of uranium-~3s, if feasible, could produce an awesome explosion, but its verification would require enormous funds and organization. By then, too, the need to hold back publication of uranium research results had become imperative,7 and in the spring of ~940 Breit proposed the establishment of a "reference committee" in the Na- tional Research Council to which American scientific journals agreed to submit all papers on uranium or other research having a bearing on national defense. In the almost total cessation of publication of information on nuclear physics that followed, Briggs's committee 6 Leslie R. Groves, Now It Can Be Told (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, ~962), P 7 7 E.g., Niels Bohr and i. A. Wheeler, "The Mechanism of Nuclear Fission," Physical Review 56:426-450 (September I, ~939); Edwin M. McMillan and Philip H. Abelson, "Radioactive Element 93," ibid., 57:1185-1186 June ~5, ~g4O). For a retrospective account of the physicists' concerns, see Spencer R. Weart's "Scientists with a Secret," Physics Today 29: 23-30 (February ~ 976).
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The~cademy in World WarII I 387 alone made possible the exchange of information among nuclear scientists in this country.8 In Tune ~940 the NRC reference committee was formalized in the joint Academy-Research Council's Advisory Committee on Scientific Publications, under Luther P. Eisenhart. Within a year it had secured the cooperation of 237 scientific journals, covering every field of research relating to national defenses With the reports on uranium-23s, Briggs's advisory committee had now gone as far as it could. The magnitude of the task was becoming clear and called for greater cooperation and administrative authority. Merle Tuve discussed the problem with Vannevar Bush, President of the Carnegie Insitution of Washington, who saw the impasse as another concern in his growing uneasiness over the state of the nation's defenses. In ~936 the Army General Staff had actually reduced its research and development allocations by half, in the belief that its range of weaponry was adequate and the funds could be better used for the repair, replacement, or production of ordnance. The first executive orders, proposed by the President in the spring of ~938 to assist industry in tooling up for weapons production, were not issued until two years later. Bush, upon making inquiries, learned with dismay that the military had little idea of what science could provide in the event of war, and that scientists were wholly in the dark as to what the military needed.~° Vannevar Bush, a craggy New Englander of strong persuasions, with a compulsion for getting things done and the temperament to see them through, had worked on submarine detection devices for the Navy in World War I and had done some fine original work in ~ NAS, Annual Report for 194041, pp. 52-53; Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson, Jr., The New World, 1939-1946: A History of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, ~962), pp. 25-26 (hereafter cited as Hewlett and Anderson, The New World); Henry D. Smyth, Atomic Energy for Military Purposes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, ~945), pp. 45-46 (hereafter cited as Smyth, Atomic Energy). 9 NAS, Annual Report for 1941~2, pp. 26-27 et seq.; correspondence in NAS Archives: EX Bd: Com on Scientific Publications: Advisory: Reference Com on Nuclear Physics and Isotopes: ~ g4o- ~ 94 ~ . For the kind of public speculation on atomic energy permitted thereafter, see David Deitz, "Science and the Future," The American Scholar 11:29~298 (Summer ~94~). a George C. Reinhardt and William R. Kintner, The Haphazard Years: How America Has Gone to War (New York: Doubleday & Co., ~ 960), pp. ~ 57- ~ 58; A. Hunter Dupree, Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities to 1940 (Cam- bridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, ~957), p. 367.
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388 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (l93g-l947) applied mathematics and electrical engineering while teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since i932 he had been Vice-President of MIT and Dean of its School of Engineering. A highly active member of both the Academy and the Research Council, Bush shared the Academy's concern in ~ 938-~939 with finding a way to meet the nation's scientific needs in the coming war. As a member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in ~938, he heard fellow member Charles Lindbergh, on his return that autumn from a privileged tour of Germany's munition and aircraft factories, describe the mighty war machine and invincible air force displayed for him and heard him advocate American isola- tion in the coming conflict. Bush reacted by urging NACA to propose a massive aviation research and production program to match the German effort. He joined his associates in the Academy and Research Council in discussing ways to repair the inadequacy of the nation's defense research and to get on with the uranium investigation. In January ~939, in his fiftieth year, Bush had resigned from MIT to come to the Carnegie Institution in Washington. That October he was elected Chairman of NACA; and in January Age, in order to give more time to aeronautical committee affairs and national defense, he resigned the chairmanship of the Research Council's Division of Engineering and Industrial Research. He was thus very much on the scene, when, in May ~g40, Professor Archibald V. Hill of Cambridge, Secretary of the Royal Society and temporary scientific attache to the British Embassy, arrived in Wash- ington and met with Bush at NACA to talk about aviation problems at home. Hill was prepared to discuss the organization of British war research and some of its results and to propose an exchange of scientific information. However, the authorities in London were hesitant about giving information to a neutral power. Since there had been no authorization for disclosures, Hill returned to London to press for action there. Bush's knowledge of the inadequate state of our preparations galvanized him into action. He was energetically supported by President Jewett. 'I With his associates at MIT, he was the inventor in ~925 of the Bush Analyzer, the first large-scale mechanical computer. An advanced model was to be used in the computa- tion of artillery firing tables during the war. See brief Bush profile in NAS, Annual Report for 1952-53, pp. ~ 8-~ 9, and his autobiographical Pieces of the Action, passing ~2 James Phinney Baxter III, Scientists Against Time (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., ~946), P Il9
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The Academy in World War II I 389 Vannevar Bush and the National Defense Research Committee Although the Academy, with its ability to enlist the support of the principal scientific and educational institutions and organizations in the nation, might seem the logical agency to mobilize American science in a time of national emergency, it was restricted by its self-imposed independence of the federal structure. The attempt of the Research Council in ~ 933, through the Science Advisory Board, to obtain federal funds to support its proposed scientific and engineer- ing programs had failed to achieve either New Deal or Academy approval, as Jewett well knew. When called upon for specific research, however, the Academy Charter permitted it to contract on behalf of federal agencies for such research. At the request of the Civil directing psychological researches at twenty-five institutions in the selection and training of aircraft pilots. As Hap (Henry H.) Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Corps, said of early Academy efforts: Aeronautics Authority, for example, the Academy was . . . when this war started they [the Academy and Research Councill were a tower of strength as far as I was concerned. When we came to these problems of research and development that were beyond our scope or beyond the facilities we had, I always went to the Academy of Sciences, and they in turn brought in the scientists from all over the country. They sat around a table, and we went over the problems that I presented to them. They, in turn, would farm them out for us and get the results. They did a masterful job for us along that line before ... Dr. Bush's organization was created.... We used the Academy of Sciences that way for years before the war. That was the only agency that we had or knew of where we could get in contact with those who could solve those problems for US.~4 When the question of the mobilization of science came up in the spring of ~ g40, however, Dr. Jewett felt that the Academy was neither organized, constituted, nor intended to initiate and direct contract research for the government on the extensive scale necessary. The Academy, as an advisory body, was "in the position of a doctor waiting for clients; it could not adopt the attitude of an aggressive salesman and initiate attacks on what it regarded to be important military i' NAS, Annual Reportfor 1939~0, pp. 76-77. ~4 U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Military Affairs, Hearings on Science Legislation (S. 1297 and Related Bills) Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Military A flairs. 78th Cong., fist sees., October 8, ~g45-March 5, ~946, p. 3so. ~ JO
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390 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) problems." Moreover, to have enabled it to do so would have trans- formed the Academy into an executive organization, "just another agency of Government," and destroyed the Academy's most valuable asset, "the authority of distinction without power."~5 Vannevar Bush recalled the situation in later years: . . . I think perhaps there is an opportunity here to straighten out a point which I believe is still in confused condition in the minds of a good many Academy members. Unless I am mistaken some of the members feel that when NDRC was formed and later when OSRD was formed there was a situation where a few of us who might have operated within the Academy structure operated outside of it for some strange reasons of our own. As a matter of fact it was the closest cooperation throughout the war. The real reason that the structure was set up for war purposes in the way that it was became essential for two reasons. First we had to obtain large sums of money, and toward the end directly from Congress. Second, we had to have an organization which reported directly to the President and it had his delegated authority to operate as an independent agency in our relations with the military struc- ture.... Frank Jewett, the President of the Academy worked closely in bringing this all about.... I feel that far from injuring the Academy we really gave it some opportunity to operate effectively which it might not have hades At the time, Ross Harrison, Chairman of the Research Council, said, "It seems to be true that each succeeding Enational crisis], while taking advantage of the past, still requires its special organization suited particularly to immediate times." Under the charter of the Academy, this would doubtless always be so.~7 The two principal obstacles, Jewett later said, were that the Re- search Council over the previous quarter-century had developed almost wholly along civilian lines, and the Academy, under a ruling of the Comptroller General, had to supply working funds for its admin- istration of research for federal agencies. Enormous sums would be required to direct a national research program, and the Academy t5 Jewett, "The Mobilization of Science in National Defense," Science 95:23~241 (March 6, ~942); Jewett, "National Academy of Sciences," journal of Applied Physics 14 :374-377 ( ~ 943); Jewett, "Remarks at the Dinner by the President of the Academy," Science 92:412~14 (November 8, ~940); Jewett testimony in U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Military Affairs, Technological Mobilization. Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Military Affairs, 77th Cong., ad sees., November-I)ecember ~942, vol. 2, pp. To-do (copy in NAS Archives: Jewett file 50.27); Jewett's position paper, November ~947 (see Chapter ~4, pp. 472-474). ~6 Bush to Philip Handler, March 9, ~970 (NAS Archives: PUBS: NAS: History). ~7 NAS, Annual Report for 1940-41, pp. 30-3 I.
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The Academy in World War II I 391 neither had such funds in 1940 nor could it obtain them from requesting agencies except by act of Congress or by amendment to the Academy Charter. Although the National Research Council seemed to be the kind of organization that was needed to mobilize the nation's scientific re- sources, it was Bush's National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, already organized for the emergency, that possessed the more readily adaptable structure. NACA had been established as an inde- pendent federal agency by Congress in ~9~5 under civilian direction to direct and conduct research and experimentation in problems of flight for the government air services. Its purview was a fairly narrow field of science; it had access to congressional funds and operated with a research staff under Civil Service; and it was empowered to contract with universities and industry for additional research. There was, in the emergency, Bush asserted, "a distinct need for a [closely parallel] body [to NACA] to correlate governmental and civil funda- mental research in fields of military importance outside of aeronau- tics" and to serve as a "definite link between the military services and the National Academy."~9 Bush had discussed such an organization with Compton, Conant, Jewett, and his colleagues at NACA.20 At Bush's direction, John F. Victory, Executive Secretary of NACA, prepared a draft of an act of Congress setting up a National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) authorized to construct and operate research laboratories [this was later omitted), and to make contracts for research, studies, and reports with educational and scientific institutions, with individuals, and with industrial and other organi- zations . . . to conduct research and experiments in such laboratories as may be placed under its direction.... [and] to coordinate, supervise, and conduct scientific research on the problems underlying the development, production, '8 Jewett, "Review of the Years ~ 939-47," NAS, Annual Reportfor 1946~7, pp. ~ -3. '9 Undated, unsigned memorandum in OSRD (Office of Scientific Research and De- velopment) Box 212. See also James L. Penick et al. (eds.), The Politics of American Science, 1939 to the Present (Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1965), pp. 8-~o. Note on OSRD documentation: The files of the Office of the Chairman, NDRC, of the Director, OSRD, and related series of OSRD records and correspondence, comprising over 8,ooo boxes, are in Record Group 227 of the National Archives: "OSRD Box 212" is a simplification of the formal citation, "OSRD: Administrative Office, General Records [Box 212], National Archives Record Group 227." 20 Hewlett and Anderson, The New World, pp. 24-25-
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392 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) and use of mechanisms and devices of warfare, except scientific research on the problems of flighty In early June, as Dunkirk fell and the German armies drove toward Paris, Bush, through his White House acquaintance, Harry Hopkins, saw President Roosevelt.22 The President, convinced of the imperative need for organization of the nation's scientists and scientific institu- tions, at once approved, with slight modifications, the functions of the committee Bush proposed and suggested that it might be more quickly set up by executive order than by act of Congress. He agreed with Bush's plan to utilize the research facilities of the War and Navy Departments, the National Bureau of Standards, and other federal agencies and, through the National Academy and its Research Coun- cil, enlist the services of individual scientists and engineers and the facilities of educational and scientific institutions and industrial or- ganizations. He would write to the chiefs of the armed services and to the President of the Academy requesting their concurrence.23 Bush saw Gen. George C. Marshall and Adm. Harold R. Stark, both of whom expressed interest in shifting some of their current research work to the National Defense Research Committee. Karl Compton, Conant, Jewett, U.S. Commissioner of Patents Conway P. Coe, and Dean of the California Institute of Technology's graduate school, Richard C. Tolman, with whom Bush had worked out the details of the proposed committee, all agreed to serve, and on June , ~940, the President sent out their letters of appointment. The letters named Bush Chairman of NDRC; Tolman, Chairman of its Division A (armor and ordnance); Conant, Division B (bombs, fuels, gases, and chemical problems); Jewett, Division C (communica- tions and transportation); Compton, Division D (detection, controls, and instruments); and Coe, Division E (patents and inventions). Brig. Gen. George V. Strong was the Army representative on the commit- tee and Rear Adm. Harold G. Bowen, the Navy representative. 2~ Baxter, Scientists Against Time, p. ~4; draft of order attached to undated, unsigned memorandum in OSRD Box 2 ~2. 22 Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate Histo?y (New York: Harper, ~948), pp. ~53—~55; Bush to Seitz, September ~6, ~968 (NAS Archives: PUBS: NAS: History). The event as recorded in draft notes for Bush's Science, The Endless Frontier (OSRD Box so) reads: "Summoned by President Roosevelt, in the spring of ~g40, the President of the National Academy and others associated with him recommended the creation of a single central agency within the executive establishment . . . for the purpose of mobiliz- ing . . . scientific personnel and the facilities of the nation." 23 Baxter, Scientists Against Time, pp. ~ 5, 45 ~ .
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422 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) reaction had been achieved. The committee still offered only "reason- able hopes" of success in this "radically new thing." The report also noted a new development that spring, the possibil- ity of a plutonium bomb, based on the transuranic element No. 94 found by Glenn T. Seaborg, a chemistry instructor under Lawrence at Berkeley. Plutonium, probably as fissionable as U-23s, seemed to the committee a likely basis in the distant future for what might be described as a "super bomb."~06 The committee believed Bush to be concerned at that juncture with the next stage of the undertaking before he authorized all-out re- search and requested large-scale appropriations. It therefore recom- mended the establishment of a central laboratory in NDRC, like that for radar at MIT, to test the possibility of a chain reaction in purified unseparated uranium and to accelerate efforts to separate uranium isotopes in quantity, "since this appears to be the only way in which the chain reaction could be brought about in a mass small enough to be carried in a bomb."~07 The British had reached a similar conclusion, and their MAUD committee, a code name for the counterpart of the Briggs committee, feared that German efforts were much further advanced and had accordingly concentrated their research on large-scale separation of U-23s for a bomb. It was the feasibility of a bomb, not a chain reaction, that Bush wanted to determine, and the arrival early in October ~ 94 ~ of the full MAUD report with its confidence of success settled the question in his mind of whether the likelihood of a bomb merited the vast effort it would cost.~°8 i06 Element 94, plutonium, had been predicted by Bohr and Wheeler in ~ 939, described by McMillan and Abelson in June ~940, found by Seaborg between March and June ~94~ using Lawrence's cyclotron, and isolated by him in pure form in April ~942 [Lawrence to Conant, April 7, ~ 943, and attached reports (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3032, Historical File, Special)]. Lawrence's proof that 94 underwent slow neutron fission was presented to the Academy committee in July ~94~ [Conant to Lawrence, March 3 I, ~ 943 (ibid. )]. The discovery of plutonium, merely noted in the Academy report of May ~7, had become extremely important in the report of July ~ I. ~07 Bush to Jewett, July 9, ~94~ (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3032, l-DMS); "Report of the NAS Committee on Atomic Fission, July At, ~94~" (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3034A, Chubb). For the decision against a central laboratory then, see Urey to Conant, December 27, ~94~ (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3034, Sites). '°8 A preliminary draft of the MAUD report had been forwarded by Hovde to Carroll Wilson for Bush and Conant on July ~ 7, ~ 94 ~ (Extracts from draft report, "The Release of Atomic Energy from Uranium," in AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3032, Historical File, Special; Hewlett and Anderson, The New World, pp. 42-43.
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The Academy in World WarII I 423 On October 9, ~94~, the Academy committee, now numbering ten with the addition of Warren K. Lewis, physical chemist at MIT; Robert S. Mulliken, physicist at Chicago and authority on isotope separation; and George B. Kistiakowsky, explosives expert at Harvard, was asked for a third report, on the actual technical possi- bilities of obtaining an explosive fission reaction with U-~3s.~°9 His mind now made up, Bush that same day saw Vice-President Wallace and President Roosevelt and obtained their agreement to large-scale support of a program of research and planning that would determine whether a bomb could be made.ll° The preliminary draft of the report that Arthur Compton assem- bled on October ~6 for the coming meeting of the expanded commit- tee still "estimated chances of building successful fission bombs. . . only about even." It nevertheless called for acceleration of the research program and the planning of pilot and full-scale plants. Even though all forms of uranium should prove nonexplosive, the separation or even enrichment of U-~3s would in any case make a chain reaction more useful as a source of power. The committee that met ten days later, described by Bush to the President as including "some hard-boiled engineers in addition to some very distinguished physicists," was more positive. Knowing little other than the direction of effort in the British report (a privileged communication restricted to Bush and Conant), but motivated by the all-but-inevitable entry of this country into the war, the Academy committee turned its whole attention to the possibility of producing a weapon. Urged on by Lawrence, the gadfly who foresaw a substantial prospect of a chain reaction and the stakes as fantastically high, the committee on November 6 gave Bush the answer he wanted. Based on current theory and accumulated experimentation, "A fission bomb of superlatively destructive power will result from bringing quickly together a sufficient mass of element U235." If the entire program were reor- ganized and the engineering development of isotope separation achieved, U-~3s might be made available in the necessary quantities in three to four years. 109 Bush to Compton, October 9, 1941 (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3030, S-1 His- torical); Jewett to Ross G. Harrison, October 6, 1941 (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Com on Atomic Fission: Appointments). 110 The top policy group set up at that meeting comprised the President and Vice- President, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, Bush, and Conant. 'll Compton to members, NAS Uranium Committee, October 16, 1941, and "Prelimi- nary Draft of Report. . ." (AEc-OSRD files, Box 6162). 1~2 Lawrence to Compton, October 22, ~941 (NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Com on Atomic
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424 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) Two weeks later Bush had engineering and physics research groups at work assembling pilot plant design data. At a meeting of the President's top policy group on December ~ 6, it was agreed that when the time came the Army Corps of Engineers would take over erection and operation of the plants for reasons of security and because of the immensity of construction required. Furthermore, the Corps had high priority on available construction materials. The program was discussed at a critically important meeting on May 23, ~942, attended by Briggs, Eger V. Murphree, and Compton, Lawrence, and Urey, who headed crash programs to achieve uranium fission, uranium separation, and heavy-water production. They recommended that $85 million in contracts be placed before July I, ~ 943, for the construction of both the pilot plants and the large-scale production plants that would be needed. Bush and Conant forwarded the report to members of the top policy group and recommended that the Army undertake construction of the pilot plants. On June ~7, the President agreed to these proposals. In August Bush turned over the designs for pilot plant production of U-23s and plutonium to the Army engineers of the Manhattan District, code name for the agency that was to make the materials for the bomb. On December a, Enrico Fermi in his "laboratory" under the stands of the University of Chicago's Stagg Field, produced the first chain reaction in an atomic pile using unseparated uranium. The President signaled all speed on the pregame and contracts were let for full-scale plants at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In May ~943, when OSRD transferred the last of its contracts to the Manhattan District, all plant designs were frozen. With construction of the laboratory for the final assembly begun at Los Alamos under a University of California contract, the work of Briggs's uranium sec- Fission: General); "Report to the President of the National Academy of Sciences by the Academy Committee on Uranium," November 6, ~ 94 I, and Bush to Roosevelt, November 27, ~94~ (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3030, SO Historical). Compton's draft of October ~6 was much less confident than the second draft of October z6, on which the final report was based. It may be significant that at its meeting on October 21 the Academy committee heard Marcus L. E. Oliphant, Australian physicist then at the University of Birmingham and a member of the MAUD committee, discuss British progress [Minutes of Meeting of Advisory Committee . . . on Atomic Fission, October 2~, ~94~ (AEC Bush-Conant files, Box 3034A, Chubb)]. Oliphant had told Lawrence earlier, in August ~94~, something of the work and conclusions of the MAUD committee (Gowing, Britain and Atomic Energy, p. ~ ~6). ~~, Arthur H. Compton signaled Fermi's achievement of a chain reaction at Chicago in the telegraphed message: "The Italian navigator has just landed in the new world" (Compton, Atomic Quest, p. ~44).
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The Academy in World War II I 425 tion was finished. The remaining link between the OSRD and the huge production program was the Military Policy Committee, with Bush as Chairman and Conant as his deputy, to which the Army project would report.~4 The atomic bomb was two years and two months away. Meanwhile, from something close to a standing start, the nation had raised, equipped, trained, and dispatched overseas its first sizable fighting forces. The rapid development and application at sea of LOIN, radar, sonar, and infrared techniques had begun to reduce the German submarine menace; and as Bush noted in his third OSRD report to the President in the fall of ~943, the defensive phase had ended. This country went on the offensive with the landing on Guadalcanal in August ~94e, in North Africa that November, and the Allied invasion of Sicily in July ~943. By then a whole array of new weapons and equipment artillery and mortar shells and bombs with the proximity fuze, bomb-director mechanisms, new smoke devices, incendiaries and flamethrowers, a guided missile, new field radio equipment and radio direction finders, land vehicles and amphibious landing craft, and new medical equipment and supplies were in the last stages of development or already under procurement for the operations to come in the Pacific and in Europe.~5 The OSRD Office of Field Service As OSRD development went into high gear, Bush foresaw the time when scientists and engineers would have to go overseas with the new equipment to explain its operation, initiate training in its use, and assess its capabilities. He recognized that civilian status was necessary for these experts to give them access to all levels of the military, preclude their assignment to administrative duties, and ensure mobil- ity in the field. On October ~5, ~943, he announced the creation of a third element in OSRD, the Office of Field Service (OFS), whose members wore on their overseas uniforms shoulder patches with the '~4 Hewlett and Anderson, The New World, pp. 82-83. Of the thirteen-member group directing the uranium project in the Manhattan District, three in key positions had been National Research Fellows: Oppenheimer, Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory; Robert F. Bacher, in charge of the detonator assembly; and Kenneth T. Bainbridge, in charge of the bomb's detonation. Also in that group were seven other former Research Fellows: Compton, Lawrence, Allison, Jesse L. Beams, Gregory Breit, Edward U. Condon, and Henry DeWolf Smyth. ~5 Bush to the President, attached to "Report of the Director of the OSRD, September 2, ~943 (OSRD Box so).
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426 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) designation "Scientific Consultant." Karl T. Compton, back from a recent mission to London, became Chief of the Office of Field Service, and Alan T. Waterman, Yale physicist in NDRC, his deputy. The Office of Field Service ultimately numbered between four hundred and five hundred. Through that office, guided-missile ex- perts served as consultants to the Air Force in the European theater. Experts on underwater sound-ranging gear, for locating mines, as- sisted the Navy in the Mediterranean. Experts in communication systems and in radar and radio propagation went to the Southwest Pacific area, along with specialists in tropical deterioration of equip- ment and medical specialists in malaria and tropical skin diseases. Radar engineers helped adapt and install their new equipment for the Eighth Air Force and the Royal Air Force and sixteen radar countermeasure specialists were rushed to Britain to assist the Navy in the Normandy invasion. ~7 The first intelligence mission with attached scientists had followed American troops ashore during the invasion of Italy in the fall of ,943. The real interest of the mission, and its greatest concern, centered on the Nazi laboratories in France and Germany, where it hoped to learn the state of German development of a nuclear weapon. These were the primary targets of ' the ALSOS (Greek for "groves") mission, the joint Army-Navy task force with scientists from OSRD'S Office of Field Service. This group was organized for the Normandy operation at the insistence of Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, Director of the Manhattan District. It was headed by Academy member Samuel A. Goudsmit, nuclear physicist at the University of Michigan. Other specialists with the mission were to track down German developments in biological and chemical warfare, rockets and jet propulsion, proximity fuses, and radar. As the Allies approached Berlin, the last of the key German nuclear ~6 Baxter, Spends Against Time, pp. ~26, To- I. Waterman succeeded Compton as chief a year later when the latter became Director of the Pacific Branch of OSRD. Although OFS scientists retained their civilian status, they wore uniforms in the field. For several reasons, few scientists actually wore the shoulder patches. See Lincoln R. Thiesmeyer and John E. Burchard, Combat Scientists [OSRD, SCIENCE IN WORLD WAR II] (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., ~947), p. go. ~7 OFS teams arrived in Britain with the proximity fuze in the summer of ~944, for use against the German V- robot bomb. Although stored in the field that October, the fuzes were not released to American artillerymen, lest they fall into enemy hands, until December ~8, ~944, two days after the Battle of the Bulge began. They were first used in the Pacific for the bombardment of Iwo Jima in February ~945. The first American robot bomb or guided missile, the BAT, under NDRC development since late Age, saw service under OFS guidance in the last months of the Pacific war.
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The Academy in World War II I 427 physicists Heisenberg, Von Laue, Hahn, Gerlach, Bothe, Harteck, Diebner, Wirtz, van Weizsacker, Clusius- as well as their papers and documents, were located, and the failure of their atomic research was revealed. Owing as much to Hitler's distrust of scientists as to rivalries among the scientists themselves and their political sponsors, the German work on nuclear fission remained at about the same stage that had been reached here in ~g40.~8 On the other hand, German U-boat and torpedo development, armor, aircraft, and aeronautical research were of a high order, while their V-~ and V-z rockets at Peenemunde, and the totally unsus- pected series of nerve gases found in munition storage areas after the war, were admittedly technical and scientific triumphs. Much less dramatic were the findings of the A~sos-like contingent of scientific intelligence specialists that arrived in Japan immediately after V-} Day. Nowhere commensurate with earlier apprehensions were their discoveries of Japanese scientific accomplishments in weaponry, and their nuclear research had been limited to its possible development for industrial power.~9 By the autumn of ~944, the certain success of the Normandy invasion of June 6 set off the first wave of postwar planning. Even as Academy members arrived in France with the ALSOS mission, the Academy at home, in its role of learned society, began considering the restoration of amenities between the scientists of the Allied nations and the Axis powers. Establishment of relations with Japanese science began soon after the war; those with German science, as after World War I, were delayed. t~8 Samuel A. Goudsmit,Alsos (New York: Henry Schuman, ~947), pp. 7~, ~23, passim. See Goudsmit profile in The New Yorker (November 7 and ~4, ~943), and also, Boris T. Pash, The Alsos Mission (New York: Award House, ~969). 3~9 Thiesmeyer and Burchard, Combat Scientists, pp. ~ 62- ~ 8 I. coin October ~944, anticipating the end of the war, OSRD set up a publications committee consisting of Irvin Stewart, Conant (for NDRC), Richards (CMR), Compton (OFS), Tuve, lames P. Baxter, III, and Carroll L. Wilson to superintend the publication of OSRD research results in periodicals and monographs, prepare comprehensive histories of its divisions, and contract with Baxter for a one-volume history (Stewart, Organizing Scientific Research for War, pp. 290-295). 121 In the case of Japan, the Academy, at the request of the American military government, as well as of leading Japanese scientists and technologists, agreed to advise on the democratization and rehabilitation of their research institutions. It led to an Academy committee headed by Roger Adams that spent the summer of ~ 947 reviewing their facilities, plans, and prospects [NAS, Annual Report for 1943-44, pp. 30-3 ~ et seq.; NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Science Advisory Group on Science in Japan: ~946-~947; Science Advisory Group report, "Reorganization of Science and Technology in Japan," August 28, ~947 (NAS Archives: ibid.)]. (Continued overleap
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428 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) The leading spokesman for many in this country who were deter- mined that German science and the German nation must be forever rendered incapable of launching another world war was Henry Morgenthau, fir., Secretary of the Treasury and confidant of the President. Few supported Morgenthau's plan to reduce Germany to an agrarian nation, but opinion was almost unanimous on the neces- sity of controlling German science and industry in the future. At the insistence of Morgenthau, the President in September ~944 requested Leo T. Crowley, Chief of the Foreign Economic Adminis- tration (FEA), and the Secretaries of the War, Navy, and State Depart- ments to prepare recommendations for the "control of the war- making power of Germany." Their reports were to cover every aspect of German engineering and research bearing on implements of war and determine the conditions necessary to ensure control of her light-metals industry, of oil and petroleum, rubber products, radio and radar, steel and ferroalloys, chemicals, and strategic minerals. In February ~945, Crowley called on OSRD and NACA for technical assistance with the reports, in particular for the survey of Germany's engineering and research. Unlike gathering scientific intelligence for ALSOS, this sortie in postwar policy seemed to Bush outside the purview of OSRD, and he called on the Academy for the requested study of German research. The Academy report, prepared by a committee of eight under Roger Adams and concurred in by Bush for OSRD and Hunsaker for NACA, along with thirty-one other papers prepared for FEA'S Technical Industrial Disarmament Committee (TIDC), was quietly buried shortly after its appearance. The whole matter took on a different aspect as the consequences of the agreements made by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin at the Yalta In Germany Roger Adams joined Lt. Gen. Lucius Clay's staff briefly in November ~945 as scientific and technical adviser. The Academy, at the request of the War Department, assisted in securing Adams and, subsequently, MIT chemist George Scatchard as scientific advisers for the military governor. This mission was to advise on the proper handling of postwar German science and to obtain reports of wartime research for dissemination in the United States (NAS Archives: Jewett file so.~32sJ, Post-War Planning; NAS, Annual Report for 1945-46, p. 4). ~22 Crowley to Bush, February 6, ~945; Bush to jewett, March 6, ~945 (OSRD Box 4), and related correspondence in OSRD Box ~86. ~23 Jewett to Bush, March 30, ~945 (NAS Archives: Jewett file so.~32sJ); TIDC Project 3, Study of the National Academy of Sciences under the Auspices of the Of Ace of Scientific Research and Development and the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics in the Treatment of GERMAN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING from the Standpoint of International Security, 68 pp., July 2, ~945 (OSRD Box 4); NAS Archives: ORG: NAS: Committee on Postwar Treatment of German Science and Engineering: ~945.
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The Academy in World War II I 429 Conference in February ~945 became evident following the Potsdam meeting that summer. Threats from a new quarter were all too clear in the intransigence of the Russian delegates to the United Nations. The Allies, faced with Soviet expansion into war-wasted Eastern Europe, immediately saw the need for a revived and economically viable Germany as a buffer against the Communist advance. The decisions made at the Yalta Conference were to have profound and long-lasting effects on postwar American science. Planningfor Postwar Science In the early spring of ~ 945, with the end of the war in Europe in sight, Bush and Conant began discussing plans for transferring to the armed services those research contracts essential to the war against Japan, preliminary to the liquidation of OSRD. That agency would continue certain important engineering and medical research until the armed services, the Public Health Service, or other federal agen- cies assumed responsibility. All other work on war weapons and medicine—almost go percent of the OSRD program- would end.~24 From the outset Bush had declared NDRC (and later, OSRD) a temporary emergency agency intended only to devise new and im- proved weapons for the coming war. It had no postwar plans. Follow- ing a meeting of the OSRD Advisory Council on July 28, ~944, Bush sent letters to the Secretaries of War and Navy outlining a program for the termination or transfer of its research contracts, effective upon the collapse of Germany.~25 Looking back, Bush saw the accomplishments of OSRD during its 124 On December 3~, ~945, OSRD had over 2,5~5 contracts, with 5,700 supplements, three-fifths of the contracts through NDRC, more than one-fifth through CMR, and over loo for basic research in atomic energy. Including research projects originating in NDRC and CMR, OSRD carried out a total of ~,397 separate contracts with industrial and academic organizations, involving the expenditure for research of more than half a billion dollars, almost equally divided between the Army and the Navy (Stewart:, Organizing Scientific Research for War, pp. 322-323). ~25 On August 28, ~944, Bush presented his termination program to the President, two weeks later alerted the technical staff of OSRD, and on October 3 notified all OSRD contractors of the demobilization plans. On August ~6, ~945, ten days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Bush requested presidential approval to close out OSRD and release its investigators. Although the disposal of NDRC and CMR contracts was essentially completed that December, OSRD continued its staff operations, at the President's request, for two more years, until December ~947, while it awaited a successor agency ["Report to the President on the Activities of the OSRD, August 28,
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430 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (193~1947) ~ i~ ~ [, I ~ 1 ~ .~. ~_~ 1_~ a_ _ President Truman congratulates ten key scientists, January 20, ~947, for their work in the wartime Of rice of Scientific Research and Development. Left to right, seated: James B. Conant, President Truman, and Alfred N. Richards. Standing: Karl T. Compton, Lewis H. Weed, Vannevar Bush, Frank B. Jewett, l. C. Hunsaker, Roger Adams, A. Baird Hastings, and A. R. Dochez (Photograph courtesy Wide World Photos). four years as prodigious indeed, achieved in ways wholly unexpected at the inception of NDRC in 1940. He had intended his mobilization of scientists under NDRC to confine its efforts to fundamental research in weapons and materials of war. The engineering development and production would be the responsibility of the services and industry. The nature of the actual role NDRC and OSRD were to play did not become clear until the Tizard mission arrived, bringing the results of recent British research. Many of the new weapons and devices that the British had conceived were still in embryo; and their realization depended upon intensive developmental research before they could be engineered for production a task possible only in an organization like NDRC, with access to unlimited funds and to all the scientific and engineering resources and facilities of the United States. As Bush became aware that neither the armed services nor industry was equipped to take these new instrumentalities to a noint short of production and that a scientific organization of larger scope and authority must assume the responsibility, OSRD came into being. Its functions were not only to develop an array of weapons and ready ~944," p. so (OSRD Box so); Stewart, Organizing Scientific Researchfor War, pp. 299-30~, 3°4, 3~3, 3~5-3~6].
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The Academy in World War II I 431 them for mass production, but to assist in the selection and training of the officers and men who would use them, to supply scientists in the field to advise on their operation, and to appraise the performance of the new weapons ~26 The President of the Academy was to say that "basically, OSRD was the greatest industrial research organization the world has ever known."~27 It bequeathed to the nation a store of new technology probably unequalled in history, but by concentrating the country's scientific resources on these technological and military developments, the support of basic research had been neglected. As early as the spring of ~944, this consideration began to preoccupy both Bush and Jewett. The extraordinary machinery created by OSRD for the enlist- ment of science, and its unstinting support by Congress, must some- how be perpetuated after the war to restore the perilous imbalance. Bush has described the initiation of the effort: The whole program started when President Roosevelt toward the end of the war called on O.S.R.D. for a report and recommendation on postwar science. It was soon possible to gather together committees on various aspects of the problem, for the men who could contribute were already working together. It did not take five years to come to conclusions, as it sometimes does on such matters; it took only a few months, for there was an extraordinary consensus of opinion. The result was entitled Science the Endless Frontier. It called for heavy federal support of the scientific effort in the postwar scene.~29 Jewett was equally aware that the total involvement of the Academy and Research Council as advisory agencies of OSRD and participants in its operations had wrought a permanent change in the relation of the Academy to the federal government. Although he differed vigorously 126 Like the wartime developments in technology, "most, if not all, of the useful results [in medicine] were in no real sense discoveries, but developments of prior discoveries" [A. N. Richards, "The Impact of War on Medicine," Science 103:578 (May lo, ~946)]. 127 Testimony in Hearings on Science Legislation (S. 1297 and Related Bills), p. 429. See also the rationale in A. Hunter Dupree, "Central Scientific Organization in the United States Government," Minenua 1:46~ 165 (Summer ~963). 8 Jewett, "The Promise of Technology," Science 99:1-6 (January 7, ~944). On the almost complete stagnation of progress in fundamental science in that period, see testimony of Isaiah Bowman in Hearings on Science Legislation (S. 1297 and Related Bills), p. i2; Irving Langmuir, p. 25; Harlow Shapley, p. 49; F. R. Moulton, p. 80; Vannevar Bush, pp. 20~-202; J. Robert Oppenheimer, p. boo; A. N. Richards, p. 465; Detlev W. Bronk, pp. 56~-562; Henry DeW. Smyth, p. 646; Harold C. Urey, pp. 658-659; and Lee A. DuBridge, p. 829. 129 Bush, Pieces of the Action, p. 64; ]. M. England, "Dr. Bush Writes a Report: 'Science the Endless Frontier'," Science 191:41-47 (January 9, i976).
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432 / FRANK BALDWIN JEWETT (1939 - 1947) with Bush on the role of the government, nevertheless, he saw that the Academy could not, as after World War I, return exclusively to its high calling as learned society, receptive to occasional requests for its disinterested counsel in matters of science. The new world emerging called for the permanent mobilization of science, and, as ensuing events were soon to demonstrate, for its deep involvement in political, social, and moral questions as well.
Representative terms from entire chapter: