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The Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. The official code name for the program was the Development of Substitute Materials, but the Army component of the project was titled the Manhattan District. The Manhattan part of the title eventually superseded the official code name. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. It began developing atomic technology in 1939.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Office of Scientific Research and Development in 1941, with Vannevar Bush as its director. After a meeting between Roosevelt and his Vice President, along with Vannevar Bush, the president approved the atomic program.
The atomic program was overseen under the auspices of the United States Army from 1942 to 1946, led by Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory that designed the actual bombs.
Once the United States Army became involved, the program grew rapidly in staff. It eventually employed 130,000 people and had a total cost of nearly two billion dollars.
One of the scientists hired to work on the project was Doc Brown, who was hired in 1943, during his tenure as a professor at the California Institute of Technology. Doc had managed to convince Robert Millikan, the president of Caltech, to arrange an interview with Groves and Bush. Despite a disastrous interview, he was awarded the position.
His part in developing the nuclear bomb, and in bringing in the nuclear arms race of the decades long Cold War that began after World War II ended, haunted Doc for decades.
Behind the Scenes
- Robert Zemeckis told fans for years that he believed that Doc had worked for the Manhattan Project as a young man. When IDW Publishing began their Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines comic series that adapted Bob Gale's story ideas into comic stories, the story of Doc joining the Manhattan Project became part of the very first issue.
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines 1
- Looking for a Few Good Scientists (First mentioned)
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines 2
- The Doc Who Never Was (Mentioned only)