People & Events|
In 1942 General Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, the name given to the top-secret U.S. atomic bomb program, began looking for a suitable site for a new weapons laboratory. He wanted a location that was at least 200 miles from either the Mexican or Canadian borders; that was west of the Mississippi river; that had a good supply of water; a temperate climate; and that was easily accessible. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the project, recommended the site of a boys' school in New Mexico that he had visited as a young man. The Los Alamos Ranch School was located about 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe. The Manhattan Project acquired the school and construction of the new laboratory began almost immediately.