John H. Manley
John Manley was born in 1907 in Harvard, Illinois. He graduated with a BS from the University of Illinois in 1929 and received his PhD in physics from the University of Michigan five years later in 1934.
By the time World War II broke out, Manley was at the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory. In 1942, his friend and colleague, J. Robert Oppenheimer, held a meeting with several leading theorists at Berkeley University. The topic of the meeting: develop preliminary plans to design and build a nuclear weapon. Manley, one the attendees, was tasked with learning more about the properties of fast neutrons.
Less than a year later, the center of the project had shifted to Los Alamos. On April 4, 1943, Manley arrived at the laboratory. Manley spent his first days in Los Alamos working with other newcomers on the construction of laboratory buildings. He also installed a Cockroft-Walton accelerator, which he had brought with him from Chicago. Throughout the war Manley served as one of Oppenheimer's principal aides, making significant contributions to the project.
After the war, Manley left Los Alamos to serve as executive secretary of the general advisory committee for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), a federal agency charged with managing the nation's atomic assets. After leaving the AEC, he returned the Los Alamos as assistant director for research. From 1951 to 1957, Manley taught physics at the University of Washington. Again, he came back to the lab where he worked as a research advisor until his retirement in 1974.