Dr. Marshall Holloway, a graduate of Cornell University, played an important role in the development of the atomic bomb. After leaving Cornell in 1942, he went to work for Purdue University. The pioneering thermonuclear research he performed there resulted in an invitation to join Project Y. The team designed and built a water boiler, which was used to confirm the theoretical principals involved in producing a self-sustained chain reaction.
In 1944, Holloway helped measure the critical mass of various combinations of enriched uranium and reflector materials (later, he conducted similar measurements on plutonium). This work enabled him to design the nuclear components for the "Fat Man" bomb, which was tested at the Trinity Site in 1945.
In 1951, Los Alamos Director Norris Bradbury charged Holloway with testing the world's first thermonuclear bomb. A non-deliverable prototype, "Mike," was successfully detonated one year later at Enewetak atoll in the central Pacific. The device produced a yield approximately 1000 times that of the first atomic bomb. Holloway and his Los Alamos colleagues spent the next several years refining and testing hydrogen bombs.
In 1955, Holloway became the director of the Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Holloway then transferred to ACE Industries, where he led the Nuclear Products-Erco Division, which developed nuclear reactors. From 1967 to 1969, he worked for the Budd Company in Philadelphia. He retired to Jupiter, Florida in 1969.