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The Manhattan Project's 'Martians' Didn't Look Like America

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06.08.2021

The Manhattan Project didn't look like America. Undertaken today, it would be criticized for failing to meet diversity and inclusion guidelines.

Today's human resources department professionals would be triggered if they looked at the list of physicists hired to produce what President Franklin Roosevelt was told could be a uranium-based bomb "with a destructiveness vastly greater than anything now known." They would be astounded that the president, in his haste to develop such a weapon, as he put it, "before Hitler got it," authorized the hiring of scientists without any attempt to match the diversity of the American population.

They would have noted that Leo Szilard, who drafted the letter signed by Albert Einstein that alerted Roosevelt to uranium's potential, was born a Hungarian Jew and was educated in the Realiskola, one of Budapest's elite high schools. And that among the lead physicists at the Manhattan Project were three other Hungarian Jews from Budapest educated at a single school, the Fasori Evangelikus Gimnazium, in the years during and just after World War I -- Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann and Edward Teller.

Szilard even had the nerve to joke about their common origin. When asked why there was no evidence of intelligent extraterrestrials, he said,........

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