I know that thousands of people worked on the Manhattan project during World War 2 to create the atomic bomb, but I was wondering if anyone knew about specific jobs that people had. Obviously there were a lot of scientists, mathematics, and researchers on the job, but what specifically did they do? Were there any other jobs that people had that wouldn't be obvious?

  • A complete answer will have book-length. As there are many books addressing the details, I vote for closing this question.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 23:05
  • Well, Kattie Strickland was a janitor at Oak Ridge. That's one down, 130,000 to go. :)
    – AlaskaRon
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


Here is the org chart.

People had all kinds of jobs. One of the interesting thing about engineering before the digital age is that there were whole divisions of workers making graphs and visualizations, and doing calculations. What we would today use a spreadsheet software for, used to be done by hand by dedicated employees.

Here is a database of everyone on the project.

The project required creation of an entire town, with doctors, entertainment, personal services, etc. There were also foreign spies.

CEW and HEW accommodation in houses and dormitories was basic, with coal rather than oil or electric furnaces. But it was of a higher standard than Groves would have liked, and was better than at Los Alamos.[16] Medical care was provided by Army doctors and hospitals, with civilians paying $2.50 per month ($5 for families) to the medical insurance fund. [17]

The architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) was contracted to provide a layout for the town and house designs.[23] SOM Partner John O. Merrill moved to Tennessee to take charge of designing the secret buildings at Oak Ridge.[24] He directed the creation of a town,[25] which soon had 300 miles (480 km) of roads, 55 miles (89 km) of railroad track, ten schools, seven theaters, 17 restaurants and cafeterias, and 13 supermarkets. A library with 9,400 books, a symphony orchestra, sporting facilities, church services for 17 denominations, and a Fuller Brush Company salesman served the new city and its 75,000 residents.[26] No airport was built, however, for security reasons.[21] Prefabricated modular homes, apartments, and dormitories, many made from cemesto (bonded cement and asbestos) panels, were quickly erected. Streets were laid out in the manner of a "planned community".

More info:

The work force employed for the project was so huge that a special intelligence corps was set up to handle the security issues. Lie detection test became a normal practice just like the screening tests. In the areas of Oak Ridge, they inspected the coffins too.

There was also a public relations division, which waited until Hiroshima to send out press releases.

  • 5
    There were also foreign spies. Were the foreign spies in the organization chart? Wow, that was an amazing feat of organization. :-D
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 0:33
  • It's a job that wouldn't be obvious.
    – D J Sims
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 0:52

Well, Kattie Strickland was a janitor at Oak Ridge. That's one down, 130,000 to go. :)

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