The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb

Part II: Early Government Support

The Uranium Committee

President Roosevelt responded to the call for government support of uranium research quickly but cautiously. He appointed Lyman J. Briggs, director of the National Bureau of Standards, head of the Advisory Committee on Uranium, which met for the first time on October 21, 1939. The committee, including both civilian and military representation, was to coordinate its activities with Sachs and look into the current state of research on uranium to recommend an appropriate role for the federal government. In early 1940 the Uranium Committee recommended that the government fund limited research on isotope separation as well as Fermi's and Szilard's work on chain reactions at Columbia.

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