Donald Hornig was a year out of graduate school when he received a mysterious job offer. No one would even tell him what or even where the job was, so he declined – until the President of Harvard University called and convinced him to take it.
Soon after, Hornig bought an old car and headed for Los Alamos, New Mexico. He would become one of the youngest leaders of the team that developed the first atomic bomb and the last surviving witness of the detonation on July 16, 1945.
Born in Milwaukee, Hornig “was the first in his family to go to college,” said the Associated Press. He studied physical chemistry at Harvard, earning his Doctorate in 1943. In Los Alamos, the head of the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer, gave him the job of developing the firing unit that triggered the…
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