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It’s a little known fact locally that seven individuals from Dexter, Missouri, worked on the atomic bomb during World War II.
Dubbed “The Manhattan Project,” a group of scientists including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi and many others set out in the mid 1940s to develop the world’s first nuclear weapon. Even Albert Einstein worked on the project.
In the summer of 1943, scientists organizing The Manhattan Project began contacting universities across the country, checking into physics students who showed promise. One such school was Southeast Missouri State Teacher’s College —now Southeast Missouri State University.
Ralph Nobles and Keaton Keller, both of Dexter, shared a dorm room together that year. Nobles was recommended by a professor, and he got his brother and Keaton Keller in on the job as well.
Keller was going to work in the chemistry portion of The Manhattan Project. He then was instrumental in securing a position in the project for his brother, Edward “Bud” Keller.
Bud Keller was in Dexter recently and shared memories from his time in Los Alamos helping to construct the atomic bomb.
When he first learned of his coming job, he went for a physical thinking he was just joining the military. He didn’t realize there was much more in his future.
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