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The Los Alamos Historical Society is pleased to announce the publication of “The Forgotten Physicist: Robert Bacher, 1905-2004” by Los Alamos National Laboratory historian Alan B. Carr.
The book describes the life and career of a man frequently mentioned in other books about the Manhattan Project but whose importance to that project and the atomic era has not been presented in depth until now.
During an interview in 1993, Hans Bethe described Bacher as “the most important person (at Los Alamos) next to Oppenheimer.”
The book presents the early years of Bacher's life in Ohio and continues through his education as a physicist at the University of Michigan and Harvard. His professional career began in 1934 in New York at Columbia, but he soon accepted a position at Cornell to join “one of the nation's burgeoning physics departments.”
There he met Hans Bethe and M. Stanley Livingston, and the three made strides in exploring the atom and nuclear research. With the approach of World War II, Bacher was recruited to work at the RadLab at MIT, which put him in a position to be noticed when the Manhattan Project was being developed. In 1943, he was recruited by J. Robert Oppenheimer to join the effort at Los Alamos.
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