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Q & A: batteries for bombs?

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Most recent answer: 12/06/2011
Q:
This is more of a historical question originating from a family story. My father graduated from Indiana University in the 1930s with a Ph.D. in Electro-Chemistry. He was, at least for a while, an authority on electric storage batteries. By World War II, he was managing a Willard Electric Storage Battery factory in Cleveland where they were making automotive and submarine batteries. The family story is that periodically, he would be flown on secret trips,the nature of which were unknown to anyone in the family at the time. My mother subsequently hinted that she thought the trips were having to do with consulting on the battery design used in the atomic bomb. Unfortuantely, my father declined to talk much about his work during the war years. Both my mother and father have passed on many years ago. Is this story likely to have any truth to it? I do know that the WW II fission bombs did use batteries which were involved in detonation
- Jim Hatfield (age 64)
Fishers, IN
A:
I don't know, but it sounds plausible. Had I been asked this question a few years ago, I would have asked my father, who was at Los Alamos during the war. At this point I'm not sure whom to ask. Perhaps one of our readers would know.

Mike W.

(published on 12/06/2011)

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