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Stamford Veteran And Army Physicist Recalls Involvement In ‘Manhattan Project’

  • July 30, 2019

The following article was written by M. K. Moynahan, and was published in The Mountain Eagle, in Stamford, New York, USA, on December 4, 2008.
(Photograph taken by Thomas Slatin.)

STAMFORD, NEW YORK – Few people know village of Stamford has a true connection to the past by virtue of one of its residents, Dr. Harvey Slatin.

In 1942, Slatin was tapped by J. Robert Oppenheimer to participate in the “Manhattan Project”.

With the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day approaching, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the contributions of this Army veteran and his recollections of the time and his involvement in the project.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese submarines and carrier-based planes attached the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, and inlet of the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

In all, 21 U.S. battleships and naval vessels were sunk, 200 American aircrafts were destroyed and approximately 3,000 American troops were killed or wounded.

Because of this, Slatin, who already had obtained two degrees: the first in physical science from Cornell University and the second a PhD in physics from Berkley, California, said he enlisted in the Army.

“Pearl Harbor was very sad,” he said, adding that he and countless other men and women were swept up into a patriotic tidal pool because of the attack.

Slatin explained he was one of 20 scientists at Los Alamos involved in the Manhattan Project and that his duties did not involve the actual design process or theories that garnered many involved Nobel Peace Prizes, Slatin’s role was in practical applications and actually building approved designs. The rest is history.

In July 1945, the first atomic explosion was conducted at Alamogordo, New Mexico, as a test. According to encyclopedias, the explosion was the equivalent to the detonation of 20,000 tons of TNT.

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first Atom Bomb on the Japanese City of Hiroshima. The bomb, “Little Boy”, killed about 70,000 people and then on August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped its second bomb, “Fat Boy” on Nagazaki, which killed approximately 40,000. Five days later, the Japanese surrendered.

After WWII, Slatin pursued the research and development of semiconductors, even acquiring several patents in his name.

At a youthful 93 years of age, Slatin still today operates a consulting business from his Stamford Village home, receives calls from clients across the country and remains involved in civic affairs. Several years ago, Dr. Slatin served as a Trustee on the Stamford Village Board. During this time he said he was actively pursuing alternate energy solutions for the town of Stamford, including wind energy, which Dr. Slatin said would be a good idea if the town were to reap the rewards. “The current proposal (Invenergy) would ship all the energy downstate,” he said. “How does that benefit us?”

While he has been married for more than 30 years to his second wife, Anne, the village mayor, Slatin recounts fondly his first wife, Yeffe Kimball, a Native American artist, who died after a brief battle with cancer during the 1970’s. Slatin’s home is filled with his late wife’s paintings, some abstract, and some cerebral spacescapes, all remarkable.

Kimball and Dr. Slatin never had children and he said that having children was something that had not occurred to him. He explained that Anne, several years his junior and creative in her own rights, was an ad executive when they began dating several decades ago.

After marriage, he said that she expressed a desire to have children. “I was 64 by then and thought, I was too old to have a child,” he said, adding that he decided to “why not” have children. A decision he said was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I have never seen another woman so beautiful as Anne was during and after she gave birth to our son Thomas. And there was no description for the way I felt when I first held my son in my arms.”

Who knew that Stamford Village is home to a national treasure and to a veteran, who contributed so much.

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24 Comments on Stamford Veteran And Army Physicist Recalls Involvement In ‘Manhattan Project’

  • Jeffrey Holmes says:
    September 4, 2019 at 5:55 PM

    I am, by nature, a cynical person who does not suffer fools gladly. At age 77 my list of heroes is short – one. Harvey Slatin.

    Reply

  • Debra Axelsen Hubbard says:
    July 31, 2019 at 10:15 PM

    Amazing person!

    Reply

  • Daphne says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:43 PM

    Every person would be overly proud if their dad was such a decorated veteran. Your dad is a true hero Thomas!

    Reply

  • Oliver says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:42 PM

    They say not all heroes wear caps. He is a true American hero!

    Reply

  • Patricia says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:41 PM

    This is true patriotism and valor that our young generation should strive to have. He has sure lived a fruitful life.

    Reply

  • Meg W says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:39 PM

    You must be very proud of your father. His story is very inspiring.

    Reply

  • Roy says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:38 PM

    What an amazing story this is. We truly owe it to our veterans.

    Reply

  • April Breisch says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:35 PM

    It’s apparent your Dad loved you so much!!!!

    Reply

  • Patricia Blanck-Hatch says:
    July 31, 2019 at 5:34 PM

    This was a wonderful article, Thomas. What a wonderful and loving man Harvey was. Just loved him. You are a lucky man to have had such a loving Father.

    Reply

  • brainedet says:
    July 31, 2019 at 2:12 PM

    Thomas slatin your father was really a great man and he did marvelously well while on Earth. I know his legacy will continue to live on.

    Reply

  • Oyeyipo Oladele says:
    July 31, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    I love this wonderful and great hero. He is my mentor from onset. Thanks for this your post.

    Reply

  • Danilel me says:
    July 31, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    He sound like a man who has really enjoyed his life and took every moment in a positive way. I guess it was a big decition to have a baby been 60 years old but he just proved that all is posible when teres a truly desire to do it.

    Reply

  • Obalade Damilola says:
    July 31, 2019 at 6:14 AM

    This is really sweet..your dad is indeed a great hero..I know you are really proud of him because you always show him off in your writings..nice one

    Reply

  • jolly555 says:
    July 31, 2019 at 2:26 AM

    I just like how you describe your father a daddy and a friend. These are rich combination. life is sometimes not just fair because most people can’t say this about their father.

    Reply

  • Segun OGUNYEMI says:
    July 31, 2019 at 2:22 AM

    What an incredible and wonderful being. Reasoning with his second wife for a children is something many husband’s lack today, I respect his opinion! Thanks for sharing Tomslatin!

    Reply

  • Lorikeith says:
    July 31, 2019 at 1:55 AM

    War, whatever may be the reason behind it, is not really a solution as to correct a wrong. The death and carnage it brings are just horrific. May we never see wars this big in our lifetime.

    Reply

  • miakayuuki2012 says:
    July 30, 2019 at 11:14 PM

    For someone like me who has not been born yet, hearing stories like this is cool although it tends to be a long discussion. It makes me appreciate those who came before me as they pave the way for the future we have now.

    Reply

  • Rita Leibowitz says:
    July 30, 2019 at 10:12 PM

    Loved him

    Reply

  • Melissa Goldengates says:
    July 30, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    I love his description of parenthood ♥️♥️♥️

    Reply

    • Thomas Slatin says:
      July 30, 2019 at 2:49 PM

      Thank you, Melissa! He was an amazing father, and later on in my life, an amazing friend!

      Reply

      • Melissa Goldengates says:
        July 30, 2019 at 4:34 PM

        Thomas W.P. Slatin he definitely sounds like an incredible human being ♥️ obviously an amazing role model!

        Reply

  • Dick Woodhouse says:
    July 30, 2019 at 9:25 AM

    Terrific repost! I still frequently think of your Dad and of what he gave to our country (Los Alamos) and to the world… and us – YOU! (With your Mother’s help, of course! Thanks, Annie!!)

    Reply

    • Thomas Slatin says:
      July 30, 2019 at 2:54 PM

      Thanks, Dick! My father taught me everything I know about life, especially Science, Engineering, and Photography.

      By the way, he recently got a Wikipedia article; maybe someday I will get one, too.

      en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_L._Slatin

      Reply

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