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.

(Visited 192 times, 1 visits today)