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The story of the Iowa chemist who made the Manhattan Project possible

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

The Ames Project altered the course of the WWII and world history.

You may be hearing more about the Manhattan Project because of Christopher Nolan’s new film Oppenheimer. What you may not have heard is Iowa State University's important connection to the Manhattan Project.

Author Teresa Wilhelm Waldof shares the work of her grandfather, Harley Wilhelm, an Iowa chemist who was based in Ames. Wilhelm's large contributions to producing pure uranium moved the Manhattan Project forward. His work also lead to the creation of the Ames Project and Ames National Laboratory. Then Tom Lograsso from Ames National Laboratory joins the program to discuss the historical work, the current practices and ongoing work at the laboratory.


  • Teresa Wilhelm Waldof, author, Wilhelm’s Way: The Inspiring Story of the Iowa Chemist Who Saved the Manhattan Project
  • Tom Lograsso, director, Critical Materials Institute, Ames National Laboratory
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio