A March 19 community lecture will feature an author who has written about Oak Ridge women and the second world war.
Denise Kiernan is author of “The Girls of the Atomic City—the Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II.”
She will be the featured speaker during the Tuesday, March 19, lecture, which starts at 6 p.m. at the American Museum of Science and Energy. It’s part of the 16th Annual Dick Smyser Community Lecture Series.
The free talk is co-sponsored by Friends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. The lecture starts at 6 p.m., and a book signing begins at 7 p.m.
Copies of the book are available in the museum’s Discovery Shop.
The book is based on interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents, according to information from a press release and Kiernan’s publicist. Many of them are expected to attend the March 19 lecture.
Here is more information about “The Girls of the Atomic City,” from the press release:
Imagine boarding a bus or a train knowing that your destination was a total mystery. The only thing you’ve been told is that your work there will help end World War II, and that everything will be taken care of for you. This was the case for thousands of young women who were recruited by the U.S. government in 1943 to serve the top-secret Manhattan Project. They came from all across the East Coast and the South, from Alabama to Western Pennsylvania, from New Jersey to tiny towns like Clinton, Tenn.
It turned out their destination was “Site X,” or Oak Ridge, a secret city that appeared on no maps. The individuals who worked there, though they had no idea at the time, were enriching uranium for the first atomic bomb used in combat.
“The Girls of the Atomic City,” by Denise Kiernan, shares the never-before-told, true story of these remarkable, hardworking, determined young women and the crucial role they played in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. Kiernan explores the mysteries and inner workings of the Manhattan Project through the unique experiences of half a dozen young women who worked in a variety of roles, from secretaries, statisticians and nurses to janitorial staff, calutron cubicle operators, and chemists.
For many women, working in Oak Ridge was their first taste of independence, their first time away from home. Some had just finished high school, others had college degrees, but all were bound together by a shared spirit of survival, purpose, and sisterhood.
Kiernan’s deeply researched portrait of these unsung World War II workers is based on interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. The book also includes a 16-page photo insert with fascinating, evocative photos of daily life in Oak Ridge from Ed Westcott, the official U.S. government photographer during World War II.
AMSE is at 300 South Tulane Ave. in Oak Ridge.