Theodore Rockwell

"This is a wonderful account of the complex experiences of a thoroughly dedicated nuclear engineer. He both saw and experienced much as a committed participant at an important intermediate level at Oak Ridge. He relates his story with a freshness that brings back many memories to those of us who were also engaged in the enterprise in our own way. His saga makes it seem as though it had all happened yesterday."
DR. FREDERICK SEITZ, President Emeritus, The Rockefeller University
Past President, National Academy of Sciences

Wonders were foreseen as we entered the Atomic Age

But mud presented a formidable obstacle to getting there

"a unique contribution...I don't know of any other book that covers the same ground--which was ground zero for the evolution of this important and controversial technology... It doesn't hurt that you're an engaging storyteller and that you were present at the creation."
RICHARD RHODES, Independent journalist and historian,
author of 18 books, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, a National Book Critics Circle Award, a History of Science Society Award, and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

All cars were checked entering or leaving Oak Ridge

"[Rockwell’s] prose disproves the prevalent belief that no engineer can write. The sentences flow gracefully, with a feel for the rhythm of English that many who make a profession of writing would envy."
CONNIE BUCHANAN, free-lance editor,
Editor of Tom Clancy's "Hunt for Red October."

Oak Ridge housing springs up

"Ted Rockwell has summed up more than a half-century of personal experiences as a pioneer in the nuclear age. His observations are poignant lenses on the key people and events that kindled and then nurtured the nuclear genies of electrical power, nuclear medicine, radioisotopes in research and medicine in industry, and weapons. His book is an important gift to this and coming generations."
DR. JOHN H. GIBBONS, President's Assistant for Sci & Techn'y (1993-98)
Director, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (1980-93)

Operators at the Y-12 plant enhancing the fissionable uranium isotope

Shippingport: The world's first commercial atomic power station

"Ted Rockwell's engaging style and compelling first-hand account give readers of "Creating the New World" an invaluable perspective on the Manhattan Project and its aftermath. Through his stories, we realize that making the world's first atomic bomb was not an impersonal and abstract experience. Ted gives us a glimpse into the emotional and cultural realities of the Manhattan Project where the participants were driven to win the war for the Allies, working six days, 54 hours per week, simultaneously bewildered and inspired by the enormity of the undertaking. Ted's extraordinary gifts--as a scientist and raconteur--make "Creating the New World" a uniquely insightful and entertaining contribution to the literature on the Manhattan Project."
CYNTHIA C. KELLY, President, Atomic Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC

Creating the New World: Stories & Images from the Dawn of the Atomic Age


Available in both hardback and paperback

Over 50 figures, including rare contemporary photos

“The Italian Navigator has landed in The New World,” said Compton.
”How were the natives?” asked Conant.
”Very friendly.”
Using wartime code, Nobel laureate A.H. Compton telephoned Harvard President James Conant that Enrico Fermi had demonstrated the world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction.

Oak Ridge appears on the public screen


On December 2, 1942, the brilliant Italian physicist Enrico Fermi and his colleagues discovered and awakened the nuclear dragon—the primordial energy that binds the atom together and lights the sun and all the stars. Dr. Crawford Greenewalt, Chairman of DuPont and a witness to that historic event, agreed to accept President Roosevelt’s challenge to help fashion a harness for the fearsome beast, putting some of DuPont’s best onto the project, for cost and a one-dollar profit. And by December 1943, Westinghouse, General Electric, Stone & Webster, Tennessee Eastman, Union Carbide and other engineering giants were already erecting mammoth structures across the verdant Smoky Mountains. That’s when I first went down to the new and secret city, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to join in the engineering effort to convert the physicist’s dream to a decisive weapon and an energy source to fuel The New World.

Theodore Rockwell

The Manhattan Project mission was made clear

“Stories and Images” born out of the sixty-year old Atomic Age are generally found in the form of bits and pieces of material filed around the world in safes, closets, media files, libraries, museums, congressional records, scientific minds, and in every conceivable type of storage bin imaginable. But Ted Rockwell takes many of these disaggregated fragments and welds them together in a fascinating history that all Americans can read, understand, and enjoy. A gifted scientist, engineer, visionary, and author, Ted has been a front-line player throughout this Age – eminently qualified to tell us the true story and set the images straight.”
Admiral JAMES D. WATKINS, USN (ret), Presidential Advisor
Chief of Naval Operations, 1982-86; Secretary of Energy, 1989-93.

Tentative Table of Contents

Foreword by the late Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg
Nobel laureate; presidential advisor; discoverer of plutonium, Chairman, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; professor and Chancellor, UCal; Chairman, Science Talent Search.


1. Nuclear Genesis:
Facing the Beast…“Oak Ridge Attacks Japanese”…The Threat and the Promise…Mud and Dust on the Frontier…Life Inside the Fence

2. The Manhattan Project Mystique
The Prophesy…Working for the Manhattan Project…African-Americans at Oak Ridge… The Great Silver Caper…The Y-12 Process…Transferring to the Lab…Oak Ridge at fifty

3. Getting the Atom Away from the Army
The Two-Edged Atomic Sword…“No Secret, No Defense”…The Quixotic Lobbyists… The League of Frightened Men…The McMahon Act…The Atomic Energy Commission… The International Atomic Energy Authority

4. Fighting the Red Hunters
The Un-American Activities Committee Report…“They Call it Security”…“They’ve Taken My Badge”…J.Parnell Thomas Gets His Comeuppance…Getting Beyond the Bomb

5. From Science to Technology
Admiral Rickover at Oak Ridge…The Difference Between Science and Engineering… Creating a Platform…The Radiation Shielding Conference…Life With Rickover…
The Role of Engineering Paperwork

6. Radiation, People, and the Good Earth
Fear of Radiation…Thinking With Numbers…Powers of Ten…Radiation Standards… Shielding the Submarine in the Desert…From Concept to Design…Testing the Results

7. The Great LNT Scandal
Effects of Radiation on People…Beneficial Effects of Radiation…Natural Radiation Levels…Is Radiation Essential to Life?…Discrepancy between Data and Policy… Challenging the Policy…Suing the EPA…Why Is This Important?

8. Going Civilian—Declassification and Public Participation
Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace…Declassification and Publication…Creating Zirconium and Hafnium Industries…Safety Hearings…Breaking the Vicious Circle…The Public vs. the Expert…Facts, Opinions and Judgments…Starting MPR

9. Setting Up Procedures to Evaluate Public Safety—from Scratch
Talking With the Public…Setting Safety Standards…Bringing in the Public Health Service…The Nature of Safety…Some Regulatory Nightmares…The Reactor Plant Design Process…Role of Economics and Politics…Risk Evaluation…Truth vs. Reality…Handling Radioactive Wastes…Nuclear Proliferation…Effects of Not Recycling Fuel…Putting a Price on Life…Basics of Statistics…Chernobyl

10. Learning from Three Mile Island
The Humbling Experience…Chronology of the Event…The Iodide Caper and the Explosion that Wasn’t…Impact of the Accident…Changes Made…Hostages of Each Other…Is Nuclear Power Too Dangerous to Use?…The Most Important Fact About Nuclear Safety

11. The Environmentalist
Cleaning Up the Waterways…Chairing the Water Control Board…The Notorious Georgetown Gap…The Environmentalist’s Day Job

12. The Other Ninety Percent
The 50th Anniversary Party…Nuclear Medicine…Industrial Uses of the Atom… Consumer Products…Research…Agriculture

13. Bulldozing the Garden of Eden
The Cultural Chasm…To Engineer is Human…The Myth of the Riskless Society… Lingo: a Flimsy Barrier…Some Concepts to Learn…The Tannen Effect…The Technological Imperative…The Scarcity Bogeyman…Restricting Energy Use… Suggestions for Technologists…Has Science Killed God?…Different Ways of Knowing…Discussing Risk

Discussing atomic energy with Socrates


* * * * * * * * *


"presents in vivid, human terms many of the young scientists and engineers who first harnessed this primal force, and the extraordinary times and environment in which they worked and enlightening and fascinating account."
From the Foreword by the late Dr.GLENN T. SEABORG, Nobel Laureate,
Co-discoverer of plutonium, Presidential Advisor,
Chairman, US Atomic Energy Commission, 1961-71
Chairman-Emeritus, National Science Talent Search

"A very important, well-written, and easily read book. Ted Rockwell's part in the development of atomic energy began during the Manhattan project and continues to the present day. With this background he sharply challenges many assumptions that restrict the development of nuclear power and the beneficial uses of radiation."
DR. FRANK DUNCAN, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission historian,
author of the award-winning "Rickover and the Nuclear Navy" and “Rickover: Struggle for Excellence.”

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