Abstract: A snapshot of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos in 1945 reveals a leadership structure that is disproportionately of Jewish heritage; the division leader, deputy division leader, chief consultant, and six of the eight group leaders were “Jewish” by some definition of the term. Of the roughly 80 individuals in the division, four (all “Jewish”) would go on to become Nobel Laureates. These colorful individuals were unique characters, and their backgrounds and connections to Judaism were quite varied. This talk will explore members of this leadership team and speculate on the connection between their presence at Los Alamos and their Jewish roots.
For a sneak preview of the people Jack will be talking about and how he came to know about them, see Micaela Hester's article in @theBradbury commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day: https://www.lanl.gov/museum/news/newsletter/2021/4/manhattan-project-jewish-employees.php
Bio: Jack Shlachter is a physicist who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for over three decades before coming to Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2019. At Los Alamos, Jack proudly served as the division leader of Theoretical Division, an organization comprising over 300 scientists who pursue a broad range of research in theoretical physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. In his spare time, Jack is a rabbi; he was the rabbi and spiritual leader for the Jewish congregation in Los Alamos for many years, served a congregation in Santa Fe, and is now the rabbi in Center Moriches, NY. He has also provided itinerant rabbinic support to far-flung communities including Vienna, Austria, and Beijing, China.