The Heritage Series

This rich collection features little-known stories from employees, passed down through generations

April 26, 2023

Heritage Series Opt
Lab employees William Penney, Beatrice Langer, Emil Konopinski and Lawrence Langer in a De Luxe Ford in the 1940s. During World War II top scientists gathered in Los Alamos to contribute to the Manhattan Project — a secret wartime effort to develop the world’s first atomic weapons.

Our Laboratory was established in 1943 as Project Y of the Manhattan Project for one purpose: To design and build an atomic bomb to help end World War II. Today’s work — of a much broader scope — is still based on the need to solve national security challenges.

To commemorate Los Alamos National Laboratory’s 80th anniversary, the Public Affairs Office and the Lab’s National Security Research Center have produced this special magazine.

Public Affairs staff launched a project called the Heritage Series in 2018 to honor the Lab’s 75th anniversary. What began as a call for employees to share anecdotes about relatives who contributed to the Lab’s legacy resulted in a surprisingly rich collection of little-known histories.

Working closely with Lab historians and digging into archives, Public Affairs staff did its best to authenticate and illustrate oral histories passed down through generations of Lab workers (but some details could not be verified, like Einstein’s visit to Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project — see this story). These fascinating, forgotten stories are collected in this special publication, and some stories have been updated with further research since they were first released in the Lab's employee newsletter.

Although this anniversary publication is intended to preserve the Heritage Series stories, we hope it also will inspire others to collect Lab histories from their families and share them. Here’s where you can find tips to help you begin your research.