Teresa Wilhem Waldof visited the Ames Laboratory on April 14 as part of a trip to the Laboratory and Iowa State University to collect information and documents on her grandfather, Harley Wilhelm, former associate director of the Ames Laboratory. Waldof, who is from Rochester, Minn., is planning to write Wilhelm’s biography, which she says will be personality driven and will be focused on the boy who began his education in a country school in Ellston, Iowa, and rose to play a significant role in the development of atomic power through his work at the Ames Laboratory.
Among the items given Waldof during her visit were a copy of Harley’s booklet, “A History of Uranium Metal Production in America,” and a CD of “The Ames Project, 1942-1946,” a 1992 video produced by Public Affairs director Steve Karsjen that includes portions of an interview conducted with Wilhelm as part of the Laboratory’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the self-sustaining chain reaction experiment at the University of Chicago in 1942.
As a result of the uranium-purification process developed by “Ames Project” (precursor to the Ames Laboratory) scientists, two tons, or one-third of the purified uranium used in the chain-reaction experiment, came from Ames. Eventually, Ames Project scientists would produce 2 million pounds of purified uranium metal for the Manhattan Project.
Ames Laboratory will celebrate its 68th anniversary of the official founding of the Laboratory on May 17, 2015.