Science: War Hero

Dr. Eugene Gardner, a brilliant young nuclear physicist, was working in 1942 at Berkeley, Calif, with the Manhattan (atom bomb) Project. His secret work required him to drill a hole in an electrode made of beryllium oxide. Out of the hole a fine dust rose, and 29-year-old Gardner inhaled it. He did not know, nor did anyone know at the time, that the beryllium in the dust was a slow, implacable poison.

All through the critical years of the bomb project, Gardner worked at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos. As one colleague put it, his brain was "one of the nation's great...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!