March 15-18: WSU Tri-Cities to host conference on legacies of Manhattan Project

March 15-18: WSU Tri-Cities to host conference on legacies of Manhattan Project

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities will host a conference detailing the global impact of the Manhattan Project over the last 75 years March 15-18 at the Red Lion Hanford House in Richland.

The conference, titled “Legacies of the Manhattan Project: Reflections on 75 Years of a Nuclear World,” will welcome a range of guest speakers from across the country, including individuals from the National Park Service, historians and community activists from each of the three Manhattan Project National Historical Park sites (Hanford, Wash., Los Alamos, N.M., and Oak Ridge, Tenn.), as well as historians, scientists, engineers and other experts who have been instrumental to the site’s study, production efforts, clean-up and nuclear research.

Many events are free and open to the public. For more information, including the full conference schedule, or to register, contact Jillian at 509-372-7447 or visit

“After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world would never be, could never be, the same again,”said Michael Mays, WSU Tri-Cities Hanford History Project director. “Yet only now, nearly 75 years later, are we really beginning to understand the cataclysmic impacts of that seminal event.”

“With the ongoing declassification of governmental records, increased access to historical archives, and the recent creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, it is an opportune time for a historical reconsideration of the key roles, decisions, outcomes and effects of this critical moment in history,” he said.

Some major themes of the conference include:

  • Environmental legacies of nuclear materials production
  • The politics of science, national security and the state
  • Atomic diplomacy and the Cold War
  • The Manhattan Project National Historical Park: Memory, commemoration and the challenges of public history
  • The Manhattan Project in popular culture
  • Diversity and difference: The contested spaces of the Manhattan Project and Cold War

Keynote speakers for the conference include author and filmmaker Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation, Command and Control); Kathleen Flenniken, Washington State Poet Laureate and one-time Hanford engineer; and Una Gilmartin, structural engineer and historical preservationist whose projects include the restoration of the Washington Monument and Hanford’s White Bluffs Bank.

In addition to panel presentations, keynote addresses and a Saturday evening screening of Schlosser’s documentary film “Command and Control” at the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, the conference will also offer tours of the Hanford site and of the Hanford History Project repository — home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Hanford Collection,” which includes primary documents, photos, films and digital materials.