We may not often hear stories of women’s roles during the Manhattan Project. One notable woman named Jane Puckett had a great influence on the future atomic bomb.
Women were not allowed to enroll in the engineering program at the University of Tennessee in the 1940s, so Jane graduated with a degree in business statistics.
Jane was also very accomplished athletically. She founded a Swim Club and even ended up in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 in the category of swim/dive.
Upon graduating, Jane was offered a position at the Y-12 laboratories in Oak Ridge of a mathematician-statistician. Jane’s top secret job was to collect data and create equations to separate uranium-235 from natural uranium.
Her statistical background allowed her to lead the production of the formula for uranium-235 separation, which was the fissile material for the “Little Boy,” an atomic bomb.
This was a major win for the creation of atomic bombs.
Learn more about Jane’s impact in the book titled, “The Girls of Atomic City” written by Denise Kiernan.