Robert E. Sherman

Robert Sherman
  • BS Electrical Engineering 1944
When Robert Sherman heard he'd be working on the Manhattan Project, he thought, "Good. I'll be in New York City."

Michigan Tech alumnus Robert Sherman joined the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. He designed and built equipment used during the test of "the gadget" - the plutonium bomb detonated in 1945 over the New Mexico desert.

He got his orders while stationed in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in the US Army Signal Corps. It was 1944, and Sherman had just graduated from Michigan Tech in December 1943 with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

"One day, I was at the movies, and a sign appeared on the screen with my name, along with the names of a few other people, saying to report to the commanding officer."

He went to see the CO the next day. "I asked question after question, but nobody helped," Sherman remembers. Finally, he did extract the name of his new assignment, but much to his surprise, he was sent not to New York but to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, then to Santa Fe, New Mexico. "We were still in a cloud," Sherman recalls. "When we got off the train, we saw a big bus. We got on it, and went north and west, to a place called Los Alamos."

There, they learned that they would be serving in the Army Corps of Engineers, and that they would be part of the R&D team for completing work on the atomic bomb, under extremely secret conditions.

Those were exciting times for young men fresh out of college. "Most of us were young fellows with degrees in science or engineering," Sherman says, "and we were fortunate to be able to attend some secret meetings with very high-level personnel." read more at

Excerpted from Michigan Tech Magazine, Spring 2007