The National Nuclear Energy Series

The National Nuclear Energy Series (NNES) was originally planned in 1945 as a record of the research work done under the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission. When completed, the series was expected to consist of one hundred volumes, grouped into ten divisions.

My Story

It all started in June of 2000, when I was finishing up my collection of the MIT Radiation Laboratory Series, and my collection of Control Textbooks from the 1940's. I was in Arlington Books (which is no longer in Arlington, but is now on Milk Street in Boston) and I found a copy of "Electronics: Experimental Techniques" by Elmore and Sands for $7. What intrigued me most about the book wasn't the title (or the cost), although I do own quite a few old electrical engineering texts, but was the gold lettering on the spine that said "National Nuclear Energy Series V-1." Hmm, I thought, volume one of what? The title page spelled it out: "National Nuclear Energy Series, Manhattan Project Technical Section, Division V --- Los Alamos Project, Volume 1." Another series of books, published by a World War II research laboratory? I was hooked.

However, it has taken some research just to find a list of all the titles in the series. Unlike other McGraw-Hill Series that I have collected (such as the MIT Rad Lab Series, or the McGraw-Hill Electrical and Electronic Engineering Series from the 1940's and 1950's), there was no list of titles printed in each volume. I looked in a couple of library catalogs (such as MIT's) and only found a dozen titles, but numbered I-5, II-16 and IV-19B, so I knew there had to be more, many more, out there.

From the webpages of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, I was able to retrieve a list of thirty-seven volumes of the Series from their library catalog. Starting from the list of libraries at the Department of Energy website, I ended up going through the library catalogs at Brookhaven, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Argonne. After all of that, I had a list of fifty volumes. For good measure, I also went through the other libraries listed on the DOE page, including Sandia, Lawrence Berkeley, and Lawrence Livermore, but I did not find any additional volume titles.

However, in the Argonne Library, I found a reference for technical report TID-5103, entitled "Outline of declassified volumes in the National Nuclear Energy Series" published in 1953. I immediately requested the book via Inter-Library Loan, and during my conversation with the reference librarian, learned about There, I found a copy of a technical report entitled "Documents and related materials associated with the contents and the origin of the Los Alamos Technical Series and the National Nuclear Energy Series," by Edward Hammel from 1996. It was mostly about the (still classified) Los Alamo Technical Series, but it did contain an 1977 advertisement from Pergamon Press offering the (unclassfied) NNES volumes on microfilm.

After losing my Inter-Library Loan request once, and making me request it again, the library informed me that TID-5103 was not available. However, they did get me a copy of "The National Nuclear Energy Series: An Abridged Compilation" by Orlando-Gay, Brangan, and Wise, all at Sandia National Laboratories (May 1999). This report was exactly what I wanted.

The Series

All told, there are 62 unclassified volumes, 17 classified volumes, and 21 volumes that were proposed but never written. Of the unclassified volumes, McGraw-Hill published 29 of them (as 35 books) between 1948 and 1956. There are many gaps in the numbering sequence. Most of these "missing" volumes were classified "Secret" at the time (all but one volume of Division II is still classified; other Divisions have been declassified). The other volumes were published as technical reports by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. For more information, see the report by Orlando-Gay, Brangan, and Wise (SAND99-1114).

Division I --- Electromagnetic Separation Project

Volume I-1 (1949)
Author: Guthrie, Andrew and Wakerling, Raymond Kornelious
Title: Vacuum equipment and techniques
Volume I-5 (1949)
Author: Guthrie, Andrew and Wakering, R. K.
Title: The characteristics of electrical discharges in magnetic fields

Division II --- Gaseous Diffusion Project

Volume II-16 (1949)
Author: Benedict, Manson and Williams, Clarke.
Title: Engineering developments in the gaseous diffusion process

Division III --- Special Separations Project

Volume III-1B (1951)
Author: Cohen, Karl P.
Title: The theory of isotope separation as applied to the large-scale production of U235
Volume III-2 (1949)
Author: Dieke, Gerhard Heinrich and Duncan, Albert Benjamin Ford
Title: Spectroscopic properties of uranium compounds
Volume III-4A (1951)
Author: Kirshenbaum, Isidor
Title: Physical properties and analysis of heavy water
Volume III-4C (1949)
Author: Alice H. Kimball; edited by Harold C. Urey and Isidor Kirshenbaum.
Title: Bibliography of research on heavy hydrogen compounds
Volume III-4F (1955)
Author: Murphy, George Moseley
Title: Production of heavy water

Division IV --- Plutonium Project

Volume IV-8 (1954)
Author: George S. Monk and W. H. McCorkle.
Title: Optical instrumentation
Volume IV-9 (three books, 1951)
Author: Coryell, Charles Du Bois and Sugarman, Nathan
Title: Radiochemical studies: the fission products
Volume IV-14A (1954)
Author: Seaborg, Glenn Theodore and Katz, Joseph J.
Title: The actinide elements
Volume IV-14B (two books, 1949)
Author: Seaborg, Glenn Theodore
Title: The transuranium elements ; research papers
Volume IV-19B (1950)
Author: Quill, Laurence Larkin
Title: The chemistry and metallurgy of miscellaneous materials: thermodynamics.
Volume IV-20 (1951)
Author: Stone, Robert Spencer
Title: Industrial medicine on the Plutonium Project ; survey and collected papers.
Volume IV-22B (1954)
Author: Zirkle, Raymond E.
Title: Biological effects of external X and gamma radiation: Part I
Volume IV-22E (1951)
Author: Zirkle, Raymond E.
Title: Biological effects of external beta radiation.
Volume IV-22I (1948)
Author: William Bloom
Title: Histopathology of irradiation from external and internal sources
Volume IV-23 (1951)
Author: Albert Tannenbaum
Title: Toxicology of uranium : survey and collected papers

Division V --- Los Alamos Project

Volume V-1 (1949)
Author: Elmore, William C. and Sands, Matthew L.
Title: Electronics: experimental techniques
Volume V-2 (1949)
Author: Rossi, Bruno Benedetto
Title: Ionization chambers and counters: experimental techniques
Volume V-3 (1952)
Author: Graves, Alvin Cushman and Froman, Darol Kenneth
Title: Miscellaneous physical and chemical techniques of the Los Alamos project: experimental techniques

Division VI --- University of Rochester Project

Volume VI-1 (four parts: two books 1949, and two books 1953)
Author: Voegtlin, Carl and Hodge, Harold Carpenter
Title: Pharmacology and toxicology of uranium compounds
Volume VI-2 (1954)
Author: Blair, Henry Alexander
Title: Biological effects of external radiation.
Volume VI-3 (1950)
Author: Robert M. Fink
Title: Biological studies with polonium, radium, and plutonium

Division VII --- Materials Procurement Project

Volume VII-1 (1951)
Author: Slesser, Charles and Schram, Stuart R.
Title: Preparation, properties, and technology of fluorine and organic fluoro compounds
Volume VII-4 (1955)
Author: Lustman, Benjamin and Kerze, Frank
Title: The metallurgy of zirconium.

Division VIII --- Manhattan Project

Volume VIII-1 (1950)
Author: Rodden, Clement James
Title: Analytical chemistry of the Manhattan Project.
Volume VIII-5 (1951)
Author: Katz, Joseph J. and Rabinowitch, Eugene
Title: The chemistry of uranium: The element, its binary and related compounds
Volume VIII-8 (1956)
Author: Oughterson, Ashley W. and Warren, Shields
Title: Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan.


Volume IV-19C (1955)
Author: Quill, Laurence Larkin
Title: The chemistry and metallurgy of miscellaneous materials
Volume IV-22C (1956)
Author: Zirkle, Raymond E.
Title: Biological effects of external X and gamma radiation: Part II
The report by Orlando-Gay, Brangan, and Wise lists volumes IV-19C and IV-22C as being published by McGraw-Hill. I have found no evidence that they were.

This page has been accessed at least several times since October 2002.
Written July 2000 by Kent Lundberg.
Last updated: Wednesday, March 9 2005.