Manhattan Project pin
Small, circular lapel pin with nickel-plate brass back-clasp; face of pin depicts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers castle insignia with “MANHATTAN PROJECT / A BOMB”.
Victor Wouk (1919–2005) wore this award pin to indicate his wartime participation in the United States Manhattan Project—the top secret effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II (1941–45). Distributed from 1945 until 1950, silver participation pins were awarded to all individuals who had worked on the project for more than one year.
At the outbreak of World War II, Westinghouse tasked Wouk with conducting experiments using a patented vacuum to change electrical current. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approached Wouk to begin conducting secret research on uranium in an effort to understand how it reacted to electricity within the vacuum. These tests were considered so vital to the bomb’s development that the Army deferred his induction for the duration of the war. Wouk’s post-war career was devoted to the development of hybrid automobile technology.