- U.S. History. the unofficial designation for the U.S. War Department's secret program, organized in 1942, to explore the isolation of radioactive isotopes and the production of an atomic bomb: initial research was conducted at Columbia University in Manhattan.
Origin of Manhattan Project
- (during World War II) the code name for the secret US project set up in 1942 to develop an atomic bomb
The code name for the effort to develop atomic bombs (see also atomic bomb) for the United States during World War II. The first controlled nuclear reaction took place in Chicago in 1942, and by 1945, bombs had been manufactured that used this chain reaction to produce great explosive force. The project was carried out in enormous secrecy. After a test explosion in July 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (see also Hiroshima) and Nagasaki.