Honors Projects


Colleen Coyne


The Manhattan Project, which was ultimately responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb, provided previously scarce opportunities for female scientists to contribute to a large government/military research project. Although women found positions in the Manhattan Project more easily than previous or other projects, the work conducted by those women was largely perceived as having reduced significance than similar work being conducted by male scientists. In the male dominated culture, women were once again subjugated to the sidelines despite the significant contributions made by female scientists. In general, the opportunities for scientists to inform political and public policy was limited at the time, but women faced additional obstacles due to their sex. In the telling of the history of the Manhattan Project, women have been relegated to the sidelines. This essay will examine the role of female scientists, specifically physicists, in the Manhattan Project and their ability to inform policy as limited by their sex and argue that despite facing many obstacles, female scientists were able to make valuable contributions to the Manhattan Project that contributed to the overall success of the project.


Political Science

First Advisor

Walter Grunden

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Marc Simon

Second Advisor Department

Political Science

Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2013