Lloyd A. Quarterman (May 31, 1918 – August 1982) was an African American chemist working mainly with fluorine. During the Second World War he worked on the Manhattan Project.
Life and career
Born on February 21, 1918, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1943.
After earning his degree, Quarterman was hired to work on the Manhattan Project. As one of the few African Americans to work on the Manhattan Project, Quarterman was chiefly responsible for the design and construction of a special distillation system for purifying large quantities of hydrogen fluoride. This hydrogen fluoride would be used to separate the Uranium isotope U-235 for the construction of the atomic bombs. The U-235 that Quarterman helped accumulate was used to make Little Boy, the uranium bomb that was exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
After the war, Quarterman worked at the then newly established Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois. At Argonne, Quarterman was an assistant to the associate research scientist and chemist from 1943 to 1949. He assisted with the first nuclear reactor for atomic-powered submarines.