Minutes of the April 19, 2003 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR


President Tetrick called the meeting to order at 12:03. Chaplain Jim Washburn offered the invocation. The secretary led the pledge to the flag and the president the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Dwight Tetrick, Jack Bolen, Rod Stebbins, Marty Miller, Jim Washburn, Ed Neuguard, Fred Patton, Claude Richie, Bob Yarnell and Kevin Yarnell.


Welcome guests: Fimie Richie, Billie Washburn, Don Middleton- an applicant, June Bolen, June Patton, Janett Tetrick, Luke Loyd- soon to be reinstated as an SAR member, his wife Jeanne, nine cadets and their guests.


The president introduced the members and guests.


The SAR membership approved the minutes of the April meeting as published in the newsletter.


The secretary had no report.


The treasurer reported a current balance of $2,212.53.


The President reported that Rod Stebbins has been accepted into the SAR. He also reported on several other potential members and their status. The chapter was gratified by the success in increasing our membership. [Secretary’s note: The bulk of this effort is being done by Dwight and Janett Tetrick. I’m sure I join the membership in expressing our appreciation.]


There being no other business the meeting recessed for lunch.


President Tetrick called the meeting to order. He presented the SAR JROTC awards to the following outstanding cadets:

            Thomas Phelps, Brandon High School

            Jeremy McDonnell, Robinson High School

            Kevin Wright, Leto High School

            Joshua Gunderson, Bloomingdale High School

            Daniel Parra, Hillsborough High School

            Kenny Villarson, Wharton High School

            Precious Neal, King High School

            Kevin Bart, Freedom High School


Alicia True of King High School was presented a similar award from the Descendents of Valley Forge.


Kevin Yarnell then took the floor and gave a brief presentation entitled, “A Look at the Manhattan Project”. His stated purposes for the talk were 1. “In light of current events and the cyclical nature of history, there is a need to know the origins of nuclear weapons” and 2. “Everyone needs to know a little physics”


The converging of three unique discoveries ultimately led to the idea that a nuclear devise was possible. Compatriot Yarnell briefly discussed each. The first is the famous equation E=mc2. This formula of Einstein established a relationship between mass and energy and showed that one could conceivably be converted into the other.


The second was a violation of the old notion that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. This does not hold true in the nucleus of atoms where the mass of a nucleon (a proton or neutron) varies by whether it is in a large atom or a small one.


The third discovery was the splitting of the atom itself. This was first done in 1938 by two German scientist who where hoping to make a new element by bombarding uranium with neutrons. Instead they succeeded in breaking the uranium atom into two smaller atoms.


The combination of these three leads to the equation


Mass of a uranium atom = the mass of the pieces after it has been split + a release of energy


The energy comes from the missing mass. (E.g. that the sum of all the pieces has less mass than the original atom) That missing mass is converted into energy via Einstein’s equation.


Compatriot Yarnell then drew a simple diagram of a nuclear reaction showing how the splitting of one atom would in turn release more neutrons capable of splitting more atoms. The result is a geometric increase of the number of atoms split leading to a significant release of energy.


In 1939 Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt explaining the possibility of such a device. Shortly thereafter the Manhattan Project was begun. The audience was encouraged to consider the ethical issue evident at this point. “If we can make something, should we?” The speaker pointed out the relevance of this question in the present and offered cloning as a prime example.


The membership then learned of some of the significant engineering problems that needed to be overcome in order to construct the first bombs. Obtaining enough fissionable material was one challenge. Another was the actual construction of the device.


The last part of the presentation centered on the actual decision to use the bombs as a means to end WWII. The speaker cautioned the audience to base any judgments on the facts known to the participants at that time. He concluded with a brief summary of the key points of the talk.


A brief discussion followed.


Claude Richie won the 50/50 drawing. He graciously donated his share to the chapter. Thus the treasury was enriched by $13.00.


President Tetrick led the recessional and Chaplain Washburn benediction. The meeting adjourned at 1:45 pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary