Author-to-be researches father’s role in Manhattan Project

As a child, Connie Glass never was allowed to know what her father did, but as an adult she has taken the journey to uncover his life – and his work during the Manhattan Project.

“I’ve been researching his life over the past 20 years,” Glass said.

She compiled her research into a manuscript about her father, his career and her family.

Donald Frank Musser is a Columbian High School graduate. He worked as an analytical chemist and was transferred to Nevada to the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge in 1944, serving as a supervisor in the analytical chemistry department.

“As a child, I had known Oak Ridge was the Atomic City, but it wasn’t until I was older that I really knew what my father did,” Glass said.

Musser went on to work with the Atomic Energy Commission and later served as a diplomat in the State Department. He also was a consultant for the AEC on loan to the Geneva Convention.

Glass said her father contributed to the ideals behind non-weapon uses for fissionable material; peaceful uses such as nuclear power plants.

She said her father worked on creating safeguards for these materials.

In a letter from her father, Glass said he wrote, “I hope we can continue to collaborate with other nations.”

“He only spoke to what he knew and wanted to work together with other countries to find out what they knew to better collaborate,” she said.

Glass said her father was involved in “a dance, an ugly one.”

In 1960, a CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace, which ended talks between the Soviet Union and other nations, she said.

“Everything started to get muddy,” Glass said. “There had been a lot of progress made and at that time, we did not look good.”

Following Musser’s return, his previous position needed to be filled, so he was employed. He later went on to work on work in seismology, cloud gaps, aviation and inspection.

“My father was the type of man who said what he meant and meant what he said,” she said. “He did not like the dance, it wasn’t for him.”

What most impressed Glass about her father was that he only had a high school diploma. Many of the staff he served over had more education than he did, she said.

“On his resume, my father said he was mentored by ‘world-renowned chemists’ and, after checking, they were world-renowned,” Glass said. “My father had an insatiable quest for knowledge and loved learning and studying more.

“He was just an ordinary guy who trimmed the hedges and polished our shoes on weekends, but him being ordinary with all that he did made him extraordinary.”

Glass said she started researching her father’s work because she always knew him has her father, but wanted to get to know him as a professional.

“I owed it to myself to know who he was,” she said. “The more I learned, the more I wanted my family to know and the more I wanted America to know. This is an American story.”

Glass said she hopes to have the book released by the end of the year.

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