Moderately humorous

One of the more interesting pioneers was Sam Untermyer (Samuel Untermyer, III) who, together with Walter Zinn, invented the Boiling Water Reactor, helped General Electric develop and launch it, and then kind of faded away. I found 62 pages of interview transcripts mysteriously dated August 1965, with no context or interviewer details. The interview is frank and fascinating. Here he is, describing how an IT boffin simulated a BWR and told Untermyer, erroneously, that it could never work.

Untermyer interview

We did have people working on very early computers. They made computer runs, and analog runs on this exact topic, and people are still making them. I can remember that I just returned from the first successful power operation of BORAX. And a fellow greeted me who knew I was interested in this, and he said: “You know Sam, I have some rather bad news for you. We’ve made our first computer run on this subject, and we certainly demonstrated the operation of BORAX will be extremely unstable.” So at least that was moderately humorous. It wasn’t unstable, it was a stable operation.

Untermyer, Samuel. 1965. Comments from Untermyer (August 1965). “Transcripts, Set 1, Vol. 2,” Box 1, Information Division, Sound Recording Files, 1952-1968, RG 326. NARA-GL, Chicago, Illinois, pp. 28-29.