Robert W. Henderson who was given a technical achievement award for developing lighting equipment for use in moviemaking, gave up his film career to work on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, NM during World War II .
Robert W. Henderson attended University of California School of Engineering after having worked at Standard Oil of California and Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. In 1942 He won an Academy Award for His work on photographic processes and special effects. By the start of World War 2 He had joined the Radiation laboratory under Ernest Lawrence . From November 1942 to March 1944 He was engaged at both Cal Berekeley and Oak Ridge Tennessee on design construction and performance testing related to the pilot plants of the Atomic Energy Manhattan Project. Robert W. Henderson worked on the design of a large electromagnet to seperate U-235 from its parent metal. In 1944 He was transfered to Los Alamos, New Mexico to work for Robert Oppenheimer and George Kistiakowsky to collaborate on the development of the atomic bomb. Robert W. Henderson was instrumental in the engineering of the atomic bomb. After the war He was sent to head the Albuquerque branch of Los Alamos called Z Division which became Sandia National Laboratory from which He retired in 1974.