The Hanford B-Reactor was the first plutonium production reactor to be placed in operation. Its success made possible the subsequent development of atomic energy. The research work, engineering, and planning required to make the reactor operate is one of our most advanced achievements. Much of the reactor core, cooling system, shielding, and auxiliary systems were designed by mechanical engineers.
In the first nine months of operation, the B reactor produced fissionable plutonium for the world's first atomic bomb (the Trinity test on July 16, 1945), and for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, killing 35,000 people. This, and similar destruction at Hiroshima caused by the atomic bomb dropped three days earlier, hastened the end of World War II.
Gilman Hall, built in 1916-1917, accommodated a growing College of Chemistry by providing expanded research and teaching facilities for faculty and students specializing in physical, inorganic and nuclear chemistry. Work performed at Gilman Hall helped advance the fields of chemical thermodynamics and molecular structure, and has resulted in multiple Nobel Prizes. The Hall is most famous for the work of Glenn T. Seaborg and his coworkers, which included the successful identification and production the element Plutonium. Seaborg received the Nobel Prize in 1951 for his accomplishments.