PASADENA, Calif. – Robert F. Christy, a former California Institute of Technology professor who helped design the trigger mechanism for the atomic bombs used in World War II, died Wednesday. He was 96.
Christy died of natural causes at his home in Pasadena, surrounded by his family, according to Caltech spokeswoman Deborah Williams-Hedges.
Christy was one of the early recruits to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos Laboratory, a U.S. government research project to develop atomic weapons during the war.
He was hand-picked to join by his University of California, Berkeley, professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, with whom Christy studied quantum mechanics.
The Canadian native devised what came to be known as the Christy bomb or Christy gadget, a plutonium implosion device.