Myrtle Claire was born in Orange, Massachusetts back in 1908. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Middlebury College in 1930. After graduation, she taught high school science and athletics in South Hadley Falls, Massachusetts. She continued her education with a Master of Education degree from Boston University.
In 1942, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) at its Springfield, Massachusetts headquarters. She was assigned to Company “D” of the Manhattan District, United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Her mission was to lead a group of 15 to 20 women from Des Moines, Iowa to Fort Sill, Oklahoma and onto Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her destination was Los Alamos, New Mexico arriving there in 1943. She was responsible for the analysis of the spectroscopy of uranium isotopes. Her project was a crucial task as it was necessary to ensure the purity of thee sub-critical material thus insuring the nuclear explosion.
After the war, she became a research chemist at the University of Chicago. She also developed methods for the purification of the rare elements of tellurium and indium (whatever that is). One final note about Myrtle Claire Bachelder, NASA asked her to analyze the chemistry of Moon rocks during the Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972. She retired in 1971 and died in Chicago in 1997. Until tomorrow keep that smile on your face and a penny in your pocket.