National Archives at Atlanta

Secret City Symposium

A Symposium at the National Archives at Atlanta

Presenter Biographies

Denise Kiernan


Denise Kiernan is an author, journalist, and producer. She is co-author of the popular history titles, Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence and its sequel, Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution, both of which received starred reviews from School Library Journal and have been featured on NPR and in newspapers and magazines across the country. Denise’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Reader's Digest, Saveur, Discover, Ms., and other national publications. In addition to her books for adults and children, she was head writer for ABC Television's "Who Wants to be Millionaire" during its Emmy award-winning first season and has produced for ESPN, MSNBC and others. She lives in North Carolina.

Her latest book, The Girls of Atomic City is scheduled for release spring of 2013 by Simon and Shuster.

Dr. James Mahaffey


Dr. James Mahaffey (Jim) holds a bachelor of science in physics as well as a master of science and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and was a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. While there, he directed or worked on projects for the U. S. Defense Nuclear Agency, the U. S. National Ground Intelligence Center, the U. S. Air Force Air Logistics Center, Georgia Power Company, and other government and private industrial organizations in such areas as nuclear power, non-linear analysis, digital systems design, and cold fusion. He directed a multi-million dollar project at Georgia Power's Plant Hatch to design and install a safety system after TMI. After 25 years at Georgia Tech, he left to work in nanotechnology as Head of Advanced Research at Nanoventions Inc. in Roswell, Georgia and later as Director of Technology for AIR2, a company with headquarters in Maryland.

He is now a full-time writer and consultant. He has appeared on PBS NewsHour, on Georgia Public Broadcasting's "Georgia Weekly," and on numerous radio talk shows. Having lectured in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Ireland on various scientific topics related to his research, he is considered to be a skilled public speaker and is easy to understand, as well as entertaining.

Dr. Mahaffey's first book, Atomic Awakening: A New Look at the History and Future of Nuclear Power (Pegasus Books, New York, July 2009) has received wide critical acclaim. It has enjoyed worldwide sales, and is now available in Chinese translation (Shanghai Science and Technology Literature Publishing House, 2011). Dr. Mahaffey recently completed a six-book reference set for high schools and colleges, which was released September 2011 by Facts on File, a major publisher of educational texts. He is presently working on a sequel to Atomic A wakening for Pegasus Books.

Jim Campbell


Jim Campbell is a native of Maryville, Tennessee and an Oak Ridge resident for nearly 30 years. He is president of the East Tennessee Economic Council. Campbell started his career in the newspaper business, serving in various positions with The Oak Ridger, Oak Ridge's daily newspaper since the end of the Manhattan Project. He was editor of the newspaper from 1987 to 1994. During that time he was also a contributing editor to the "Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy," a publication of the University of Tennessee’s Energy, Environment and Research Center. Campbell also assisted in the publication of two books on Oak Ridge’s history. Campbell’s work at the Baker Center focuses on the intersection of science, environmental studies and engineering on policies related to energy, national security and environmental protection.

Campbell is a graduate of Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee and the University of Oregon. He has bachelor and master’s degrees in economic history. Campbell is the past chairman of the United Way of Anderson County, a member of the boards of the American Museum of Science and Energy, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, East Tennessee Quality Growth, the Oak Ridge Sister City Support Group, and Technology 2020 (a high tech business incubator).

Ray Smith


Ray Smith has spent 42 years working in a variety of capacities at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Having served for 16 years in ever increasing levels of management responsibility, he ultimately became the Associate Director of the Facilities Management Organization with responsibilities for all aspects of maintenance at the massive seven million square feet, 800 acre manufacturing facility. For the past seven years he has served as the Y-12 Historian.

He has co-produced the award-winning Secret City set of two 90-minute DVD’s and writes a weekly newspaper column on Y-12 history. He has given Oak Ridge history multimedia presentations at Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, and the Oak Ridge Institute for Continual Learning as well as in Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

He has produced Our Hidden Past series of five short documentary videos, which won two "Telly" awards and an international film festival award. He also produced Y-12's Changing Face and Transformation, two short documentary videos. Ray was instrumental in the opening of Buildings 9204-3 (Beta 3) and Building 9731, the two most historic buildings at Y-12, to the public.

Ray has just finished the production of A Nuclear Family miniseries documentary film series that consists of four 30-minutes episodes for broadcast on the East Tennessee Public Broadcast System. He has also written six books on the history of Oak Ridge.

Shane Bell

Shane holds a Bachelor's degree in history and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Clayton State University. He has worked for NARA as a graduate student employee since 2007 and joined the agency full time in 2011. Shane has worked extensively with records from NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission. He has also compiled finding aids for holdings related to The War of 1812, the 19th century illegal slave trade, and the Civil War.