Readers of Marvel Comics know that the nefarious Dr. Doom will go to any lengths in his power-hungry desire to conquer the world. It is worth taking a second look, therefore, to see if this master of villainy’s fingerprints were on the design of the most destructive weapon in history — especially since one of the scientists involved in creating the first atomic bomb was named Doom.
The Manhattan Project was the most secret initiative of World War II. Under the supervision of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, a team of brilliant scientists raced against the clock to develop a nuclear fission bomb before their Nazi counterparts could do it first.
A mountain of declassified papers document the activities of those ambitious researchers. One of these, a report entitled “Thermal Analysis of Plutonium,” might be quickly passed over if it wasn’t for the disturbing words on the cover: “Work done by L.G. Doom.”
Curiously, Doom was also involved with another project that might give Dr. Bruce Banner’s alter ego reason to be concerned. He authored report on his study of “Development of gamma-phase hot-pressing of uranium.”
Could this be the arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four and other heroes of the Marvel universe? Is the metal-masked master of mayhem really flesh and blood, rather than a product of Stan Lee’s fertile imagination?
Lewis G. Doom was a mechanical engineer who was hired onto the Manhattan Project after his graduation from Princeton in 1944. He was assigned to a metallurgical laboratory and tasked with unlocking the secrets of the atom that would allow scientists to make a plutonium core for an atomic bomb.
He did not actually attain a doctorate and was precluded from pursuing his research further because his colorblindness prevented him entering the military, where all additional research was centered.
So did Doom get his revenge on a society that would not support his desire to advance his research by becoming the dreaded Victor von Doom (evidently with an honorary doctorate)? Alas, it appears he did not. Lewis Doom continued his interest in science by working on something far less sinister. He and his son ended up obtaining a patent for a method and system for processing soap and soap-like materials.
The soap business is hardly the stuff of a criminal mastermind, but we should keep an eye on him anyway. After all, Daredevil’s nemesis, the Kingpin, allegedly earns his living by selling spices.