General Records of the Department of Energy. 1915 - 2007. Photographs Documenting Scientists, Special Events, and Nuclear Research Facilities, Instruments, and Projects at the Berkeley Lab

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General Records of the Department of Energy. 1915 - 2007. Photographs Documenting Scientists, Special Events, and Nuclear Research Facilities, Instruments, and Projects at the Berkeley Lab

1913-1991

This series encompasses the principal compilation of historical images that document the personalities, structures, technologies, and events shaping the first three and one-half decades at the nuclear research site commonly known as the Berkeley Lab, later officially the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of Berkeley, California. In particular focus is Ernest Orlando Lawrence, the Nobel laureate nuclear physicist, and the founder in 1931 of the University of California Radiation Laboratory that would be renamed in Lawrence's honor following his death in 1958. It was Lawrence whose invention of the circular-shaped particle accelerator, dubbed the cyclotron, opened new frontiers in sub-atomic research, with ramifications--well-documented in this series--ranging from the discovery of the transuranic elements that stretched the boundaries of the Periodic Table, to the development of uranium enrichment methods that speeded the production of the first atomic bomb, to experimental advances that established the field of nuclear medicine. Lawrence is shown in a variety of portrait, speaking, writing, research, meeting, touring, equipment and facility inspection, and ceremonial contexts in and around the Lab and, occasionally, other scientific research locations. Featured, as well, are many of the physicists, chemists, physicians, and engineers who rose to prominence pursuing what Lawrence often called the Lab's "big science" commitment. Included are eventual Nobel laureates Edwin McMillan (successor to Lawrence as Lab Director), Glenn Seaborg (later Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission), Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segre, Donald Glaser, Melvin Calvin, and Luis Alvarez, as well as such key contributors as John Lawrence (Ernest's brother, and coordinator of the Lab's early medical research ventures), Joseph Gilbert Hamilton, Robert Marshak, Isadore Perlman, Albert Ghiorso, David Sloan, Arthur Snell, Donald Cooksey, William Brobeck, Robert Thornton, Robert Cornog, Paul Aebersold, Edward Lofgren, David Kalbfell, Martin Kamen, Wilfred Mann, Franz Kurie, and Will Siri. Along with the coverage of scientific luminaries, the series provides a visual record of the Lab's evolving infrastructure on the University of California campus, beginning with the "precursor" 1928-1931 quarters in Le Conte Hall, where a newly-arrived Ernest Lawrence conceived and developed the earliest versions of the cyclotron, and continuing with the Civil Engineering Testing Laboratory, an empty building adjacent to Le Conte Hall where Lawrence formally established the Radiation Laboratory. Documented, in turn, are the newly-constructed facilities into which research operations expanded, including the Crocker Laboratory of late 1930s origin, the Donner Laboratory built in the early 1940s for the growing medical research program, and, most prominently, the massive structure on Charter Hill, constructed during the World War II years to house the 184-inch cyclotron, and serving as the Lab's long-term headquarters. The latter facility receives particularly close photographic attention, from ground breaking ceremonies through phases of construction, completion, and operation. As for subsequent additions, views of the 1964 dedication ceremony for the Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics underline the increasing diversification of Lab research activities in the latter half of the 20th Century. Within these facilities, the multiple versions of the cyclotron, increasingly large and powerful, are prime series focal points. Views of Lawrence's first two cyclotrons, with acceleration chambers measuring five inches in diameter and 11 inches in diameter, respectively, set the stage for more detailed coverage of the 27-inch cyclotron of the early 1930s, and heavier coverage still of the 37-inch, 60-inch, and 184-inch cyclotrons that anchored many of the breakthrough projects of the late 1930s and 1940s. Also photographed is the later-edition 88-inch cyclotron, and the cyclotron's technological successor, the synchrotron, or so-called Bevatron, that keyed Lab research from the mid-1950s through the 1960s and beyond. Overviews and installation views of these mechanisms are accompanied, especially in the case of the 37-inch, 60-inch, and 184-inch versions, by numerous closeups of individual components, large and small, from magnets, dees, coils, tanks, pumps, switches, oscillators, deflectors, probes, and targets to water cooling lines and radiation shielding, and from control panels to pulse transformers to ionization chambers. In the case of the 184-inch cyclotron, photographs also suggest the multiple applications of the technology during these decades: originally designed to produce particle acceleration at unprecedented speeds, the mechanism's 4500-ton magnet was put to work for uranium separation purposes in 1942 in support of the Manhattan Project (cyclotron turned "calutron"); at war's end, the calutron was reconverted to synchrocyclotron status for pure research. In addition to picturing the multiple iterations of the cyclotron, synchrocyclotron, and synchrotron, the series sheds light on other innovative Lab apparatus, such as the cloud chamber, the spark chamber, and, especially, the various versions of the bubble chamber--invented by Glaser, further developed by Alvarez--used to trace and record the trajectories of charged particles in transit. The Lab's wide-ranging experiments are represented visually through conventional depictions of personnel and instruments, as well as through specialized pictorial forms, including renderings of cyclotron-emitted beam patterns, and x-ray images of monkeys and other test animals injected with adenine or related radioactive substances. Among the many photos relating to particular Lab investigations, discoveries, and milestones (or official announcements thereof) are those showing: the first external beam obtained from a cyclotron (1936); the first cancer patient to be treated with a neutron beam (1938); the pioneering experiments, led by Hamilton and Marshak, on medical uses of radiosodium (1939); the equipment used by Alvarez and Cornog for their path-breaking discovery of the isotope helium-3 (1939); McMillan re-creating his search for neptunium on the occasion of the announcement of the element's discovery (1940); the first spectrum ever seen of an artificially created isotope (mercury-198) made from gold (1940); Seaborg engaged in his pivotal, and ultimately successful, search for plutonium in 1941, and, 25 years later, participating in ceremonies dedicating the site of the discovery (Room 307 in University of California's Gilman Hall) as a National Historic Landmark; the first beam emitted by the fully operational 184-inch cyclotron, noted by Ernest Lawrence, McMillan, and colleagues at the control panel (1946); the Lab announcement of the discovery of machine-made mesons (1948); Lab press conferences and other events revealing the discoveries of the elements berkelium (1949), californium (1950), nobelium (1958), and lawrencium (1961); Seaborg, Ghiorso, and Bernard Harvey re-creating the 1955 discovery of the element mendelevium; Segre engaged in the high-priority 1950s Lab project culminating in the discovery of the antiproton (1955); the christening of the 72-inch liquid-hydrogen bubble chamber, largest in the world (1959); and the announcement of the discovery of the first experimental evidence of the existence of omega meson resonance (1961). International and national award-related events featuring Lab scientists receive considerable exposure in this series. In the case of Ernest Lawrence, there are multiple perspectives on his receipt of the 1939 Nobel Prize--a view of Lawrence receiving the official telephone call informing him of the honor, as well as views of the Western Union telegram providing written notification and Lab blackboard annotations providing the "local" news angle--along with a sequence of 1946 photos showing Lawrence receiving the Medal of Merit, from the head of the Manhattan Project, General Leslie Groves, for his wartime contributions. Also represented are the Lab press conferences and other gatherings marking the Nobel Prize announcements for Seaborg and McMillan (1951) for their transuranic element discoveries, Segre and Chamberlain (1959) for their antiproton discovery, Glaser (1960) for his bubble chamber invention, and Calvin (1961) for his tracking of chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis. Alvarez is shown in yet another high-profile award context, namely, receiving the National Medal of Science (1964), from President Lyndon Johnson, for his contributions to high-energy physics. The increasing fame of the Lab, and its key personnel, emerges in another way in this series, via coverages of numerous visits to the facility by political, cultural, scientific dignitaries. Heading the cast of visitors is President John F. Kennedy, shown touring the Lab in March 1962 along with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, California Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown, Livermore Laboratory Associate Director and renown nuclear physicist Edward Teller, Atomic Energy Commission head Seaborg, and Berkeley Lab Director McMillan, among others. Documented, as well, are visits by artist Diego Rivera (1940); writer Sinclair Lewis (1940); British physicist Charles Galton Darwin (1941), grandson of Charles Darwin; King Muhammad V of Morocco (1957); Queen Frederika of Greece (1958); Victor Spitsyn, Director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Soviet Union's Academy of Sciences (1960); Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander (1961); U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson II (1961); Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1962); Britain's Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, with the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon (1965); and the photographer Ansel Adams (1966). Coverage of the Adams visit features a picture within a picture angle, as Adams is shown setting up and carrying out a photo session with McMillan as the prime subject. Visitors are also shown in the context of prominent conferences hosted by the Lab, including such gatherings as the 1960 International Conference on Instrumentation for High Energy Physics and the 1966 High Energy Physics Meeting, with the latter drawing, among others, one-time Lawrence associate, and Manhattan Project scientific director, J. Robert Oppenheimer. While the Berkeley Lab, and the surrounding University of California campus, provides the setting for the vast bulk of the photos in this series, other locales show up in a few shots, including views from Lawrence's 1940 ventures to Purdue University to inspect a cyclotron application, and to Washington, D.C.'s Wardman Park Hotel for a preliminary discussion of the Manhattan Project. Images appearing in this series derive from varied sources. Many of the photographs from the Lab's first decade were taken by Cooksey or other scientific personnel, with scattered Ernest Lawrence shots from his pre-Berkeley days coming from unknown family-related or family-sponsored creators. The majority of the entries from subsequent decades, when a formal Lab photo unit was in operation, come from long-time Lab head photographer George Kagawa, along with staff cameramen Don Bradley, Perry Hamilton, and Doug McWilliams. There are scattered images from the Atomic Energy Commission, White House, and other federal government sources, and scattered items, as well, from commercial media, studio, and other private-sector sources, among them the San Francisco Examiner (photographers Dan Wilkes and William Schoeb, in particular), the Oakland Tribune, Popular Mechanics, Wide World, Pacific Gas and Electric (photographer Richard Hoorn in particular), the San Francisco-based Moss Photography (working for the California Academy of Sciences), and San Francisco Bay area freelance photographer John Brenneis. Several items from an event marking the 40th anniversary of Seaborg's Nobel Prize were generated by Swedish photographers Rolf Adlercreutz and Claes Lofgren of the Stockholm-based firm, Pressens Bild AB. Also included are US Atomic Energy photographs from a Life Magazine Exhibit (1948).

11,679 digital image files

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SNAC Resource ID: 6499614

National Archives at College Park

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Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Nobel prizewinning physicist, inventor of the cyclotron and the founder and first director of the University of California Radiation Laboratory, was born on August 8, 1901 in Canton, South Dakota. His parents Carl Gustavus and Gunda Jacobson Lawrence were the children of Norwegian immigrants. Ernest Lawrence attended St. Olaf College and later the University of South Dakota, where he received his A.B. degree in 1922. He had originally thought to become a medical doctor, ...