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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Robert R. Wilson

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Interview with Dr. Robert R. Wilson
By Lillian Hoddeson
January 23, 1981

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Robert Wilson; January 23, 1981

ABSTRACT: The interview focuses on the creation of Fermilab. Also discussed: early origins of Wilson's involvement in high energy physics, Cornell University, Princeton, Los Alamos, Harvard and University of California, Berkeley.

Transcript

Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV | Session V | Session VI | Session VII

Hoddeson:

In discussing FermiLab, we got up to Oakbrook, and before we get into that today, I just was wondering whether you could tell me about this letter that I found in the meantime from the University of Chicago, offering you a position there. Did you accept that position and how long did you hold the position?

Wilson:

Yes. I suppose until the end of the project and until I accepted a name chair there. I never resigned the position. I assume the professorship was maintained.

Hoddeson:

This is a letter of March 15, 1967. That coincides approximately with the time you accepted direction of FermiLab.

Wilson:

Yes. And I expected that everybody, not everybody but most people who would come would have the joint professors elsewhere. That’s what this amounts to. They offered me a regular position, but since I never taught there, and never got any salary from them, I, never went to any faculty meetings, it was — it didn't amount to much. But on the other hand, it meant the social involvements with those people. I think I did teach one class, maybe a couple of classes, in a course given by Roger Hildebrand? And I would go there and give seminars. I was very friendly with the people there because I’d known them before. And I had expected that I would go there and teach from time to time, when I accepted the appointment. That's what they expected when they made the offer. And then, I looked forward to the time, five years — my appointment was for five year! — I couldn't imagine staying on as the director of FermiLab for longer than five years. Actually, I had a leave of absence from Cornell, so this meant I had three jobs, at one and the same time. I had a tenured job at Cornell from which I had a leave of absence, and this is a tenured position, it seemed, a regular tenured job.

Hoddeson:

So you just held that. You never resigned from it.

Wilson:

I never resigned from it.

Hoddeson:

Perhaps you're still a professor there.

Wilson:

Perhaps, yes. Who knows? Could be. But, let's see, yes, I know one result of this was that I — there was a big problem that came up about tenure in the laboratory. It was discussed at great length with the trustees. The trustees? I don't know. I've forgotten. The board.

Hoddeson:

The board.

Wilson:

The board, board members, and I suppose they were trustees. Anyway, the board members, the board — the board of trustees, correct. You'll have to excuse me. I still have the effect of the amnesia, I have a terrible memory problem — you know, recalling things. I'm supposed to — that's what the doctor guaranteed — but it hasn't yet (come back) completely. In any case, there was a question that came up after a while, that we should have some kind of a position, I think it was up to the trustees, that was the equivalent to a university position with tenure. That's because we wanted to be competitive, so we could offer a competitive job to someone of stature and get him for the university. Otherwise we would be at a tremendous disadvantage. One of the things that we concluded rather early was that first we shouldn't have double jeopardy — I mean, the converse of that: we shouldn't have double tenure. So you couldn't have a tenure at the laboratory, and at another university, and I refused tenure and I never had a tenured position at the lab. I probably had some appointment without — I've forgotten the name of it now.

Hoddeson:

Without tenure.

Wilson:

Without tenure — yes. A position with tenure though is a position without some termination or something of that kind. It's a formal position. It doesn't say it's tenured. It says that it's a position with, some language indicating it doesn’t end.

Hoddeson:

Are there many positions which have the tenure in there actually?

Wilson:

Yes. There's probably 50 to 100 of those by now. For someone like –- and — But I guess — Leon perhaps — I don't know if it still obtains. Something that was in effect when I was there and they've probably forgotten all about it. I'm sure that they did bring up people for the tenured positions, because that was given by the trustees, not by the director, and it cannot be removed by the director. He can bring charges if he wants to, or bring those — so they develop all the rules and regulations for these kinds of positions. I would then, when I felt it appropriate, I had a committee, I would give their — them the name of someone in the lab who could apply to me for tenure, or who I felt should have tenure. I could give their names to the trustees, I'm sorry, to the committee of tenured people, chosen from the tenured people at FermiLab. Then they would look into the qualifications, and they would make a recommendation to me which I would then pass on to the trustees. So we had this formal business. And having once done that, than I couldn't just say to someone, "You're fired," because — I did many times because — the trustees could, even if he did have tenure. Only the trustees could, for good and sufficient reason, such as no money, or gross negligence and so on, some university… And it seemed to mean a lot to various people in the lab that they got that position. Also, when we were trying to get somebody to come from a university, or from another lab with similar gradations. Then it was also important.

Hoddeson:

Is this something that exists at most of the large universities (crosstalk)

Wilson:

It exists at Brookhaven, I know, and I think it exists at other labs too. We were just trying to be competitive. In any case, I couldn't have it, I already had it.

Hoddeson:

Tenure.

Wilson:

And that was one of the rules, that you couldn't have it in two places at once.

Hoddeson:

Well, we discussed in pretty much detail the period just after you were appointed, when you were still at Cornell, and thinking about how to run the laboratory, and we had gotten up to the beginning of Oakbrook, and you had told me a little bit about the start, the choice, why you chose the building you did after turning down the school.

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

The AC — yes, yes — and that's about as far as we got last time, when the conversation switched to Los Alamos, remember? We started talking and then we switched to the phone call — and spent the next two sessions discussing Los Alamos.

Wilson:

Oh, that

Hoddeson:

So now I want to go back to Oakbrook.

Wilson:

To Oakbrook.

Hoddeson:

And just a few general questions, about how people were selected, and paid.

Wilson:

For a very long time, I suppose we talked about that before, I was the one that employed, and it was a funny feeling, in a state project, to be the one that employed (What I wanted to do was get a kind of feeling for the kind of organization I wanted, and I wanted to get the top people in the organization, so they would have a voice in the choice of other people, and also just to help with the mechanics of recruiting other people. And I had quite a hard time getting — first I tried to get a deputy director, because I thought he could help me get the other people, and that was rather difficult.

Hoddeson:

Who did you talk to?

Wilson:

I can't remember too well, but, who my choices were, but I think probably Bob Walker and, let's see, there was someone — I guess my first choice was someone at — my memory's having trouble with that —

Hoddeson:

What about Matt Stanns?

Wilson:

He was a person that I did ask at one time, yes. And he said he didn't want it, and Bob Walker — not necessarily in that order — and then a man at, oh dear, someone at Berkeley, because he'd been deeply involved in the project there.

Hoddeson:

Locken?

Wilson:

No. It wasn't Locken, because he sort of turned —

Hoddeson:

— he turned it down.

Wilson:

— turned down the director and I thought that would be insulting, to offer him the deputy director, like that. But —

Hoddeson:

It was someone at Berkeley.

Wilson:

Yes. And he was very vigorous at that time. He's not so involved in physics at this time. But he would have been a way of sort of easing the situation which was rather tense, between Berkeley and the lab, or between Berkeley and me, since I was the lab, and they were very angry at me. In any case, I didn't get too far, and I — then Nebb? was the person that I'd always had in mind, and at some stage I asked Nebb to serve and he accepted. Nebb was, I think Nebb was very worried because we'd both been trustees, and Nebb was very worried about me as being something of a wild man, and I guess I was a little worried about Nebb being something of a bureaucrat and naturally we were very complementary to one another, and we exchanged letters, saying what we expected and how we expected things to be, and I tried to live up to all my agreements with Nebb, that he would have access to all the meetings that went on. He had a lot of very reasonable sort of requirements like that. I think the main one was that he would be automatically invited to all meetings. He could foresee probably a situation where I might be calling meetings to which he wasn't invited, and couldn't know what was going on. So it was reasonable things like that in his mind. That was a very good choice, I must say. I never regretted it, because we were so complementary in many ways. At any rate, we weren't complementary in the sense that we were both softies. I think we both tended to be somewhat romantic and amplified some parts where we should have been more hardboiled. About firing people or, I don’t know what, we both tended to be very permissive. But apart from that, we were pretty complementary.

Hoddeson:

He was hired some time before the Yale? Brook? Summer Study?

Wilson:

Yes. He was hired at about the time. I think he accepted at the time of the — there was a meeting called by the trustees at, oh dear, what's the name of the lab right next to that?

Hoddeson:

Argonne

Wilson:

Argonne. You see my problem. At Argonne, and — there users was their users meeting, and the users came and I addressed the users at that — we probably talked a little bit about that.

Hoddeson:

You talked a little bit about that meeting.

Wilson:

Yes, I remember that. It was during that time that Nebb and I had a very serious talk, and he, I don’t know whether he had accepted at the time, but shortly, within days of that time he had accepted. Some time in there, I've forgotten.

Hoddeson:

I can look that up. I don’t have the data with me. OK, who thought of planning the laboratory through this, the format of the Oakbrook Summer Study? Was this something that had been done before?

Wilson:

No, I think it was a rather natural thing. I don't know how that came up. Probably Nebb and I together. I mean, It’s also Norman — Nebb and Norman Ramsey and I were sort of a troika. We worked very closely, and I had used Norman very much as associate director or co-director of the project, in the beginning. He was very sensible, so it seemed to me, and he had a lot to say about how we would start, and he had gone through this before, because a similar role at the beginning of Brookhaven. You may have read that little history, where he draws that parallel. You've discussed it with Norman?

Hoddeson:

A little bit.

Wilson:

That meant that he was more experienced, and I wasn't. He was much more experienced than I was at this kind of thing, and we had a very good relationship, very open and, we discussed. Everything in great detail, and — oh, Leon was also important in those days. He was particularly important because Leon, when we were with the trustees, Leon and Norman and I were good friends, and we discussed things in great detail, how we should proceed. So he at that stage was very important and I depended on Leon's advice too, as we went on. We were good friends and I had a lot of respect for Leon.

Hoddeson:

Did he play any role in the summer studies?

Wilson:

I don’t think so, no. He wasn't.

Hoddeson:

But this was before that.

Wilson:

This is in general how it might be set up, and then he was a sort of trustee then, and there were a great at many trustees' meetings, where he’d have the opportunity to talk to them either as a trustee or unofficially, betwixt and between. Because we'd had a close relationship, about how the lab should be, what it should be like, before, when we were both trustees, it was very important to me what he thought. And it was good way of touching base, when the when the physicists came in. He sort of represented a large group of people, and so —

Hoddeson:

And he was a very active physicist.

Wilson:

Yes, very active in physics, and he brought lots of experience (his experience) at Brookhaven, and at CERN, so he was a natural person for me to turn to. I had tremendous respect for him as a physicist.

Hoddeson:

How were the people who came to the Oakbrook meetings selected? And were they selected in part because there were perhaps people you'd be interested in hiring?

Wilson:

Yes, they were people that we’d be interested in hiring, that’s one thing. The other thing was, they were also just experts we were interested in having. Someone like Bernie was a natural person to — and I probably called up most of them, directly and asked them to come. Some of them were self-invited (selected). That is some of them just came.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

We were always happy — and there were lots of transients, constantly. It was a very exciting place. There was lots going on. Bob Serber? For example, across the hall, volunteers — or I probably asked him — to come and give physics lectures. I wanted it to have the character of a physics laboratory from the very beginning, and Bob would come out, I think once a week, come out by plane, spend a day at Oakbrook and then he wou1d give a lecture. I don't know that they were all about physics, but they were usually one one's specialty.

Hoddeson:

Are there any records of these?

Wilson:

There must be.

Hoddeson:

I guess I could ask him. He probably has notes around.

Wilson:

He probably does.

Hoddeson:

Or copies of them even.

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

I didn't know he played that role. It's a little bit like the role he played in the beginning of Los Alamos. (crosstalk)

Wilson:

— why I asked him, what I had in mind, probably very much. Anyway he was a good friend of mine, and I probably asked him because of Los Alamos. Anyway he did come out, at considerable inconvenience to himself, I’m sure, and gave lectures, and gave us a good advice on how to proceed. And we had — so that was —

Hoddeson:

— were the lectures, on what aspect of physics? I mean on the (crosstalk)

Wilson:

— No, no

Hoddeson:

... aspects, or what do in physics?

Wilson:

No, no, ... physics.

Hoddeson:

High energy physics?

Wilson:

High energy physics as Bob saw it at that time, what the important problems were. I thought that at a physics laboratory — and it was a physics laboratory — we ought to have that character of being interested in physics, and I didn't think you could design appropriately an accelerator without knowing what you wanted it for, so that you got the characteristics of it straight — if you wanted (went to?) high energy, or low energy, or — it was pretty much on my mind, and in the minds of the people there, and we were putting a tremendous amount of effort into having it go up to 400, with a possibility of 500, and one wouldn't want to put all of that in it if there were good reasons to see that a 200 with perhaps higher intensity, that the best physics might be in that region. I don’t know that that was, I think it was one of those gut feelings. In any case, my feeling was that, the higher the better, and I think it was a little bit of macho, I’m not sure what, to make it 500. I guess that I felt this way, that the project was supposed to be 200 at Berkeley. It had been delayed, it seemed to me, for a very long time, and a few years, according to the recommendations of the committee of Norman Ramsey, the Ramsey Committee Panel, that should have been started, and — at Brookhaven which should have started at 1000 GEV. So I really had my eye on that — sort of scrub the 200, that was Berkeley’s job — and I really felt they should be getting on to 1000 GEV, which seemed to me a more respectable and — Interesting energy. So I had that in mind, and felt that maybe 500 or something that one could reach — but I, from the beginning, I was thinking about 1000, because I was drawing circles on the then plot of land that had been agreed upon by the state, and in fact I got that whole plot charged around, to give a different configuration — originally it was a rather narrow rectangle, or more narrow that it is now, sticking farther toward I believe, and, or maybe father toward, what’s that town in the other direction?

Hoddeson:

The one that was taken away?

Wilson:

No, it’s a little town that you drive to at the east entrance. The town is just to the east. To the east of the lab. Row —

Hoddeson:

My directions are all screwed up there. I mean, there’s West Chicago — near there

Wilson:

— and south of West Chicago —

Hoddeson:

And then there’s another one.

Wilson:

Good, well, that operation — fine, Warrenville.

Hoddeson:

Warrenville, that's right.

Wilson:

But anyway you couldn't put a big circle in it, and I worked very hard to get a change so that you could put a bigger circle within the area, and the AEC was very cooperative, and agreed to the changes. It took a little fancy footwork on their part, to change the agreement with the state. But there were some trade-offs, as I recall, that made it attractive to the state to do that. So it gave it a better alignment. Also we had to deal with the railroad.

Hoddeson:

What was the problem with the railroad?

Wilson:

There was a right of way, and — involved — and maybe the railroad comes intercepting the plot, I’m not sure.

Hoddeson:

It's off the plot now.

Wilson:

It is off the plot now but maybe it hadn't been before.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

I've forgotten the details, it was something that they didn’t like, that made the (my changes) changes more attractive to the state. It was not difficult for them to effect the trade-off. But I had in mind, with the very first map that we had, to show a big circle. I used to call it then a jogging? Circle, because people would get — a large part of the community were outraged, because I kept talking about 400 and here they'd been cut back from 350 million dollars to 200 million dollars, 240 then, and I wouldn’t be able to build a 200 GEV and here I was talking about 400, and they thought I was really bonkers. And a lot of responsible physicists, you know, thought that this was a way of just losing the project, I think, or having something that wouldn’t work, and they were worried about this sort of wild man characteristic, reputation that I had. Of course I always came through on all the projects, that I undertook, but I think that was an aspect.

Hoddeson:

Who designed the program for the workshop?

Wilson:

We didn’t have any.

Hoddeson:

You didn't have any, what was?

Wilson:

Who decided what the discussion would be about?

Wilson:

I guess I was a sort of a leader, and kept that role. They would meet — there was a big area inside. What we did in the beginning, we just had a big bare space with no walls. Then we put some panels up, over the weeks, so that there were physicists near the windows, but the whole interior part, which we called the bullpen, most people would sit down in the bullpen. There were tables and maps and models and, the one in the corner was a kind of a seminar room, blackboards everywhere, and then a few offices around, where there where permanent people.

Hoddeson:

Did you have a program planned in advance, or would you just —?

Wilson:

It's the way you design a machine. I'm sure we didn't have — (crosstalk)

Hoddeson:

What did you start from, what point did you start —?

Wilson:

I think we started first putting the circle on the site, probably architecturally. We started —

Hoddeson:

You certainly knew you were going to have four stages? Four separate machines?

Wilson:

No, we didn't. We started off for the first month, I remember one thing, we decided we were going to have a meeting every morning and whoever talked at that meeting to whoever would come to the meeting, and we never knew who was there until we saw who came to the meeting in the morning. And we would talk for maybe an hour. And I remember —

Hoddeson:

We means you and Nebb?

Wilson:

Nebb and who — whoever was there actually. I remember — was there and Creed and, the — came over, and Roberts, were sort of regulars, and — you could probably dig up the names, I think rather well. After all generally we were paying them — probably not, a retainer on Roberts — I think they were (he was?) must coming over from other places, but we had other — I have a notebook, not here, I'm afraid, where I have — I do have notes about that, so that I could show that to you. Because I had to pay them salaries. I remember, we had to work out how we would pay the salaries, because it was tricky to pay a salary to somebody who was already employed at another laboratory. And we found some way, and they’d have a — so we could pay them a little more than what they paid, as I recall, at Brookhaven. We also had something worked out with the AEC so we could attract people, so we could pay about 10 percent differential over what other laboratories were paying, and the AEC was anxious that we’d get people to come to the laboratory, because they didn't want it to be a fiasco either, and they were well on the way to making it a fiasco, and so there was a little bias, and I think it was used in the case of, who was to be at the laboratory to start the project off. (…) (interruption)

Hoddeson:

You were just telling me about the finances, how you paid people to come to Oakbrook.

Wilson:

Yes, we’d call in to the AEC and get a clearance, and salaries, or get a clearance on somebody from another lab, I think we could give them some kind of an agreement to come, and attract them, because after all it's not, summer at Oakbrook, that particular place, a shopping center; really it was the end of the world as far as I was concerned. People would stay incidentally at the — there was the inn at the shopping center, and everybody would stay there at the inn, and it was kind of — people around there, rather a social occasion. There wasn't much else to do except go over and drink.

Hoddeson:

So do you remember — you’d just start talking and —

Wilson:

My recollection is that we'd start talking. We decided, the first month, we would be very free, and we would explore everything so we –-

Hoddeson:

All sorts of machines?

Wilson:

Yes, and we were going to — you know, whether it was a LINEAC or what would be the — (crosstalk)

Hoddeson:

— you're concerned with (crosstalk)

Wilson:

— almost from the beginning, that was frozen in, because that seemed to me — I didn't see any competitor to the LINEAC. I had hired, one of the first people I hire was — oh dear —

Hoddeson:

Don Young?

Wilson:

Don Young.

Hoddeson:

What I meant was, as far as the gross design of the machine, was it decided, completely fixed, that it would be a Cascade Cyclotron?

Wilson:

I think it probably was, yes. No question about that.

Hoddeson:

And that there would be a booster, and a main ring, and a LINEAC and —

Wilson:

A LINEAC, but there might not have been a booster. In the form. One of the things we used to talk about was something called a Peanut. A Peanut was what amounted to a booster that was in, concentric and in the same tone as the main ring, and which LINEAC would feed directly into the so-called booster. We would have had to have a — aperture, and the low field. We finally decided it wasn't a good idea because of the low field, but we did discuss that, rather seriously as an alternative to the booster.

Hoddeson:

I see. Has that ever been constructed? Such a Peanut?

Wilson:

No.

Hoddeson:

I never heard of that. Whose idea was that?

Wilson:

I can't remember, unless I'd look back at my notes. Eric von Steenberg, have you ever found his notes? (crosstalk) — He might —

Hoddeson:

…go through this together —.

Wilson:

He might shave —

Hoddeson:

— go through this together, just the first page, he's emphasizing in this little report thing, the booster, — Yes, it must have been something to do with the booster.

Wilson:

You see, separated functions, the booster, whereas in fact —

Hoddeson:

— yes, it shows not —

Wilson:

we built a combined function booster.

Hoddeson:

Right.

Wilson:

What we did was, I mean, I think, we had — to build the large synchrotron, and we were pretty loose, and I wanted us to be loose, in talking about our ideas, about various possibilities. I think we realized there had to be a chain, from LINEAC to, and that was pretty well determined, because as I said, by hiring Don Young and the people with him, that implied that we were getting a LINAC and I knew I wanted to get a running start, so we started to — the — he started to — because the Brookhaven people had already designed that, we decided just to build a copy of theirs, and I put in orders.

Hoddeson:

That was the AGS LINAC.

Wilson:

That was the AGS LINAC used for improvement of programs at the lab, and so I think we did put in some parallel orders. Actually, we got such a head start, we got way ahead of them, and built ours about a year ahead of theirs. Also we built a somewhat different one, because Don had his own ideas, about how the LINAC should be built, so there was some improvements or differences, but generally speaking, the two followed the same lines and that is you know a very efficient way of getting a LINAC, and also, we could go ahead with it very rapidly. And we did start very rapidly because almost at once, we started to build a 10 MEV prototype, as we called it, and that prototype of course was used. That is still being used in the machine today, and that was going very rapidly. I've forgotten, maybe one year two years. It was built with great rapidity, considering that there as zero laboratory, and there was about a year before we got into the site at all. There were many problems of course in getting into the site.

Hoddeson:

Having to do with the land? Not — being able to be purchased in time?

Wilson:

Yes. For one thing as I recall, the state had set aside six million dollars, something like that, maybe it was ten million dollars. We can find out. The state had set that aside. On the other hand, it the nature of things that the always have a shortage of money, and I think they were using the money for other things. (interruption)

Hoddeson:

Let's see, what were we talking about?

Wilson:

Getting the land. I guess that’s a little off the —

Hoddeson:

Well, we can ... not completely.

Wilson:

That was a terrible problem from the very beginning. To get the land. That was one of the problems that everyone was paying a lot of attention to. And they got? to hearing? for one thing there was no land coming to the project and that was constantly the case, that the money part of it seemed to be in jeopardy, or what in the hell was it — problems going — I know I went to the various meetings, some of the meetings of the City Council, trying hard for them to have open housing legislation, and I t think they did adopt some kind of — Batavia?, and that may have been one of the reasons we chose Batavia for our address rather than Grenville. But I think eventually, we worked very hard on all the communities, and eventually all of the or nearly all of the communities — for example, West Chicago, I think Grenville, and I think all of those communities adopted open housing resolutions of some kind or other and then we drew a map showing putting the project there — because, as you probably know, are aware, many of the physicists throughout the country wouldn't come.. We had problems of a consumer study unit. Wouldn't come and would have nothing to do with the project because it had been put in Illinois which did not have a open housing, you were going to have much more of an effect building it in (bringing it to?) some state where there wasn't open housing. And I was little angry at my colleagues — some of my colleagues at Cornell who were rather sanctimonious about this, because there were no Negroes on the faculty at Cornell, and there were no Negroes living in Eagle Heights? Where the faculty lived. And these people were being very sanctimonious about putting it in Batavia, which did have a black community, and as a matter of fact, it was a mill town and did have, and where we did get open housing legislation, where we had a tremendous effect, whereas back home, where it was nice for those people, that was the time of civil rights, but for them civil rights meant going down to Georgia, you know, and participating in some kind of a sit-in or march down there. It didn't mean doing anything at Cornell. Maybe there were one or two Negroes or blacks on the faculty there. Anyway, I put up vigorous arguments with them. But they would say, why in the world would I, a so-called liberal, you know, lend myself to this crime? Meanwhile we were out working very hard to get the state to change its legislation, and writing to the governor and seeing various politicians, and we didn't have any luck at all with the state. But then the whole thing was pre-empted because, in about nine months or so, the United States adopted open housing legislation on a federal basis, so that he whoe problem then. Yes. But that was a problem, when we were pushing during this first period, and I remember the difficulties getting some people to come.

Hoddeson:

I have a question, actually, an outgrowth, but during the time that the design was being created, was there any assurance that the full money would come through? Or was there still a great deal of uncertainty?

Wilson:

A great deal of uncertainty.

Hoddeson:

Were you spending a great deal of your time going to Washington at that time and making arguments? Wi1son: Yes. And at one stage, I had resigned, I guess.

Hoddeson:

When was this?

Wilson:

I’d have to look back at the papers. But I think there are some of those papers here. That must have been — the first year we had, I think, ten million dollars, and that must have been for ‘68. Something like ten million dollars. But it got reduced by the President to seven. That must have been Johnson by then, at that time, to seven million dollars, and then, in '69, I suppose, that was '69, — and this seemed to be just about enough to — and maybe they were talking about lifting that money, you know. I think this was — this was going to last in the beginning, and didn't, finally. But then the next year, I think it was 25, and then they were not going to spend that. That could have been administratively just taken away. I think there was some such suggestion of — that, and at that point I wrote a letter of resignation to Norman, and, let me see if I have that, and what the date is. I think those papers are here. Some papers which have those letters in them — they may be there. It looks like this. (hunting)

Hoddeson:

Well, I can look for them, back at FermiLab, in a couple of week.

Wilson:

Copies.

Hoddeson:

Oh that was — I've never seen those.

Wilson:

Well, anyway, when it was cut back, why, then I wrote a letter to —

Hoddeson:

— this was some time before ‘69. Before FY ‘69.

Wilson:

Yes. As that was being developed. A bit earlier. So it was sometime between ‘68 and ‘69. FY ‘68 and FY ‘69. Because we ran it? by ‘68, and the project started in ‘67. So I was very angry, because I wanted to build the machine, rapidly, and said that it was going to be built. I think I said originally that it was going to be built in six or seven years. And then I moved that up at some stage, to an earlier date, later on, but at this time — and I couldn't see any — I mean, if we couldn't get any money then we couldn't build it.

Hoddeson:

Right.

Wilson:

And all that I could see was making another study. I was outraged. So I wrote Norman a letter of resignation saying that, that I he come to build the machine, and that I wasn't going to stay around and not built it as rapidly or economically as I had essentially committed myself to do, and that therefore I would leave unless there was something done about the funds. And Norman carried that letter around, and he didn't accept my resignation, as I recall, but I also sent copies of the letter to the AEC people, to the commissioners, and there was a Mr. Holmsworth — perhaps who was the general manager. And they took it very seriously, because — and I meant it. I wasn't kidding a bit. I would have left and gone back to the —to Cornell. I certainly wasn't kidding. At some stage I was asked to come in to Washington to resolve the matter, and did come in, and they then restored the money and showed me how we could buy the things that I wanted to buy, so that we could get on with it. Then I said that I would stay.

Hoddeson:

When you think back on the days you spent in Washington, debating about the money for the machine, how do you recall the way the arguments went? From what I've seen, I gather you argued mainly on the physics merits, and on the general contribution to culture, increasing the level of basic research.

Wilson:

Yes, I did take that line. Yes.

Hoddeson:

How did the people you were arguing with take that? I wouldn't think that they would buy that.

Wilson:

I found that they seemed to buy that better than other arguments. I think that in the first place, the joint committee, that was the one to whom I would make that kind of argument — they received —

Hoddeson:

I've got to turn the tape over …

Wilson:

…I probably asked to come. Calling it the — instead of Weston? Western?, I guess. We called it the Batavia project for a while. I was trying to get rid of Weston. That had all kinds of bad connotations.

Hoddeson:

— was in Batavia, was known for his fearless behavior, an enormous baboon broke into the saloon, he murmured, but I'm damned if I'll save ya. (shave ya?).

Wilson:

I've seen that in one sentence, “I can't shave you, I'll save you.”

Hoddeson:

This letter is November 7th, 1968, fall.

Wilson:

Here was the meeting.

Hoddeson:

OK, this is August 29th, 1968, and it’s from Glenn Seaforth? To you, telling about the unanimous support of the commissioners and general managers for the five year construction, for the 200 BEV accelerator project, and —

Wilson:

— anyway this was the letter —

Hoddeson:

A general support letter, but it doesn't say very much. It doesn't give any specifics. It just says generally affirming support.

Wilson:

Yes, and then, they couldn't commit the Bureau of the Budget, but he says later? that he will make Our best effort to obtain, funds needed.

Hoddeson:

Needed to complete.

Wilson:

Under a construction schedule of five years. And they also included Don Hardin who was the President’s advisor. Or he understands that I've received — I guess I talked to Don Hardin too — and he also — what they did was, they committed themselves to live up to my five year schedule. By this letter from — and Seaforth.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

That was this meeting of July, it was in 1968.

Hoddeson:

1968. I see. Did you remember any questioning about the usefulness of this machine in other than general cultural terms? Did they try to —

Wilson:

— well, yes, they would usually want me to — what use is it? And I would answer that: science always has been useful, for one thing, and it would be extraordinary if this at some time wouldn't also be useful, but that was a long time affair. And I would talk about spin-off, that — and give examples of the effect that physics had had on the electronics industry — for example, in computers and scalars that were developed for counting and radio tubes, and I had a lot of ammunition for that kind. But in general, they had heard that kind of speech before, and generally wouldn't listen. If you were going to talk to a group of them, they would usually be off in space. And I would find that, unless I got fairly emotional — then they’d give me their attention. If I’d talk in sort of idealistic terms, then I’d get their attention. Then they would listen.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

They seemed to — if I would talk about culture, and American culture too, that would get their attention. They understood that. And I would frequently do that in discussing the project. It was a matter of our culture and something we ought to be proud of, and they understood that.

Hoddeson:

It’s kind of amazing, that is the way that you did it.

Wilson:

I got rather friendly with them, and I think that it was partly on that basis.

Hoddeson:

Do you want to go back to the —

Wilson:

— OK —

Hoddeson:

— or are you getting tired?

Wilson:

No, I can go on for a while.

Hoddeson:

OK. The main topic in here is the booster.

Wilson:

Yes, that’s because Urey? Was most interested in the booster himself, and he then later came back, and he was hired, at FermiLab, and I put him in charge, as a group leader in charge of the booster. Then after being at the lab for some time, he changed his mind and went back to saying he didn't want to be at FermiLab for some reason, and went back to Brookhaven, so that was a kind of a failure, I felt, on my part, to keep him at the laboratory. I think it was a failure in part because I was interfering too much. That is, he was, he tended to be — he’s a very good guy, very knowledgeable, but he tended to be very conservative, and I didn't want the conservatism at Brookhaven to infect the laboratory too much, so I tried to inspire them to make something that wasn't so damned conservative. And I really did play a very strong role in how things turned out. He didn't like me — he wanted — his idea was to go off in a corner, and design it all by himself. I think that’s why he fundamentally left, because I was too much of an interferer. Maybe that wasn't. He may have gone back because of some personal private problems. But I think he really was much more conservative, and didn't appreciate my — I couldn't see where we could keep the costs down, or the time in building it down, unless we made a very spare design and a very close design. So he left, and I became the group leader of that, of the booster, and I designed the booster. And once it was designed, then I hired Paul Reardon to come and build it, but it was essentially designed by that time.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

He was a very excellent person building it.

Hoddeson:

Did he make changes?

Wilson:

No, there were no changes.

Hoddeson:

No changes at all. I found it interesting —

Wilson:

— not that I can remember. Nothing major. Of course, there were a lot of changes.

Hoddeson:

The alternatives to the booster are listed here. In this Steenberg? Report. And one of the (crosstalk) — no, no, he had his —

Wilson:

— oh, this is, here is a different thing.

Hoddeson:

…is, no booster at all.

Wilson:

Yes, that’s the Berkeley (crosstalk) — yes —

Hoddeson:

Yes, that’s right, and it says here that, it suggests that Muills, Mashby, Martin Martinson? —

Wilson:

— those were the people working on it, yes.

Hoddeson:

— who were working on that.

Wilson:

I think they just identified themselves with the problems they worked on.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

Probably they, probably one of them would suggest that, this was a good thing to do, and then they worked that out.

Hoddeson:

And then there was, I don’t know if it was before Haines? But, there’s a combined function fast cycling —

Wilson:

This was to be essentially the B-4, that’s a pun, for, Peterson had designed the Berkeley machine. This is essentially the machine as designed at Berkeley, and so I put a B-4.

Hoddeson:

B-4 means, Berkeley?

Wilson:

No. It means “before.”

Hoddeson:

Oh, before. I see. That was changed —

Wilson:

(crosstalk) — came to the cost of –- yes — and that’s essentially what it was.

Hoddeson:

Then we had the Peanut, and Gordon Danzer? And Fred Mills thought that would be cheap and — Carl Yonson? Chou?

Wilson:

Chell. Most people call him Kell but I call his Chell.

Hoddeson:

Chell Johnson seems to have considered this Peanut earlier.

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

— According to this —

Wilson:

hmm mm

Wilson:

See, it was a design after all of the? machine. It’s just almost identical to the design of the Berkeley machine. Have you ever seen that design?

Hoddeson:

No.

Wilson:

That’s something. That’s a matter of history, you should look at. Because their design, made just after the Berkeley design, is something — well, it’s very interesting, because it’s — you have designs in that building? In your little room.

Hoddeson:

Yes

Wilson:

FermiLab. But it’s interesting how it’s almost identical —

Hoddeson:

— to Berkeley?

Wilson:

— to the way the Berkeley machine was designed. Then when they built it subsequently, then it’s changed to be almost identical to the design at FermiLab.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

It’s a very interesting thing to look at.

Hoddeson:

I will.

Wilson:

— from the standpoint of comparative design.

Hoddeson:

That’s not such a great project.

Hoddeson:

I certainly will, I’ll pick it up some time. Let’s see, just to go through this last — now, this in part D, Natchk’e booster, 60 cycles a second, fast cycling.

Wilson:

Lower energy.

Hoddeson:

Yeah. I don’t know what to say about that one. Then there’s an awful lot of them.

Wilson:

hmm mm. Anyway, you’d have to take some of the — but we have these, and — so, —

Hoddeson:

I see that — wanted the separating (separated?) function. And also Lee Tang? And Steenberg still wanted separated function, in the booster. Why was that not chosen?

Wilson:

I think that I felt that the Cornell machine was not — was combined function. And if you had a low field ring, this was going to be a low field ring, then I didn’t see any advantage in price or in size or in operation of having a separate function machine, because I mean, after all, you get your bending and your focusing are combined, so you don’t have to leave any space for the focusing magnets, and you don’t have to build those focusing magnets. You build them and you make a — understand what I mean?

Hoddeson:

No. No, I don’t.

Wilson:

Well, the combined function, you know, has the quadripole — I mean, that is essentially this — plus the quadripole lens.

Hoddeson:

Right.

Wilson:

And the — is usually over here some place, like this, and if you add the two together, then you get a pole fit that looks like that. That’s a combined function magnet, and the iron pole — that I’m drawing here are a combination of a —

Hoddeson:

— a bending and focusing.

Wilson:

A banding and focusing. And the only reason we wouldn’t do this, in my opinion, is, if you go up to high field, then this saturates, and were the gap becomes narrow, and so you lose aperture, because of the saturation. So if you’re pressing hard, you, this doesn’t work, because whereas a field that’s uniform, like this, ages into saturation all together, and that’s a nice kind of magnet field under saturation, this is a poor magnet field under saturation. That’s why I didn’t like the Berkeley machine, for the main ring.

Hoddeson:

They had that for the main ring.

Wilson:

Yes. But for a low field, at Cornell, or in this case — the cheapest thing you can do is make a combined function machine. If you know what you’re doing. I assumed that we knew what we were doing, in the case of the booster. That was old hat — you know, a copy of something like the AGS machine in a sense, which is a thoroughly — of the Cornell machine. We knew what we were doing. There was no reason to build a separate function. It would have cost extra money, and extra time. It would have made it very complicated.

Hoddeson:

I see.

Wilson:

So, since, I presume I made that choice, I felt very strongly about that — on the other hand, I also felt very strongly about the separate function, if you wanted a —

Hoddeson:

— main ring —

Wilson:

— machine to go up to high field. And high energy. With high energy, that was a different question. And there were very good reasons why I wanted a separated function.

Hoddeson:

The FermiLab machine would have been the fir separated function machine to be built in the US. Is that correct?

Wilson:

I think that’s true. In the U.S.

Hoddeson:

I gather there was one built in —

Wilson:

— Japan.

Hoddeson:

By separated function, you mean the — machine?

Wilson:

Well, the machine built up at —.

Hoddeson:

— but that never really worked.

Wilson:

Probably not. But it had been built.

Hoddeson:

A peculiar betatron.

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

Then there was one I think in Italy? Somewhere —? or France?

Wilson:

Oh yes, before, yes. One of the machines before FermiLab that were what I would call (I recall) separated function machines. I mean, France, and perhaps in Bonn. I’m not sure.

Hoddeson:

But this was the first major machine.

Wilson:

It was a major machine. There was quite a different — those were storage rings, I think, at least in France, and they certainly were separate function, earlier. The idea had been suggested, though, by Milt white, for example for the Princeton machine, although he didn’t build it that way ultimately. You know why. But — yes.

Hoddeson:

I’ve hear that the big, the person who argued most strongly for the separated function idea at FermiLab was Gordon Dandy.

Wilson:

That’s right. He had a publication. He’d published an article about separated function machines, before FermiLab. It was just coming out about then. And he was one of the proponents of it, and he certainly had a big effect on me. His arguments for it were good arguments. He — though, the difference was, you might look at his papers some time, it’s probably referred to in the design report — the difference was that he had these tremendous magnets, like this… that’s probably about half the size — like so — great —? magnets, and that was the difference. And what — we’re getting of the story —

Hoddeson:

Yes, we’re getting off the story. I’m just looking up the word —?

Wilson:

Anyway, that’s right, I give him the credit for having, you know —

Hoddeson:

— influenced —

Wilson:

— he certainly influenced me, by pointing out the good features, and partly I paid a lot of attention because I thought he was a good guy and I wanted him to come, and he did. He was at Brookhaven, where he had a boat, and I don’t know what, but I hoped that he would come permanently. But I also thought his ideas were good.

Hoddeson:

There’s one interesting passage, interesting to me, in this report of Steenberg, referring to the option of the superconducting storage rings that would be slowly cycled to higher fields for proton energies, up to 800GEV, which is on page 5. It says “The latter proposal by L. Jones” —

Wilson:

— Larry Jones –

Hoddeson:

— “which we could construct in the shortest possible time, of a 200 GEV accelerator, to be followed by the construction of a superconducting storage ring for further slow acceleration to higher energies.” I didn’t realize that Larry Jones played a role in this.

Wilson:

It might have been a summer study. And he certainly, he did make that, I remember his making that suggestion. At the time. The reason we didn’t do it, though we certainly considered it seriously, was that there just weren’t superconductors, really superconducting magnets, at all then.

Hoddeson:

Sure. But you left room for it.

Wilson:

Yes, we left room for it. Yes. Later on.

Hoddeson:

But when you left room for them, did you have this particular idea in mind, or was it that —

Wilson:

Since we could go up to 500 with those magnets, I was thinking of going up to a thousand.

Hoddeson:

You were, right at the start. Did this Jones Argument have any influence on that, or would you have done it anyway?

Wilson:

I don’t think so, I don’t remember that it did. Later, it’s hard to say.

Hoddeson:

Sure.

Wilson:

But I don’t remember being influenced by it, because at the time, — it was — I mean, to build superconducting magnets, many people talked about that. But what he was doing was seriously making the suggestion that we not build, as I remember it, that we not build — I don’t know if it also was that we — well, get to higher energy by not going up to 400, and by waiting and going up at a later time from 200 to a higher energy. But one couldn’t tell when that would happen. Of course, it wasn’t to happen — you can barely do that now, it’s still being — I mean, had we said, that’s what we were going to wait and do, it’s about this time that we’d be going it.

Hoddeson:

Right. How did you pick the thousand meter radius? Do you remember that?

Wilson:

Well, I think — let me say this, that at the end of one month period, we had a meeting, I remember, just before we left, and I said, well, we’d have this meeting, and then I said roughly what the machine was going to look like. I think I said, separate function, and there would probably be — It might be in the last stages. Does he say?

Hoddeson:

He says, on the main ring he says, “Almost without discussion, a separate function main ring (lattice?) structure was adopted.” This is dated July-August, 1967.

Wilson:

July, August, yes, he probably wrote this at the end, but, the thing, I don’t know whether he says this —

Hoddeson:

— this is something else —

Wilson:

Oh, yes. Anyway, at the end, I said that we’d been thinking about various things and that — then I remember, saying roughly what the machine was going to look like. Then we dispersed. That was the period, I know I went back to Cornell, and most of the people left for a while, and so, I remember on the plane back, I made some notes and calculations, and I froze the design essentially. I remember that. I made the — I may have some notes of that some place. It’s in one of these books, I think, notes that I made going back on the airplane, of the design as it came out.

Hoddeson:

It’s not these notes, is it? Those are just something that —

Wilson:

“Notes written on July 1st” — yes.

Hoddeson:

Yes? Oh. What good fortune.

Wilson:

You see, I try to — now, that would have been the conventional separate function machine.

Hoddeson:

There’s one other picture — I don’t know if those would be — separate from the other.

Wilson:

No, this is the separate — I mean, yes, these are — this was magnets. I don’t mean separate function. This would be a conventional design, where, and this would be a design where, you use less copper. You put in lots of spaces. You take off iron. The idea, I gather, here, the significant idea —

Hoddeson:

You can write that on it, it’s quite OK.

Wilson:

The idea — I’m pretty sure I had this as I was going back on that airplane — my idea was to combine these two things, probably from these two sketches, and I know I made a design. I have it someplace. So I made it shorter, and the idea was to — as this does, this had the iron, the copper, in the gap. So I put a couple of turns in the gap, like this, and then I had a, what was called a window frame, over here. Like that. And that’s the way — so that it would be like this one, and I’d put a couple of —

Hoddeson:

The conventional -– if you had -– yes, put that there.

Wilson:

Yes, so this — what this does, then, it has a tremendous — now, I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but what this does is, it looks exactly like this, when you get a certain, you know, gap length away from the edge here, then whatever you do has no effect on the field in here. So this means that you can, you can make a very efficient iron, use of the iron. The iron doesn’t bend down, and that was a real idea in building magnets — it was a change. I mean, you’d build magnets this way, you’d have gotten tremendous magnets. Building them this way, you got very compact magnets, and these would go up to 22-1/2 kilogauss. If you look back at the Berkeley report, I think their field was up to 15 or 16 kilogauss. AGS goes up to 15 kilogauss. To go up to 22-1/2 was unthinkable. And the reason that this was so good in that, the trouble with a magnet of this kind is that there’s a radiant (gradient?) in the magnet, an ideal motor force, so the field tends to droop, if you plot the field. It is a function of say R where this is the center. In the center. On the other hand, if you have a magnetic field like that, if this is the edge of the field, then you get the end effect, which makes a field that comes up. And you can just balance those two things, so that this droop just compensates the edge effect, and it’s that droop, which makes our magnets go up to — they go into saturation at about — they start going into saturation at about 1`8 kilogauss, and they go up the extra four kilogauss, because there’s this tricky compensation here in the droop, and that was a real, you know, order of magnitude change. No synchrotron magnet had gone up to anything like even 18 kilogauss before. I did that on the airplane going back, I remember. And I wrote down a number of things. I had the design very well — it seems to me, when I got off that airplane, I had the design well in mind.

Hoddeson:

This is going back, at the end of the meeting? or a kind of a break between parts of the meeting?

Wilson:

Well, at the end of the meeting, I know, I had said it. What I had done is, I had very carefully kept my mind open, for that one month, as to what we should do, at the end of the month — then I — the big thing that I used to do was, make decisions. If there was a decision to be made, I would — and I could usually make a decision. I found that making a decision was better than not making a decision. So I would make a decision, about, early on I made a decision as to where the ring should be. I just decided. How big should it be? Well, at this meeting, I think I decided, “1000” I said. Why? Well, I said, “It could either be 750, that was close to the Berkeley design. It could be 1000 or it might be 15000.” Those were the 25 percent ranges, and changes. And I said, “Well, one and 25 is too big. That’s obviously going to be too expensive.” And 750 I thought was too small. One is a good number. We’ll make it one kilometer. (crosstalk) some place –-

Hoddeson:

Just like that?

Wilson:

Just like that. That was the reason it was — and I’ve always been very fond of making arbitrary choices, that you can remember, and that are dramatic. At Cornell I had chosen 100 meters as the radius of that machine. So out here I was included to do that again. Those numbers you can remember. Everybody can remember them. There’s likely to be less argument. And there wasn’t much argument about the 1000.

Hoddeson:

Was that the first big decision?

Wilson:

That was the first big decision.

Hoddeson:

In scale.

Wilson:

Yes, in scale. And I knew, if there were good arguments, you can always then change, but if you have something that freezes it, then you can go ahead and make a lot of other decisions. And by making that decision in that — I also saw that I could get up, by stretching, I had this in mind, by stretching I might get up to something like 20 kilogauss. That’s between 400 and 500. The 22-1/2 — well, that’s almost unobtainable, but that was my goal. And with that radius, you could get up there. So it put it within reach of 500. That was what I wanted. It put 400, I thought, within, well within reach. 800 kilogauss. That was the basis of choosing that. But that thousand just corresponded. I noted those things, and that made it possible. Well, we did reach 22-1/2 kilogauss.

Hoddeson:

It says here, 18 kilogauss was adopted as a design limit.

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

For the main ring.

Wilson:

But that was at this meeting. Those weren’t (were?) the things that were really adopted then. Peak field, 18 kilogauss, but I hadn’t gotten on the airplane and made this — I hadn’t made this, what really was an invention at that time.

Hoddeson:

That invention was made probably after July 28th.

Wilson:

Oh, wait — if this is July 1st, it was — when was the meeting? July 15th? No, this is not the time I’m talking about. The summer study went from June 15th to July 15th. It would be on July 15th that — so this is about the summer study — yeah. Yeah. So we were probably, well, talking about 18 kilogauss, but on the hand, I also felt that we would go up to 22-1/2 kilogauss.

Hoddeson:

What else shall we say about the summer study? I don’t know really what else to ask. Is there anything else?

Wilson:

Well, it was very dramatic. We were, what we were doing at the summer study, another thing that happened — I don’t know if I said that — was that, oh dear, the man from Berkeley, who put in the — Berkeley designer —

Hoddeson:

Lockloff?

Wilson:

Lockloff? he came, and we had a date for him at FermiLab one year there, I think.

Hoddeson:

Macmillan?

Wilson:

Not Macmillan. No. My memory —?

Hoddeson:

Albert?

Wilson:

No. He was an engineer, not a physicist, and he came and gave a speech and we interviewed him.

Hoddeson:

Oh yes, —

Wilson:

He has a business there. In any case, he came. He’s a personal very good friend of mine, and I called him up and asked him to come out and help. Because what we were doing in that summer study was, we were racing like crazy to come up with a design, because if we could determine the design end by the end of the summer, at the date when we had to get that in, and if we could turn that in, then we could get a year ahead. And that was this thing. We were successful in doing that, but partly because Bill —

Hoddeson:

— I know him — it’ll come to me —

Wilson:

Bill, because Bill came to the —

Hoddeson:

I know who you mean. We interviewed him before I was hired. I know who it is and I also can’t think of the name.

Wilson:

At any rate, he was a friend of mine, and he came out, with a group, and he sat down and, whenever we came up with a design, he would go through a cost estimate. And because he was a very conservative designer, I felt that the people would believe his cost estimates. And he would come up with a cost estimate, and then we’d go back and it would inevitably be higher, and then we’d redesign again and come back, and he’d do a cost estimate of that. And we kept that up until we got it down to 250 million dollars and then we quit, and made our design. That was the design.

Hoddeson:

At the end of the summer then you had —

Wilson:

— at the end of the summer, we had that design.

Hoddeson:

Right. And then you sat down, the main job was to put together the design report. For a while.

Wilson:

Yes, then we were doing the design report.

Hoddeson:

Yes. Now, was that a big industry or was that really quite straightforward? After the —?

Wilson:

Well, that was a big industry, putting it out. We had quite a few people, and then writing the thing. I don’t know that the date on that is. It’s probably —

Hoddeson:

I think it’s January.

Wilson:

It was January, but we had the first (crosstalk)…

Hoddeson:

— it came out in the fall —

Wilson:

Yes, it came out much earlier than that.

Hoddeson:

An earlier version, yes. (crosstalk) — over…

Wilson:

And some time, we had to submit it, either at the end of October, or the beginning of November, some time. And we came out with a preliminary design. That was, the preliminary design report is a form that comes out. It has a name. Which was preliminary to this, where we had the design and the cost estimate, and that was what we were racing to do and turn in, in a very short time.

Hoddeson:

This had to be turned into the government so that —

Wilson:

— on the basis of that, we could get our —

Hoddeson:

— you could get your funds —

Wilson:

— money for it ? by (?)’69. Without that form turned in, we couldn’t have got it. The money.

Hoddeson:

Was anything done besides, any work done besides this paper work, to get the design report ready? Or was that everybody’s focus?

Wilson:

Everybody’s focus.

Hoddeson:

Everybody focused on that.

Wilson:

Yes, we’d gone through — a) we’d made the design essentially, in the summer, so by August we had the design.

Hoddeson:

You had the design. By October you had the design report out.

Wilson:

Yes. Now, one thing I remember was, we decided that the design report, we would fit the — assume a LINAC somewhat similar to Brookhaven, 1, and 2, we would assume, for that report, that we were going to build a booster that was very similar to the one in the Berkeley report. And we’d put off the design of the booster, on that basis. Then we designed the main ring, which was the main part, and some experimental areas, and that, whatever’s in there.

Hoddeson:

Yes.

Wilson:

Incidentally, that little report then was done by the government; and when I saw that, I thought, my what a keen thing. That’s when I adopted that size for all of the subsequent reports for FermiLab. That’s how we got all of these small size reports. Before that, they all, the reports —

Hoddeson:

— They were all big.

Wilson:

All big. Now, I notice lots of people put them out in that way.

Hoddeson:

Small, they’re much –-

Wilson:

When I look at that, they had just taken the report, as far as I know, and put it down, and everything — you could read that perfectly well, just as good — and it was inexpensive. They did put it out very cheaply. And I thought, why in the world are we spending so much money making these big reports, when we could do it cheaply and efficiently, that way.

Hoddeson:

Cheaply … was — already involved? Involved with the cover?

Wilson:

Yes. She was involved with the cover, yes. (crosstalk) Yes. What I would do — we had a very good relationship, where we would toss ideas back and forth, and for example — for the logo, I think it describes that. I wanted something — well, you know, something like this, to show it was a uniform field, and then superimposed on that, something similar to this, showing the quadripole. And then she would, she must have made — she’d make a whole sheet full of these and I’d say, “That one,” and then she’d take that one and make another, she would refine it, so that, and then I’d pick one out, and we went through that in many arrangements until we got something that we both (were pleased with), thought was pretty good.

Hoddeson:

She’s a great woman. Well, let’s see, shall we stop at this point?

Wilson:

It might be a good place to stop.

Hoddeson:

And then, at our next session, we can perhaps go through the first year, up to the first summer study, and try to just pick out the highlights.

Wilson:

OK.

Hoddeson:

And then work our way up, in that way, up to some reasonable point.

Wilson:

Yes. Next time you come I’ll read this (these?) and see if I can’t find out what’s in them. I think you have them in my other, you have these papers here.

Hoddeson:

All right, good — OK — I may have — I have, probably not all of them, but —

Wilson:

No, they’re all there. These are just Photostats of things that are in that.

Hoddeson:

In the main file?

Wilson:

Yes.

Hoddeson:

They’re downstairs on the second floor, you mean? Or are they in (crosstalk)

Wilson:

— no — my file —

Hoddeson:

Oh, those were in the file cabinets in the history room.

Wilson:

Yes. They must be there too. Yes, they’re some of them — there are copies of them — I mean, there are originals of these.

Hoddeson:

Right… Well, then, what I’ll do is, I’ll kind of pick out —

Wilson:

I think the originals are there. You might see. But they’re certainly there. These are just some things that — Priscilla? made copies of.

Hoddeson:

What I’ll try to do for that meeting is to pull out a selection of material from, going from the fall of ’68, to the summer of ’69.

Wilson:

OK.

Hoddeson:

And perhaps we can go through that and try to reconstruct the main events.

Wilson:

Hmm mm.

Hoddeson:

OK.

Wilson:

… a manifesto (to) of myself, — one of the best…

Hoddeson:

This is dated just plain ’68, 1968. What are you telling yourself to do?

Wilson:

’68 … I don’t know, I was working at the lab all day “(I need)” a place where a physicist can take account of music, celebration, and discover beauty, significance and in information about particles and the laws of physics. It should be a happy and democratic atmosphere at the laboratory. Every person should feel a part of the lab. Each should play a meaningful role in our policies and decisions will be simply, understandable, rational, fair. The laboratory should have a style — excitement, adventure, derring-do, gung-ho, common pride in what we do and how we do it … Sense of accomplishment. Not least, because it pervades the other points, I want the laboratory to be attractive. The site should be made beautiful by the use of trees, grass, and fields, water. Buildings should be functional but beautiful. I would sacrifice if necessary function for form. Just in case it doesn’t follow. “The — themselves should be sculptural and beautifully colored. Things shouldn’t just grow or be allowed just to grow. I would sacrifice part of the democratic principle of points 3 and 4 if necessary (not one?) to insure an attractive lab. But I fear both points are a necessary condition “I said to myself” for a truly beautiful place. Nor is necessary to mention the — in relation to — and quality (equality?). The other points would be unobtainable without equality and dignity.” Wow, what sanctimony! OK.

Hoddeson:

OK, well, great. Good session.

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