Oral History Transcript — Dr. Jack F. Evernden
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Interview with Dr. Jack F. Evernden
Jack F. Evernden; June 16, 1988
ABSTRACT: In 1965 Evernden, a Berkeley-trained seismologist became involved in the scientific-technical-political debate about the seismic detection of underground nuclear weapons tests. From 1965 to 1969 Evernden worked inside the Department of Defense as a seismological expert, first for the secret Air Force Technical Applications Center, later for the Advanced Research Projects Agency. He soon became convinced that only few seismologists were actively working towards a solution of the detection problem, and that a number of individuals tried to prevent such a solution to the test ban treaty issuEvernden Since then he has been an outspoken supporter of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a critic of the Department of Defense's work on seismic detection.
Background in seismology in Berkeley: Evernden got BS in mining geology, went to get a Ph.D. in geophysics; with [Perry] Byerly geophysics [at Berkeley] meant seismology; he became seismologist accidentally; he got Ph.D. with Perry Byerly; Byerly liked Evernden; Evernden worked for company [I can't understand for who, Standard Cal or Stanolin Cal, or something like that] for two years as geologist and then came back on Berkeley faculty; Evernden was on [Berkeley] faculty until January of 1965;
In 1965 he got committed to support test ban treaty, to stop "stupid testing"; says that US government argued that major stumbling block was seismological problem of detection, but Evernden is convinced that this was a lie: finally the Joint Chiefs admitted that [when ?]; Evernden: this was simply a technique to stall: Evernden argues that the President, State Department and DOD were all against it; E: State Dept. against it because the President was against it, President was against it because the Joint Chiefs, DOD, against it; and basic argument of DOD: dealing with mortal enemy and you don't tie one hand behind your back; E: of course we were not dealing with a mortal enemy, both sides just panicked; he didn't know all these things when he started in 1965 to work on the seismological problems of a comprehensive test ban treaty, "I knew I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't try to help."
Evernden took a job with [Carl] Romney at AFTAC [Air Force Technical Applications Center]; Evernden got his Ph.D. at Berkeley before Romney got his Ph.D. at Berkeley; Romney got his Ph.D. under Evernden; in 1965 Evernden wasn't aware of AFTAC's and Romney's high standing in nuclear test detection in seismology, but in hindsight, he says, he made the best decision for impacting the detection work by joining AFT AC; Romney gave him a position; Evernden went for three years, but had to resign from his tenured position at Berkeley, where he was already full professor since age dating of rocks, he revolutionized time scale of early man].
From rock dating to test ban issues: he was a seismologist by training; went back on the faculty in 1953, and he was supposed to replace Byerly, but at that time, Evernden says, seismology was a bore, wouldn't go anywhere; and he was also a geologist (had a BS in geology); guy in the physics building, physicist John Reynolds [?] introduced him to dating technique with mass spectrometer: potassium-argon technique; Evernden thought that this is a lot more fun than seismology; he switched to that technique for about 4 years: Byerly very disappointed, wouldn't speak to him, wouldn't invite him to faculty parties; by the time Byerly died, Evernden was back in seismology and back in Byerly's good graces; Evernden says that B. saw the contributions of his students in some sense as contributions by himself; Evernden about B.: "very insecure man."
Evernden not sure why test ban issues mattered so much for him; he felt that "testing nuclear weapons is insane and use of them was even beyond that and that I just should help"; so in spring in 1965 he went to AFTAC; Evernden had no contacts with test ban proponents in early 1960s like [Hans] Bethe: Evernden says he was always an individual doing his thing (Evernden met Bethe later, thought that Bethe is an "incredibly nice man, incredibly brilliant"); Evernden says at Berkeley there was nobody who gave a damn about the CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty], the faculty didn't know what it was and they didn't understand why he wanted to leave, and they were furious that he did; CTBT was not an item of discussion in the department, nobody ever talked about test ban.
Evernden says that [Frank] Press was a total disappointment in terms of his involvement in test ban issues Evernden: not one of Press's papers deals with the subject; the whole time he was at MIT he didn't do anything about test ban treaty; when Press was Science Advisor to [President Jimmy] Carter, Evernden says, Press was as weak as Carter; Evernden says that Carter is a very nice man, but as a president Carter was a total disaster, because Carter couldn't make up his mind; when Press became Science Advisor, there were hopes that there would be moves toward test ban treaty, but nothing happened: E says Press had no guts, so no move at all. Press also didn't do anything when he was head of the National Academy. Evernden tried during these years to get the NAS to have a review session on the status of seismology related to monitoring a test ban treaty: Press absolutely refused to do such a session, because, Evernden says, it was contentious; it would have challenged, Evernden says, what the president was saying, what State and DOD were saying, and according to Evernden, "that is not what Frank is into; Frank is not into I-see-some-noble-vision-out-there"; Evernden says "to hell with the big brass, I don't care about them, I am after truth, I am serving the American people"; when he worked for the DoD, he wanted to serve the American people, not the DoD.
Evernden says he destroyed the position of the Joint Chiefs on test ban issues: employees in the DoD called him a traitor, but the Air Force gave Evernden the Distinguished Service Award and the Joint Chiefs had him review a letter they were writing to the President and the letter said that in the past they supported a CTBT, but that that was totally based on the inability of seismology to monitor the treaty: now that seismology and Evernden have proven the monitor ability of a test ban treaty, we now assert that we are against a test ban treaty for other reasons; the Joint Chiefs wanted Evernden to sign off on this letter [he doesn't have this document, top secret, classified]; Evernden says that since that time the DoD had never made a statement about the non-monitor ability of a test ban treaty; E says DoD never made statements that the Russians are cheating on the test ban treaty, because Evernden (under Carder) proved that that simply was not true; Evernden has low opinion of Department of State ("bunch of sycophants"): they do what the president wants them to do; Evernden detests State, says that it is a hopeless place; Evernden says that DoD after Everndens work simply did not say anything about test ban treaty: they left it to the Secretary of State.
Evernden went to work with [Carl] Romney; Evernden claims that on virtually every technical issue relative to monitoring a test ban treaty, Carl [Romney] was wrong; he has no explanation to why that is: E says Romney is a bright enough guy; Evernden says that the seismological problems of monitoring were so easy, unlike what Romney claimed; Evernden says that all the Vela millions had been spent and that none of the seismologists at the universities had done anything about the monitoring; Evernden says that these seismologists didn't know more about how to approach the problem then Evernden did as a graduate student [early 1950s]; he remembers a meeting at Trieste where he talked to Leon Knopoff, and Evernden asked Knopoff why Vela and seismologists had made any contribution to solving the problem: and according to Evernden, Knopoff said: You don't understand: we learned early on that Romney was willing to give us the money, if we wouldn't work on the problem and so we wanted the money and we took the money, and nobody really ever cared. And we did seismology and did some good stuff there, but we didn't work on the problem, because we knew if we would work on the problem we wouldn't get any money next year.
Ms-mb seismic discriminant: Evernden asked people in Alexandria [Teledyne people?]: why didn't you guys do that years ago, this is so simple; and again, they told him that Romney had told them not to work on it; and they wanted to keep their contracts.
Evernden: Romney managed everyone, but Evernden felt independent: he says he could have gone back to Berkeley any time, he didn't have to take BS from Romney; Evernden says that Romney simply wouldn't review documents from his employees, if they talked about some advance in monitoring capabilities, Romney simply wouldn't look at them; Evernden refers to one of his first AFTAC technical reports (classified, all contents since then published): says that this paper widely distributed over Washington: Evernden says that this report broke Romney's dam; Evernden says he got this report reviewed only by asking Romney's boss, Doyle Northrup, to make Romney review it; according to Evernden, Evernden easily refuted Romney's critical comments, and Northrup distributed the report as it was (late 1965 or early 1966); Evernden says he totally embarrassed his boss Romney.
On onsite inspections: Evernden argues that the Russians would have bought 5-6 inspections, but not the number US hard-liners suggested, apparently again in order to shoot down the negotiations; it was assigned to Romney to describe search area and he described this tremendous area, thousands of square km for every test, and this was because of the alleged uncertainty in the location; Evernden: Romney knew from U2 pictures etc. and from AEDS [Atomic Energy Detection System] network that location uncertainty was only 6km; E: so the whole idea that there was this incredible uncertainty in the location was totally fallacious; Evernden got involved into this: Evernden says that they [AFTAC?] were using a totally wrong statistical model: they thought they had to use the F statistic, because they had only a small set of AEDS stations; Evernden says that he proved to them that this isn't true, because you have a vast amount of seismological data and you can get the true statistic for uncertainty in location out of the massive data, so the legitimate one to use is Chi-square statistic, even if you are only using 6 or 8 stations, because you know the standard deviation independently of that event, and that changed everything. Evernden asked them, why did you do this stupid mistake? And Romney said, says Evernden, that statisticians had told him to use the F statistic; Evernden says that a simple test was that all the explosions from Semipalatinsk were all located closely together: if F statistic were correct, the locations had to be all over the southeast Russia, but they weren't: they were all near the place which was known to be a test site; Evernden says all that is published [where?]; Evernden says that Romney did a variety of these dumb things; and that Romney always took the position that it was hard to monitor a test ban treaty.
Evernden says that president, State, DoD, listened only to AFTAC and that meant Romney; Northrup didn't know any seismology, didn't learn any, but for congressional hearings Northrup went, he insisted on giving testimony to assert his position, says Evernden; Evernden says that he never told Northrup the full story about Romney.
Who supported Evernden position? Lynn Sykes? Evernden: inside the government, Sykes is a nobody; Evernden wrote the technical report from AFTAC [late 1965 or early 1966]: it was distributed from AFTAC and deemed authoritativee Evernden.
On Paul Richards: Evernden says he is a nice man, but Evernden also says that Richards didn't contribute anything either that really helped to solve the problem (says again that he likes Richards a lot).
Evernden's criteria for who contributed [to solving the seismic detection problem]: those who lay their career on the line and were prepared to be fired and still tell the truth: Evernden names [Charles] Archambeau; Evernden says that he himself got close to being fired by Steve Lukasik from ARPA, because Lukasik was furious, according to Evernden, for solving the problem; Lukasik insisted on testifying in Geneva and talk about seismology (Evernden says that Lukasik is a bright guy, but he still didn't understand seismology); Evernden didn't like that and an article got in the Washington Post saying that Lukasik is going to DC to give US position on CTBT and didn't know the subject; Lukasik got angry, assuming that Evernden had leaked it to the press; so he tried to fire Evernden, but couldn't (must have been during Evernden's time at ARPA, 1969-71).
Evernden on Lukasik: says that Lukasik couldnt stand being battered in hearings, he never made it to become ARPA director, because he didn't have the nerves of steel; Phil Parley (Evernden admires him a lot, Parley wrote the defense of Oppenheimer); Evernden says that most seismologists wouldn't risk their positions, and therefore he didn't admire them; Sykes ultimately did, Evernden says: Sykes worked primarily on yield estimates, says that Sykes and coworkers published on criteria (similar to mb:Ms) before Evernden went to DC (before 1965); Romney had internal papers written (all wrong, according to Evernden) to refute Sykes's early paper.
Evernden emphasized again, that the only seismological voice listened to by the Government was AFTAC, and that he, Evernden, didn't know about that when he came to work for AFTAC by pure chance; because Evernden worked for AFTAC he was listened to; Evernden proved to Northrup that Romney was wrong and got it distributed; the whole idea of magnitude bias: Evernden says that Romney refused to accept that and Evernden says he himself doesn't know why Romney didn't except it.
Evernden says that while at ARPA some of his papers were not cleared in review, because they destroyed DoD position relative to CTBT; and Lukasik went to them [who are they?] and said that that is not a valid criterion and that they should clear Evernden's paper; and Lukasik got the papers cleared; at ACDA [Arms Control and Disarmament Agency] he had the same problem: his boss [first name Tom, with Ph.D. in astronomy, he didn't want to give full name] didn't want to clear one of Evernden's papers: E just published it.
Evernden cynical about people in DC: he says they go to DC primarily to have a job, and not primarily to serve the American people Barth: Did other academic seismologists support Evernden's findings? What about Jim Brune? Evernden: Jim Brune didn't do hardly anything: nothing on test ban issues; OTA [Office of Technology Assessment] report: critical paper according to Evernden was the one that Archambeau and Evernden did from Reviews in Geophysics: Evernden says that with this paper circulating in DC, all technical objections to CTBT stopped; E: it took fewer seismic stations inside the Soviet Union than inside the US to monitor down to a certain threshold: because magnitude-bias effect: horizontal propagation dies off rapidly [in Basin and Range Province].
Idea of station biases: Romney wouldn't buy it, Sykes came only years later; Evernden says that the Marsh-Evernden paper was a sensational paper [physics Today, August 1987: "Yields of US and Soviet nuclear tests"], they used all the explosions and comments about treaty and monitoring; refers to a guy whom they got a picture from (number of explosions per yield) who couldn't publish it in its original form but got the curve published in its derivative form, and Evernden simply integrated the curve and had the information recovered.
Evernden: a handful of guys made the test ban happen: includes Hazel O'Leary in his praise; talks about Livermore and about a guy who fought against the stalling of the director: Livermore couldn't fire guy [who was that and when?], because he was so bright, Livermore needed him to review; when the weapons labs lied about failing weapons, he was the one who argued against that; according to E, this guy killed the need for testing for a while and he had Congress ask the right questions; and Evernden says the Livermore director lied and lied and lied; Evernden thinks that Teller is an awful man.
Lynn Sykes had done discriminant "AR"; Ms:mb essentially the same thing, says Evernden; Evernden says that [L. Don] Leet had done good work on discriminants before that; I asked Evernden about Leet and his acceptance among seismologists and his fights with Maurice Ewing: Evernden says Lamont was Ewing, that the staff took orders from him, that Ewing insisted on having his name on all worthwhile papers [Evernden dismisses criticism of Leet as personal fights with Ewing, not scientific substance]; Evernden says that Leet got it right at least in one aspect and that he cited Leet in one of his first papers on test detection (JGR, 1969, 3828: "Identification of Earthquakes and Explosions by Use of Teleseismic Data"); Evernden says that Romney did "awful studies inside AFTAC" and published them as government reports, saying in effect that Leet was all wrong and within the government destroyed the whole of Leet's idea, but Romney did never publish anything were Leet could respond to: Evernden finds this "despicable"; when Evernden joined AFTAC, one of the first things Evernden did was to prove the AFTAC's critiques of Leet as totally wrong; then Evernden corrected them and then Ms:mb worked; Romney had this staff of Tech-Sergeants, bright young man, they had all the records, Evernden got them to measure all the Ms:mb's , it worked; Evernden doesn't remember any names of these Tech-Sergeants; Evernden emphasized that he and these Tech-Sergeants at AFTAC did the Ms:mb on old data (from early 1960s, before Evernden joined AFTAC): data that were used predated a document by Romney and AFTAC, which said that Ms:mb didn't work; some Congressman saw that and they gave AFTAC hell (according to Evernden): How could you give us this incorrect report two years ago, when you had data in file (now used by Evernden) which prove that your report was wrong; E: AFTAC got away with some story.
Evernden decided that he would have more impact on research program if he would be at ARPA [Advanced Research Projects Agency], because all the research money came through ARPA; Evernden says that Northrup was unhappy with Evernden leaving, that Evernden was on his way to becoming Northrup's assistant and that Evernden was going to review all the technical systems they were using for monitoring; but for retirement party of Northrup, Evernden was not invited: Evernden says that this is because Northrup was still unhappy that Evernden left; Evernden emphasizes that it was his own decision to go to ACDA [implying that he was not fired]; says that when he was at ARPA basically everything was technically done.
Who was at ARPA during Evernden's stay there? Lukasik was head of Nuclear Monitoring Research Office and Evernden was one of the program managers: Evernden says he was the only manager for seismology; all the company related stuff went through AFTAC, with the exception of few contracts.
Evernden wrote another AFTAC report, this one against Lukasik's concept to spread LASA's [Large Aperture Seismic Arrays] around the globe; Evernden says that LASA was totally mis-designed, designed by engineers and not by seismologists: Evernden says that with 60 seismometers they would get the dB gain they could get, so the 525 seismometers of LASA was a waste: they were too close together; Lukasik was furious but he got NORSAR [Norwegian Seismic Array] built, but NORSAR had input from seismologists and was properly designed, Evernden says.
Says that LASA mis-designed, at NORSAR each half got ?n improvement, but the signal shape is different on the two sides, so it never made the ?n improvement; Evernden says that the smaller arrays with 25 elements reached ?n; demolished Lukasik's argument for more LASA's; for the smaller arrays you could guarantee geological uniformity underneath them: and what you needed was a group of those to monitor the whole world; stations inside the Soviet Union never a real problem with the Soviets, says Evernden: there was a time when they would have accepted 15 manned stations inside, but, says Evernden, US killed that with insistence on onsite inspections, and after that Soviet Union hardened up.
Evernden says that the whole threshold was phony: just a device to prevent test ban, just demand lower and lower thresholds; Evernden says they now bought off the weapons labs by guaranteeing jobs for life.
Evernden says he made Alewine III, angry (Evernden calls him one of the most dishonest and despicable man, he lied to support position of DoD; Evernden says that Archambeau and Evernden called him a liar in meetings; Alewine probably responsible for Evernden not being invited to other test ban treaty conferences: Evernden says that every seismologist of status was invited, but he wasn't.
Interaction with academic seismologists in the mid-1960s; [Jack] Ruina was in think tank for DoD, right across the street from Pentagon: he had so-called Ruina Panels: one was on seismology and Evernden gave a lengthy presentation and according to Evernden, Ruina was enthralled, because here was somebody who said we can do something (Oliver and Press were on that panel: Evernden says that they had never questioned Romney), so Ruina had never heard anything positive; Press apparently got up and said that what Evernden had shown was shown years ago, and Evernden replied, yes, but why has it not entered this room? Why has it not become the position of the US government that these things are true? (Late 1965).
Evernden and Romney co-authored the paper that shot down the multiple LASA concept; Evernden totally against LASA concept, thinks that it was stupid: each sub-array was a spiral, had nothing to do with maximizing signal to noise ratio, and that was what Romney was furious about.
Evernden says that AEDS stations are by far the best stations in the world; at NORSAR Geotech [The Geotechnical Corporation] made measurements of noise coherence and signal coherence: they found that if the instruments got about 4 km apart, they still had total signal coherence; the Geotech people also did noise surveys of all the AEDS stations: designed to maximize signal-to-noise (S-N) ratio; Evernden against very deep hole seismographs: he says there is no logic whatsoever in building a 10,000 foot hole in granite, because the 1 sec noise is horizontally propagating phases which die out soon with depth; so Evernden says that he showed to Romney that in the 15,000 foot borehole that the S-N was the same on the bottom as on the top; E: drilling these boreholes total waste of time; origin of noise: vertically traveling noise from storm cells at sea (Teledyne people found that); Evernden: when physicists saw how good seismometers were they could hardly believe it: few angstroms; E: for LASA they bought junk: instruments, because the good ones were too expensive; instruments Romney had were developed by Teledyne, superb instruments (new design, not Benioffs, which were too bulky; borehole Benioffs were abandoned soon).
AEDS stations: seismometers a little bit underground, one set 3 component long period instruments and a dozen or so short period; low noise sites; using develocorders (photographic records, all the instruments of the array on display at the same time; about 15 min before on display; incredibly good timing, the high amplitude, narrow traces: makes it easier to determine where a signal starts); Evernden's attitude towards his boss, Romney: "I quit if you don't like what I do"; Evernden got the standard deviation of the travel time curve residuals down to 0.1 sec; talked something about "master events" [I was not sure what he was trying to say here].
E: Romney never tried to mess up the data, he would only deliberately misinterpret the data, but he built great stations; Evernden: Romney didn't drill 10,000 feet holes to mess up anything: Evernden believes that Romney believed that this was a valid approach; E: after he had pointed out to Romney the fruitlessness of the deep holes, Romney abandoned the concept; AEDS got steerable arrays.
Evernden says that AFTAC had very smart tech-sergeants; all the stations staffed by these intelligent young Air Force guys, who had no formal training in geophysics; Romney gave them all the training they needed; no atmospheric signals [after LTBT in 1963] but quite a few seismic signals.
The Russians were shooting on the hour, but then they were starting to shoot off the hour irregularly: Evernden says the Soviets had probably learned the code that was sent out from Wiesbaden to all AEDS stations in Eurasia, and they might have learned about the locations of all the AEDS stations; Evernden tells story of how "we" [AFTAC?] intercepted Soviet radio messages and read their seismograms. Evernden says that to this day the Soviets have not published anything on this subject [of seismic monitoring]; I asked about contacts to Soviet seismologists like Keilis-Borok (E: Keilis-Borok is a "quack": he never did anything; Riznichenko and Pasechnik? E: they didn't do much; Evernden went to Russia once, gave unclassified presentation, and says he got good questions from apparently secret people, apparently from the Institute of Physics of the Earth: so there is a classified section of seismology in Soviet Union; Evernden thinks they have headquarter in Alma Ata[?].
[at AFTAC] Evernden worked on capabilities of a network; he used location program; against different kind of criteria, and different signal detection, LP detection, SP detection etc.; Evernden: in the two years he was there he says he changed about everything they did; Evernden refers to Romney's paper on combination of strain rod and pendulum.
Romney never put in any rods in these stations: Evernden suggested to put in three rods to get SN improvement similar to long-period [LP] array; Romney had Teledyne built strain rods which had identical frequency response to the inertial instruments; Evernden: Romney never installed them in the AEDS; Evernden: he did a lot of other fancy things at these sites which cost a lot of money, so money was not the issue; E: Romney spent a lot of money on short-period [SP] array processors and instruments to buy 2 dB signal gain; Evernden: but Romney shut down the strain rods, which would have given 6 dB, not even analyzing the data.
Station locations are probably still classified today: reason of classification: stations were in critical places [likely in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan]; AFTAC tried to get the locations declassified; Evernden said the Russians knew anyway were the stations were; the countries in which the stations were located refused to have them declassified because they didn't want it officially known that they had a US station on their territory monitoring Russia.
Russians during this time would publish travel times, but not station magnitudes; Evernden worked to use these data to calibrate for magnitude bias; Evernden says that Romney's staff believed in the magnitude bias, but that Romney would not let them use them: when he reported magnitudes and yields up to Washington he always presumed no bias, so he always reported yields several times too high; this led Congress to believe that Russians were testing over yield [over 150 kt]; Romney would accept the concept of station bias only very late (he had a group at AFTAC with a Fred Zimmerman or so from ACDA); E: ultimately Romney was totally discredited as a source; E: nobody doubts now the station bias (says that the paper in Physics Today was final proof); Evernden says that his long paper in Reviews of Geophysics and the Physics Today article, on monitor ability and yield estimation and whether the Russians had cheated respectively, ended the debate about seismic monitoring capabilities.
Evernden went to ARPA to direct the research program, and he published papers during that time.
Evernden arranged a meeting in Woods Hole (1970-1): Evernden says it was a great meeting; Evernden wrote a summary of that and published the papers given; summary was approved by participants: said that you could monitor down to magnitude 4; Evernden: "Lukasik was out of his head, because that exposed him"; Lukasik apparently had argued for a monitor ability down to 4.5; Evernden: Lukasik felt that the summary and statement about monitor ability down to 4 assaulted him; he was very angry and tried to get the summary removed from all of the volumes: he apparently had the address list of all the volumes and ordered the recipients to get rid of the summary; one of the copies without the outline was sent to Senator Case from New Jersey and he was interested in this and he saw the outline removed and he was out of his mind; and the whole story became a big flurry; Bill Best published the volumes; some of the volumes with the summary got out; Lukasik tried to track all copies down; Lukasik gave testimony in Congress and Case asked him about it and Lukasik apparently said that some unqualified lower person in ARPA had published that and it was not correct [check the 1971 JCAE hearings]; few years later Evernden testified for ACDA and both Lukasik and Case were present, but Evernden didn't bring up this point again.
At ACDA Evernden worked a lot on network capability; Evernden said that his findings were confirmed; Evernden mentions Livermore seismology group, which worked with an ARPA contract on unclassified issues relevant to detection problem; this Livermore group was organized when they thought there might be a big PNE [peaceful Nuclear Explosion] program, monitoring PNEs; Evernden says he helped kill the US PNE program; Evernden says that he did a lot of things that made people mad at him.
Evernden says that while still at Berkeley he was nominated three times for the National Academy, but was shot down by David Griggs (Evernden wrote a paper, and apparently had criticized Griggs's professor, a Frenchman); Evernden: NAS is a disgusting organization: one vote against you and you are out, and Evernden says that Griggs black-balled Evernden's nomination three times (Evernden never met Griggs personally); and at a later occasion he blasted Griggs publicly, knowing that that would prevent him to become a member of the Academy for the next twenty years.
Interaction with Bill Best and AFOSR [Air Force Office of Scientific Research] and E and ARPA; Evernden reviewed what Best did; Evernden has very little respect for peer review panels; Best had a peer review panel: and Best never made any opinions [he relied on his advisory panel]; Evernden said that he let Best go the way he suggested; Evernden always went to the meetings of the peer review panel; as ARPA manager Evernden was funding AFOSR and university contracts; according to Evernden, Best never really got into seismology.
Evernden: Vela revolutionized seismology around the world; Vela also paid for a few foreign contracts, and it paid for graduate students, and all of a sudden there were many new graduate students in seismology; when Evernden went to school there were hardly any graduate students in seismology, and only a handful of places to go to: Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley, not even Caltech really (Benioff had one grad student in his life [Stewart Smith?], Gutenberg was not into graduate students either); Evernden: Caltech changed in seismology after Don Anderson was hired; when Evernden was in grad school, there were not many graduate students coming out of Caltech (later Don Anderson, Charles Archambeau etc.).
U Michigan: John DeNoyer, David Willis: Evernden: they didn't do anything (DeNoyer got his degree in Berkeley under Byerly and went into seismology, was always on great terms with Byerly); Evernden: his criterion is: did these people write papers which were critical and forcing the US government to move on a CTBT and to make the US government admit that you can monitor a treaty: nothing done from U Michigan.
Canadian Gov. (when Evernden was still at ARPA) gave a presentation at Geneva wanting the world to move on a CTBT, they used basically only Evernden's papers: there were no any other papers; Evernden was the only out there who had the position and who wanted the treaty ("other guys were just doing jobs, it wasn't important [for them]);" Evernden says that many of his peers simply didn't have the brains to solve the problem one by one.
Evernden emphasizes how he solved technical problems one by one in rock dating.
Evernden says that Archambeau's contribution was on the theoretical side, writing the theory of the seismic source (explosion and earthquakes); Evernden: and it's correct, and it's beyond what most seismologists can grasp; many today don't accept it because they cannot read it; Archambeau's theory very influential: one needed a theoretical basis for discriminants (frequency content as function of magnitude, how this changes when you go from a long rupture to a short rupture); in their common paper in Reviews of Geophysics Evernden and Archambeau showed that there is a sound theoretical basis for all the criteria.
Perry Byerly and Geneva Conference: Byerly showed Evernden a letter which B. submitted to the Regents of the University: in this letter B. expressed his views about what went on at that meeting: Evernden remembers that B was quite amazed that the Americans were presenting the position that capability to technical monitor a test ban treaty was a necessity for a treaty; the Soviets on the other hand did not even have seismologists there [not quite true]; Evernden: it was clear that the Russian thought that the criteria for signing the test ban treaty were totally different, political motivation which had nothing to do with seismology; so Byerly said that the two groups were basically talking past each other, nothing was going anywhere.
Evernden never talked with Byerly why B. disliked the Vela Uniform Program, why he was not more involved in that (during these years they were not on speaking terms, not one word for years).
Decoupling: only important for Evernden when tests were done, monitoring those coupled explosions; says decoupling factor is only 70, nobody knows quite why; Evernden doesn't believe that decoupling was ever a serious argument, Evernden became very cynical about US government: Evernden says US government simply didn't want the treaty and used pseudo-technical arguments to prevent a treaty (especially clear after the Joint Chiefs admitted to that).
Eisenhower and CTBT: Evernden says that Eisenhower never supported a test ban treaty while he was in office [that is of course wrong]; only when he had left; Evernden says that Eisenhower had discussed these issues but didn't go anywhere because Eisenhower insisted on the technical issues.
Glen Seaborg: Evernden: when Seaborg was head of the ABC he totally bought off on the government position, was supportive of not negotiating the treaty, supportive of continuing testing, but shortly after leaving ABC he came out in support of the test ban treaty; Evernden very angry about Seaborg: Seaborg could have done something when he was in power; afterwards it didn't mean anything to be in support of the treaty; others at Berkeley (tall thin guy, Nobel Laureate) supported the treaty all along.
Evernden: Kennedy was for the treaty; Jerome Wiesner liked very much Evernden's high-frequency work, presented at MIT (probably): according to Evernden, Wiesner said that we could have a CTBT early, but when Kennedy was pushing for test ban treaty and he got no opinions from outside the Beltway and the opinion he got was that the technical basis for monitoring was not sufficient; Evernden says that we were damn close to getting a CTBT if Kennedy would have listened to outside opinions.
How were first weeks and months at AFTAC for Evernden? Evernden: Some meetings with Romney. Evernden was astonished about their ignorance: says that AFTAC hadn't learned anything beyond what Evernden knew from grad school: all the Vela money had not contributed to the capability; Romney wanted to show him one secret thing AFTAC had: they took p-wave seismograms from their stations, they take a piece of tissue paper, and they line up all the seismograms from the network of stations with their start time of p: to detect pP, that was the extent of secret ability [implying that that was next to nothing]; Evernden expected when he went to AFTAC to learn a lot of new techniques etc. and was flabbergasted to see how little they knew: he contributed within two months after his arrival at AFTAC; one of the first things he did at AFTAC was to review the deep borehole experiments (done by Teledyne, Evernden thinks they had no clue); they [AFTAC?] never had a careful curve of yield vs. magnitude; even the yield estimate was just half-baked; there was a theoretical argument for a bend in the yield vs. magnitude curve; AFTAC used this one curve for explosions all over the world based on NTS data, when it takes multiple curves (for all the different geological structures); Teledyne worked on analysis of seismograms for depth estimate; Evernden: they were using a wrong travel time curve; LRSM: first deployment were profiles away from NTS: the resulting travel time curve was totally different from the one AFTAC was using, different by seconds [implying that this was a lot of difference]; as soon as they got the travel time curve right you ended up getting the right depths.
Evernden tells story of three physicists who would shoot down bad papers at AGU [American Geophysical Union] meetings, tough nosed characters who just wanted to raise the standard, not personally against a speaker: Evernden says that he always lived under this discipline and that he didn't find this discipline at AFTAC; Evernden: AFTAC was such a closed group, with Carl Romney the only trained seismologist in the group, and his group didn't do some of the most obvious things either; and the external community didn't even know which problems to work on, nothing was in the open literature and nothing was going on; the external people [at Universities, I guess] didn't know what was going on in AFTAC research, didn't know what Romney knew, didn't know how big the internal program was (Evernden says there was virtually no internal program at AFTAC) and it was clear to the academics that Romney didn't want to solve the problem and that the money came from Romney and they were afraid that if they worked on it they wouldn't get their money, so they did good seismology and forget about the detection issue; Evernden says that this was an environment designed to not solve the problem; Evernden: says he couldn't believe it when he was there for the first weeks; finally he accepted the fact that AFTAC didn't know anything beyond what he knew; says that Press and Oliver didn't do anything about it either, the same was true for [Eugene] Herrin.
Says that classification "Secret" meant that the agency just didn't want this document to get around but that it didn't mean that there was anything important in it.
Talks about two AFTAC reports: first Ms-mb and showing that there were ways to discriminate, and second, demolishing the worldwide LASA and a second part he can't recall.
Evernden only kept his published articles, no other material (tells story that Seaborg had kept notes about every day of his life since age 14; Evernden thought that this was totally incomprehensible to him).
Short list of critical people: Evernden, Archambeau, Paul Richards (also talk to Paul Pomeroy), who was at ACDA, but he came later, mid 1970s.
Again on his differences with Steve Lukasik: when it became time to choose new director of NMRO [Nuclear Monitoring Research Office], Evernden thought that he would be it but Lukasik picked another guy [who 1] and Evernden decided it was time to go.
Evernden's funding policy when he was ARPA manager. Evernden: he funded guys who would do something useful for detection; says that Keitel Aki tried to help Evernden That Aki worked on the problem; commercial contracts, some with Texas Instruments: Evernden says that he got far better work from them then from the universities: the academics wanted the money to support graduate students; Evernden said that Tom McEvilly was one of those: he never did anything useful for the program; Evernden says that McEvilly could have done something for the program (Evernden says he likes McEvilly a lot).
Evernden liked to support research on surface waves (while he was ARPA manager), working on discriminants; Evernden says that many (academics) would do their own thing and not taking the Vela program anywhere; Evernden said that he felt we would waste the public's money if we don't work on the detection problem.
Talks about rumors about doomsday missile to be launched in case the Russians would win, last resort; missile somewhere buried on NTS; and Evernden was asked to develop techniques for deep drilling for whole of such a rocket; Evernden felt guilty working on this project.
Evernden talks about how he made another enemy, this time at UC San Diego: an eminent scientist made a nonsense proposal to Lukasik for a lot of money, for the "Water Vela"; he shot it down.
Evernden talks about Lukasik testifying in Congress [probably 1971 hearings] to the effect that he saw no real hope of detecting underground explosions; and then he added a last sentence that there might be techniques out there yet unexplored; and according to Evernden, that sentence negated everything he had presented before in the eyes of the senators.
Says that the technical advice to the government is so bad;
Says that conservatives had deliberately infiltrated ACDA;
Evernden was at Geneva once or twice testifying that monitoring possible down to a decoupled kiloton and then John Foster said that Russians could do significant research at 0.25 kt (Evernden: that's a lie); Evernden totally disenchanted about politics; he is totally angry that nobody really cared about the detection problem, that some came to Geneva because they liked the place.