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Interview of Joanne Day by Catherine Westfall on 2009 May 6,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,
For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.
Interview focuses on the time she spent working with the top manager who made the Advanced Photon Source (APS) possible, in particular Alan Schriesheim and David Moncton. She had a front row seat for many important decisions, she has keen insights into the problems and personalities of the times, and she makes important points about the "culture clashes" between the various groups at the laboratory during the design and construction of the APS.
Maybe you could start by talking about how you got into working with accelerator development. I believe you said it was with the Zero Gradient Synchrotron (ZGS).
Yes. In 1967 I came to work at the laboratory at Argonne, and with the ZGS organization, the Zero Gradient Synchrotron, which was a high-energy physics accelerator, and spent many years in that organization: from the time I went to work with the ZGS to the time when I left the ZGS. ZGS had in fact outlived its usefulness, so to speak, and was in a shut-down mode. Although I remained in the High Energy Physics Division, which was doing science at other accelerators and a lot of non-accelerator based science as well.
Right, they did some of the early experiments in mines, right?
Yes, the Sudan Mine, for example. And I was the Assistant Division Director, so I was in the administrative side of the house, although I always enjoyed the hardware, looking at the machine and the development of the machine and such. So at the time that the Advanced Photon Source was under development, basically in the conceptual stage, and it was called the 6 GeV — they hadn’t invented the Advanced Photon Source (APS) name yet. As it was being formed, it was really a group of guys housed over in the Physics Division. Let’s see if I can remember who all they were. Yang Cho was certainly the accelerator physicists more or less driving it. There was Ed Crosbie, Tat Khoe, Bob Kustom. I’m not sure Bob was in that particular group in the Physics Division. Yang and Ed and Tat eventually transferred from the Physics Division into the High Energy Physics Division, and when they did that, we became reacquainted. They were working on the conceptual design for the 6 GeV accelerator and hoped to put it forward in a proposal. So they had been working on that for quite some time, and it got down to the point that they were going to put together the document.
This is the conceptual design report?
The first one — there were more than one. So the very first one. They were having problems actually producing the report. And so Yang came down and asked me if I would take over pushing this through, which I did.
Is this when Alan Schriesheim was director?
I think Alan was the director at that time.
Because he talked about in an early phase when he was first director, making the decision to put a lot of his discretionary funds, so-called “LDRD” funds
Exactly. That’s what they were living on. There were two kinds of discretionary funding at that time. One was LDRD money, Laboratory Directed Research and Development; and then the other one was called PDF funds, which was Program Development Funding. And in the case of the PDF funding, it was at the discretion of the associate laboratory director. He could dedicate a certain amount of funds that he derived from taxes on his program to whatever programs he thought he wanted to sponsor. So the LDRD money that Schriesheim was contributing and the Program Development Funds contributed by Ken Kliewer — that was how these three guys were living in the High Energy Physics Division.
This must have been in the early ’80s.
Yes it was. So they were not getting really any funding from the Department of Energy for this activity at the time. So they were sort of going through the conceptual design of this machine, and at the same time, in parallel, a group in the Material Science Division led by Gopal Shenoy was making the scientific case for the machine. So it was an interesting dynamic. There were the material science guys, who were small science guys, bench science, laboratory type science, and the high-energy physics renegades, who were part of the big science world, who thought big — big machines, big team, big everything. So it was an interesting dynamic between these two groups, because they didn’t have the same culture. It was interesting to watch the clashes that resulted. You know, the high-energy physics people were used to working in a world where if your accelerator went down, you spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until you got it fixed and back up and running. And the material science guys had never faced that sort of situation, so they didn’t get the fact that the accelerator group was prepared to work through Christmas vacations and Saturday and Sunday until 11:00 at night. So there was a lot of that kind of tension between them.
Now the material science people at this point are mainly condensed matter physicists, like Gopal, right?
Yes, and the people that were working with Gopal: Jim Viccaro comes to mind. So the upshot of this was there were two documents that came out of this process to put together a proposal that they could put forth to the agency: the Conceptual Design Report and a document for the scientific case. And so we were involved in getting that done. And then Ed Temple came into the picture. It was his committee that then was charged with coming back and reviewing the proposal and judging whether it was feasible, doable, and worthy of support. At the time, Ed was the head of the construction office of what is now the Office of Science. DOE had done assessments before Ed. But nobody ever approached it the way he did, with his army of people and the expectation that they would work practically 24 hours a day to get the review done. He was so energetic, and it was just an amazing experience to run into Ed in that capacity with his people. So they were out and reviewed the proposed program.
Ed told me about the beginning of these Temple reviews, and that nothing this rigorous had existed before. This was a new initiative for accountability that was created at the Department of Energy at just this time.
I think when they came to do the first review of the 6 GeV machine, they had just come from a highly intensive review that they had done in California. I’m not sure what machine they were reviewing. It might have been the early proposals for the superconducting supercollider. And we had gotten horror stories from California about what to expect when Ed came marching into town with this army.
I remember that slightly earlier he had gone to the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory to do a review, and they said in order to check for how many people the site could accommodate he was counting parking spaces.
Well, but that’s important at Berkeley, because they’re aren’t enough!
Yes! And apparently at the time the SSC proposal that is taking all the oxygen out of the air.
And taking the heat, which I’ve always thought that one of the reasons Argonne was so successful in getting the Advanced Photon Source though the funding process is that the SSC was out there getting beat up right, left, and center. So we just sort of coasted along under the radar.
Schriesheim says the same thing.
Because I was a part of the high-energy physics world at one time and had run the Snowmass meeting where the SSC was born, I had sort of a vested interest in following the process of that in the machine, and comparing notes with people I knew who were trying to get that approved and through Congress. And I was very grateful that they were leading the charge and that our Argonne project were under the radar. [Laughter] It was so clear that that was the case. So we went through the first Temple review of the proposal, the first conceptual design report. It was maybe the mid-1980s by now. I’ve got one of the original copies of that proposal. The thing I remembered the most about it was that there was a big disagreement about what the cover should look like, what the cover should be. Yang liked blue and Ken Kliewer liked green. It sounds so trivial, with all of the important science that was contained within the covers, but believe me, it gave me a lot of heartburn trying to find a cover that they both could agree on!
I ran into Gopal yesterday, and he said, “You know, there were a lot of big egos involved.”
Yes there were. So anyway, we passed the Temple review. And he was supportive of the project, in the end. But of course you’re never done — then the next review comes along and you start all over again.
So you’re helping prepare all the paperwork and arrangements for these reviews.
Yes, and you had to have a lot of supporting information, like an independent cost review estimate. And so I recall that the amount of documentation that we produced for the first Temple review, if you stacked it up, would probably be a foot high, with all the necessary information. And then of course there were all the other arrangements to be made to accommodate the reviewers. Ed brought his own secretarial force with him, so it was a very big deal and very intensive. So no sooner were we done with one review, then we had to get ready for the next one, and in the meantime, make all the revisions to satisfy what the reviewers said. The second Conceptual Design Report was about two years later, and by that time Ken Kliewer had left the laboratory, so the cover was just blue and we didn’t have to worry about that, at least! [Laughter]
I have one of them. They’re available online actually, so I think I have an ’84 and an ’87 I believe.
Yes, maybe it was ’87. By that time, David Moncton had come to be the Associate Laboratory Director.
And it was at first supposed to be temporary.
He started out, yes, oscillating back and forth between his old job and Argonne. Then when he became the Associate Laboratory Director, I was offered the job to leave the High Energy Physics Division and go to work for David in the ALD office, which I did. That was about the time of the second Temple review, so that was probably in 1987. Because I recall the amount of paper we had generated for the second review was like three times the height of the first review. We stacked them up together, and somewhere there’s a photograph that was taken of the stack of paper for the first one and the stack of paper for the second one, and there was a big difference.
I remember I could stack the CDR or the conceptual report from Fermilab, and again, it’s probably not a foot. Somebody showed me what it was for the SSC, and it was like a whole shelf.
Amazing. I was actually doing a Snowmass meeting. I did four Snowmass meetings when I was working with the high-energy physics community. The first one was what I would term the “Kill ISABELLE” meeting, and it was an invitation-only meeting because they didn’t want to stack the deck with too many guys from Brookhaven while they were reviewing the future projects at high-energy physics. Then it sort of evolved every two years from there, and the last Snowmass meeting I did (there were a couple after that) was when the site had been announced. Well I guess it hadn’t been announced as Texas, but the indications were that it was going to be Texas because George H. W. Bush was on the Republican nominee and Lloyd Bentsen was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Democrats, and both were from Texan. So the guys that were from Texas showed up at the meeting with their 10-gallon hats, saying, “We got it.” We all knew the site was going to be in Texas. But the non-site-specific design reports that were produced at Berkeley by that group of dedicated people who got A’s later was astounding. They came out to Snowmass with these boxes and boxes and boxes.
Maury Tigner, et al.
Maury. What a great job. What a nice guy. It was unfortunate that they didn’t pay more attention to those guys after they had sacrificed so much of their personal lives for the cause, and then sort of got pushed to the side. So anyway, back to APS. So we finished the design report — Ed was again leading the charge — and started getting a trickle of funding.
It says that March 1986, after standard detailed DOE review and requests for minor changes, DOE approved the CDR.
It was for $6 million, or something like that.
Right. And DOE fully authorized the project.
I have the graph that I have kept all of these years and still have it that has our funding pattern. If memory serves me, the original amount of funding we got was about $6 million, which meant we still had to do what was necessary to get the serious funding, including congressional approval.
You’re absolutely right. Actually it’s the fall of 1989. I knew I’d seen that $6 million. Actually in ’86 you got less than $6 million. It was in ’89 you got $6 million.
$6 million was the first amount of the construction funding that came in.
And in ’86 you got a little bit of R&D funding.
We got R&D funding, and Gopal got some funding for building the material science case or experiments that demonstrated —
Building the user program stuff.
What do you remember of the Trivelpiece Plan, the deal that Al Trivelpiece cut with the laboratory directors so that Argonne was in line to get the Advanced Photon Source.
I remember that that was what allowed a laboratory, i.e. Argonne, to get the project. And Argonne really needed a big project at that time. I mean Argonne really needed a shot in the arm for its scientific program.
Yes, I was surprised but as an historian happy that Schriesheim said, “When I became director, Argonne was the sick man of the DOE lab system.”
They had had hearings about whether or not to close Argonne a number of years earlier. And it was sort of interesting, because the mood at Argonne was: “Oh well, we are the step-child of the system.” And a lot of people at the laboratory didn’t give the 6 GeV machine a chance of getting approved. I mean they just couldn’t believe that Argonne could actually pull it off. That amazed me.
This was internal people?
Yes, it was Argonne people.
They were just demoralized?
Oh yeah. Argonne really, really was. And it was so sad to see people saying, “Well, good try. You know, but of course…” Because Argonne had gotten aced on a lot of other machines. Fermilab did a disservice Argonne’s High Energy Physics Division by giving them the hope of collaborative activity, building a new machine that the Argonne people put a lot of work into. And then they didn’t follow through.
And the Zero Gradient Synchrotron had been a disappointment in many ways.
It hadn’t produced the science that they had hoped for. And it was built in such a manner that it was probably never going to be a really good contender. So the mood at the laboratory was rather fatalistic.
That is fascinating, because that certainly is not something anybody else has mentioned. Like when I talked with Cho, it was like, “Oh I had this idea in the control room at Aladdin, and the next thing you know I had this great machine…” That’s what he remembers.
I will tell you that there was a lot of negativism — cautious negativism, I would call it, around the laboratory about the changes of this actually coming off. As you say, there are egos involved, so there were people that were very negative about the people that were designing this, because there were jealousies.
What I think is so interesting is that clearly Schriesheim set his cap for it, and very early on Kliewer told the materials science community, “We intend to build a 6 GeV.” And then Schriesheim would tell the Board of Directors, “This is a high-stakes gamble.” That is the exact quote.
They were putting a lot of money in it.
He was putting a lot of his LDRD chips into it.
But he was not convinced, and his instincts were good, that the nuclear program was going to survive, and of course it didn’t.
No, it’s absolutely true. If it hadn’t been for Alan’s support, I suspect the project would have floundered. And I’m not talking about Alan and his administration being negative. They weren’t. I’m talking about the man on the street around the laboratory, people who had seen so many project proposals…
How about the Materials Science Division? Was there negativity within the MSD?
I wasn’t very involved with the MSD. I was more on the high-energy physics side of the house. I don't know what the attitudes were over there. But I do know that it was amazing to a lot of people that this thing actually got pulled off when the approval came in. We had a big party. We had a “thanks for helping us get started” party at one point at time for all the people that really did go out of their way. And I mean we’re talking about people in graphic arts and people in security. You know, the support side of the house that was there to help us along, we threw a party for them.
There seems to be a culture at the APS — and before that at the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source, that is very appreciative of support, help, and users. And the outreach to users, anyway, was not so usual within the materials science community. But there seems to have genuinely been outreach at Argonne.
Well, I think one of the things that was very, very smart on the part of David Moncton and Gopal was to involve the user community from the get-go, because they were certainly a strong supporting voice through the funding process in Washington, and have been important all along. You know, they were willing to go out there and meet with the delegations and other congressional people. But they were given a voice in the design of the machine, and they had a lot of workshops to develop the science that would be produced with the APS. But also to get their views about what they thought the design of the machine should be. I know that they were out there taking the pulse of the user community all the time to see what they wanted, what they would be comfortable with. They also got input from users about the physical plant, in particular the lab office modules that they built because users had been operating at other accelerators where they didn’t have any room to maneuver. I mean you came with your experiment, you tried to find some lab to sponsor something to do whatever it was you had to do, and then you went home. The whole concept of building the experiment hall with these pentagon buildings attached around the outside developed so that the users could opt to rent and set up shop. That was a huge improvement for users. The Guest House on site was born of the desire of scientists to have a convenient place to live.
Doesn’t it belong to the State of Illinois, I know because there’s a big plaque at the Guest House.
Oh yes. This is an interesting story in its own right. And you can thank Yang Cho for this, and the SSC. During the early first conceptual design activity, the SSC was going down the same path, and of course all the states were throwing in all these guarantees of infrastructure improvements and things like that, if the SSC would just come and be built in their state. So Yang and these guys got the bright idea that let’s get Illinois to throw something in the pot for APS, and so they got Jim Thompson to write a letter, saying that if the 6 GeV accelerator came to Illinois, the state would provide the money for a user residence facility. Then the question was how much money would it take to build a user residence facility. I think the guy that was around at the time pulled the number out of the sky. Maybe this didn’t happen with the first design; maybe it was the second one. So that went on record. Then life went on, and the Illinois government changed. We went from Jim Thompson to Jim Edger, who was very budget conscious — a very good governor, but very budget conscious. People weren’t doing anything to pick up the IOU from the state because they were busy doing everything else. So then finally, they decided to talk to the state about honoring the promise, because by that time Argonne had the project, and amazingly to me, because I was pretty sure it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, the state honored the commitment and we did get funding to build the Guest House, which we then had to design. Again with the users in mind, we had to be very careful about how the rooms were constructed so that they would be as soundproof as possible and that the blackout shades would be there because experimenters might want to sleep during the day and experiment at night. And we installed the internet — in those days it was a big deal to have Internet connections in the rooms. So that was all essentially born of the desire to hold the state hostage for something to sweeten the pot for the APS to come to Illinois, although maybe there wasn’t such a big competition out there, given Alan’s deal with other labs, but the state didn’t know that.
How did you get the idea in the first place to have the Guest House?
Well it’s interesting, because one of the things that happened early on was that I went around and visited the lodging facility at Brookhaven and talked to the guy who was running that. And of course they have the same problem in that they are constrained. And Argonne had an early lodging facility over in the 600 area that was essentially run at a loss all the time, and was in competition with the rest of the laboratory for any kind of funding that they needed to fix a roof or refurbish, so they were in a poor financial situation all the time. I found out when I was at Brookhaven that it was very important not to undercut the private sector, so we had to be very careful how to set rates. So armed with that knowledge, we were looking into how to make arrangements for the Guest House. Early on we came to the decision that we would have it run by contract with a professional organization, so we wound up with Sodexo running this hotel. It’s a long and convoluted story about how the facility came to look like it does; it could have been very different. This is a no-cost contract, running this hotel — it doesn’t cost the DOE any money, and that’s very important. The contractor withstood a loss for the first year, because we lost money the first year. So that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been able to maintain this building the way it is and keep it upgraded. This is run in a professional sense. I wasn’t in favor of it for a long time, but they took over the management of the 600 area as well and made it student housing. Now originally those hotel units in the 600 area were built for those performing ZGS experiments. That’s how that area came to be. And I don’t even know where the funding came for those units. It must have been Department of Energy funding, or Atomic Energy Commission funding at the time. But then there is the original building and the swimming pool at the Freund Lodge, which you should look at because it’s such a charming place. It was the summer home of the Freund family, a family that became wealthy from the invention of the skinless hotdog. It was built because the Freund family had this great love of Alice in Wonderland, so the original property had the statutes of the various characters in Alice in Wonderland sprinkled through the woods, and you’d walk the trails and come upon these things. It was really pretty cool. The Freund Lodge is just a wonderful, charming place. That area and the Freund Lodge are also operated by the contractor. So the state of Illinois made good on its promise of funding for this hotel, hence the plaque out there. George Ryan was governor at the time it was completed and came to the dedication ceremony. And the Guest House has proven to be a great resource for the whole laboratory. It took a long time for the rest of the laboratory to feel like they wanted to have their people stay here, because this is for the APS. The mood evolved. At first there was a willingness to help you get started. Then once construction money started coming in and the project was rolling there was some resentment by the rest of the laboratory for this outfit over here that has all this money. I saw the same thing with the ZGS. At the time I was with the ZGS, the rest of the laboratory was kind of resentful of the ZGS. You know, people thought — these guys think they’re so great. And it’s true, and it happens all the time. So anyway, we had real problems convincing the rest of the laboratory that they should be using the hotel because people thought that was just for the APS experimenters and we wouldn’t be welcome. Well, we finally got over that hurdle, and now it’s a very good resource for the whole laboratory.
Well, let’s talk about who directed the APS. David Moncton was the third director, right?
He was. Ken Kliewer was the first, then Tom Fields was the second. Tom Fields had been the division director of the High Energy Physics Division, and then the Associate Laboratory Director when the ZGS was its own ALD-ship, like the APS is now. So Tom took over after Ken Kliewer left, until David came in an interim basis.
Fields, who I also interviewed about ZGS matters, he just was taking it over in the interim until they could find somebody.
Yes he was. Tom is a very smart guy, and very dedicated. For a high-energy physics experimenter, he is extremely dedicated to accelerator technology and science. It’s amazing. He’s really interested in it, and is willing to go the mile for it. And he did, because I can remember Tom referring a number of interesting meetings at which there was Yang and Gopal, who were not agreeing a lot at that point. You know, the cultures were still clashing, as I said.
Tell me a little more about that culture clash. What were the kind of issues?
Well, some of it might have been ego between Yang and Gopal. I don't know, but it could have been. As I said earlier, I think there was just the material science guys were more laid back than the accelerator physicists were about everything. They didn’t operate on the same clock. In high-energy physics, you have a limited amount of time to do your experiment because there are limited ports that you can use to mount an experiment, so every hour is really important. It is in the light source world too, but there are more opportunities with the light source to make up time if in fact you have a machine glitch. I was certainly witness to the fact that if the ZGS went down for some reason, you moved Heaven and Earth to get that sucker back up.
What Temple said about that was he was talking about Bob Kustom’s work with the radio-frequency system, and he said in the high-energy physics world you’re always working at the edge, so everybody kind of assumes that you don’t have a huge margin of certainty because the machine is state of the art, and the experimenters are accustomed to that. But with the APS, with the materials science community, it was different. There is this large and very diverse community of people who were going to use the APS who did and do use devices like electron microscopes or reactors that are very reliable. They were used to coming in, doing an experiment, and then leaving. They were used to a simpler operation of experimental equipment, and there was a real culture clash because the accelerator builders were used to building state-of-the-art tools. And in fact this light source was a state-of-the-art tool, but a lot of the experimenters were not accustomed to living on the edge of pushing the technological envelope.
Yes, and I think that puts it very well.
Were their other factors that prompted the culture clash?
Yes. Materials science had previously operated in parasitic mode on high-energy physics accelerators, and they might get some time or they might not; it just depended on how successful the particle-physics run had been. If they needed to make up time for high-energy physics experiments, materials scientists were out of luck. So there was some tension between materials scientists and those from the high-energy physics world.
What can you tell me about Moncton’s style as a leader?
He was really, really great. David could delegate, and Alan Schriesheim could, too. Alan and David were a very good team because they were willing to choose the person they thought could do the best job, and then empower that person to do it. I worked for a lot of very high-level people, and I really think that that style of leadership is one of the things that made a huge difference in the success of the APS. I think that David did not second-guess people. He did not require minute-by-minute reporting. And it was a very difficult time because the rest of the laboratory was operating as it had since the dark ages, you know, all wound up in inefficiency and out-of-date procedures.
And DOE had really changed a lot.
Yes. And so it was very apparent, that the APS would have to find a new way of doing business. Yang, who was project director at the outset, had been doing his best to involve the rest of the laboratory in the project by bringing in the head of procurement and the other essential support organizations and try to have them be team members. And that was fine up to a point, but when the money started coming in, and you started realizing that you had to get this spent, and you couldn’t stand in line in the procurement division, you needed instant attention, and you couldn’t play the “bring me another rock” game as usual with the procurement department. It became obvious that changes had to be made. At some point Ed Temple came aboard as the project director, and with David supporting Ed, and with Alan’s support, we were able to essentially break away from the rest of the laboratory.
So it was a lab within a lab, is what Schriesheim says.
It would never have been built if that hadn’t been the case.
Moncton says he decided that it needed to be a lab within a lab with its own procurement and its own…
Its own safety. At one point I did an analysis of what the organization was when we started with the six or seven people compared with what we had at the peak — how many people were in what functions within the APS organization, and then of course the downward slope to the steady-state where it is now, and how the skill sets that you needed changed over that period of time. And I think at one time in procurement we probably had close to ten people, just doing APS procurement. Part of the success of that was that Ed brought in some people who had worked with him at DOE and revamped how procurement was done at the APS. A very important part of the process was educating the scientists about what they needed and what was really essential. Because up to that point it was a black box in Central Procurement — you didn’t know exactly what they wanted, and they wouldn’t tell you, so like I said, it was the “bring me another rock” game to the point where it was just hopeless. So when that decision was taken at the laboratory director level to authorize a separate procurement organization it made a huge difference in what could be done. And by the way, doing that was a big deal because it meant certifying APS staff to sign the contracts and make the deals in parallel to the laboratory staff members who already had that authorization. And of course then at the same time, safety was extremely important, and the laboratory main safety organizations were all just really willing to help you as much as they could, except it wasn’t much help. I mean they were very bound up by old concepts. So the decision then was taken to have the Rust Engineering, the construction management firm, provide the main safety during the construction project, and we had our own safety people hired to interface with the Rust guys. Eventually, when they built the fence around the property, it was not only to keep out casual observers, it was to keep out the rest of the laboratory organizations because by that time, there was a resentment building, because the APS was viewed by the rest of the laboratory as kind of a high-handed operation: “We’ll do it ourselves, thank you very much. Go away.” All of that sort of happened after the ground breaking. It was just amazing how hard it was to get the environmental statement approved. We would still be bringing them another rock on the environmental statements, except that Ed and David (and I don't know how involved Alan was in that one; maybe he didn’t want to be) played some hardball with the DOE reviewers and said, “Well, it would be nice if you signed off on that because we’re scheduling the ground breaking for next Tuesday.” And so eventually they did sign off on it. There was a cultural resource activity that was going to be somebody’s life work and take forever and ever.
What’s a cultural resource activity?
We didn’t have to do an environmental impact statement. We had to do this second-level environmental assessment. You do an environmental impact statement for something like a nuclear power plant, but an environmental assessment should have been, and was enough eventually, to do the APS. And it was essentially the 80 acres that the APS is sitting on, the whole site is sitting on over there, had to be surveyed for the Illinois SHPO, the State Historical Preservation Officers’ so that to their satisfaction that there weren’t any features there that should be further investigated for state historical needs. And there had been because originally there were farms on this site. There had been a farm on this site where the APS is, and so the lady that was involved with the cultural resource aspect of clearing this site was digging three-inch wide trenches over the whole place and looking for stuff.
Archeological type things?
Yes, whatever. They almost died of happiness when they found a privy that was full of Bromo Seltzer bottles and that was all a big deal. And it was taking forever and ever and ever, and I remember clearly a meeting in which the woman in charge of the project was explaining how important it was to the guys involved in the early days of the design. And of course sitting in the room was Yang Cho, and Tat Khoe from Korea, Lee Tang from China, people from really ancient cultures; and she was explaining to them how there were artifacts from 100 years ago, and she just wasn’t getting through at all. They were not very impressed. Anyway, finally they managed to clear that by taking essentially the project away from the Argonne people and hiring an outside organization to come in and complete it, and write the report so that we could proceed. And then there was the Indiana bat episode, which somebody thought they saw and Indiana bat, and we had to get past that.
This was an endangered species or something?
So then you had to go and ascertain that there weren’t any Indiana bats that would be harmed by your construction.
Exactly. And then the beavers built a dam that flooded a whole big section of the property. And of course you can’t do anything to a beaver without an act of Congress either. So there was sort of a holdup on that when we were trying to decide what to do, when all of a sudden the beavers decided to leave, and it was like holy cow, that was marvelous. So the environmental assessment was taking forever, and finally when push came to shove and the groundbreaking was about to occur, they finally signed off on it. The groundbreaking was June of 1990, by the way. The other interesting thing about this was the hotel, the Guest House. When the State of Illinois was going to give us the first shot of money for the Guest House, it started to look as though DOE Chicago area office really didn’t want to take it. They were very concerned about accepting this funding, I think because they were concerned it was going to wind up being a liability for them somehow, that it wouldn’t be successful and they would have to find the money to fund it. And so it was really pretty touchy there, trying to get them to say, “OK, we’ll take the funds.” David got Hazel O’Leary, who was the head of DOE at the time, to write a thank you letter to the governor to the State of Illinois for providing these funds, and once the local guys saw that letter they decided they could manage to let the money in the gate.
One of the things that interested me is that also about this time, 1990, which is the same year as the groundbreaking, is the Tiger Teams. So were you worried with this problem of environmental assessment? New projects weren’t as vulnerable to the Tigers as existing projects.
Yeah. I don't know that we were that concerned about the environmental assessment with the Tiger Teams. I mean those guys came in looking for existing conditions, and certainly if we hadn’t been doing the environmental assessment they would have been all over it. I don’t remember that the Tiger Team itself being a huge concern to us in the APS project. I mean we were pretty lucky.
Again, your timing was good , with the SSC and with the Tiger Teams.
It’s serendipity. I mean it’s there all over the place! That was really a very bad time for the rest of the laboratory. And one of the problems that the APS faced as a result of the Tiger Team was that the Tiger Team was pointing out that the APS staff was doing it right, you know, “You should all learn from those guys.”
I’m sure that didn’t endear you to the rest of the lab. David Moncton rather liked the fact that he was doing it the right way, and he had been on the right page from the beginning. Did he brag?
I don't know. Yeah, he might have; I can’t recall. But I know that Richard Hislop, who was the safety guy, very practical guy, very down to Earth, he was invited over to head up an office in the central organization, and I think it was sort of based on the success of the APS in getting through the Tiger Team process. So he was over there for a while, but he came back. So the safety of the APS was very good, and we were very lucky. We had a wonderful team, and I think a lot of it was the way David managed things in that people felt empowered to do their jobs, and there was a shining goal out there that everybody was working toward. There were a lot of annoyances with the need to do reporting. What comes to mind is the project management system.
I was just amazed. I have been looking at how accelerators are built for a long, long time, and I got the documents from the laboratories files that first Cho and very soon Temple was doing for the project management, and there was a huge amount of oversight and accountability type that they were doing with just absolutely constant record keeping and reviews, and reviews on reviews.
Oh yeah. And believe me, that was bad enough, but I think today it’s worse. I think what we’re looking at now in terms of paperwork and everything that you have to do for anything has just outstripped anything that we had to deal with. And even in our case it was really too bad. The group leaders of the various systems hired the best technical people they could find to build the systems for the APS. What they had to turn into guys who fed the project management system, so they couldn’t do what they hired to do, that is, provide technical expertise, because they were so busy learning how to do the project management system. When Ed came aboard, I think he actually helped by being a little more flexible on how people reported. You know, we still had the project management system, which was the oversight system, but a lot of these guys had a project spreadsheet in their desk drawer.
Bob Kustom said that when people came in to the administrator’s office, if they weren’t on schedule, their schedules remained on the wall. Which didn’t exactly sound like a real high-tech way to keep the schedule.
They really called that the Wailing Wall. They had a wall in the corridor just outside where the ALD offices were that had the schedule posted. They hired N number of consultants and project management engineers to assist the scientific and technical people in getting this information and feeding it into this beast of a computer system. I remember saying one time to David that I actually didn’t think that the project management system would consider the project finished when they turned it on, because it was very arcane — people just didn’t quite get it. And I think after the APS was built, the requirements of the DOE changed a bit, became more realistic and the kind of reporting that they expected. Because I seem to recall that one of the guys from the APS that sort of knew how the system worked was invited to be on some kind of committee at the DOE level to refocus how the project management.
So Temple was relatively flexible?
Yeah, when Ed decided to come over to the APS, it was just amazing. The first “Temple” Review, it morphed into the Lehman Review…
The Lehman review — Daniel Lehman was Temple’s successor at DOE.
Danny said that guys were calling up volunteering to be on the committee because they wanted to get back at Ed for all the agony that he had put them through, and he thought that was pretty funny. They both did. Ed, you know, he was the guy that actually kicked the APS project back into gear. It’s interesting, because what you find with these technical people is they’ll keep designing and designing…
The perfect becomes the enemy of the perfectly good enough.
Yes. So eventually they had to get kicked into gear. I remember saying to one of the guys, “It’s time to have your baby.” So we got into that phase, and, “We’ll build it. If it’s not perfect, we’ll fix it.” And some of that had to happen, I’m sure. So Ed pushed things through and kept going. I remember when Ed first came to work with us. He informed me that he needed two secretaries: one for the daytime and one for the nighttime, and that was the way that he was used to operating. You know, just 24/7. So he was great. And of course David was willing to give him the authority he needed to have things go ahead. Alan Schriesheim was willing to let David have the authority and support that he needed to have things happen. And so again, it was serendipitous.
And David had good relationships, was very well respected as I understand, with the condensed matter physics community because he’s very smart, had done a lot of very good science. And I remember yesterday in a graph that I think it was Murray Gibson showed that in those early years, much of the experimental work was condense matter physics. Now that work has like doubled, but in the mean time the biological work has just exploded.
It’s amazing. I mean basically when this thing started off, nobody had a clue how useful it would be to the biological world.
Because they started with protein crystallography right away. I see those people, they knew it was going to be there, but it was somehow going to be the minority, the smaller part, and it ended up…
It’s astounding. And in fact at one point in time, the materials science part of the Office of Science (Basic Energy Sciences), was wondering why it built this machine for the biology people, and wondering when were they going to start kicking into some of the support, you know, the care and feeding of the machine. Because the operating dollars for the Advanced Photon Source come out of the material science budget, and so when there was finally a cooperative effort to build one of the LOMs (Lab Office Module), and the money was a joint effort between BES and funding from biology, that was pretty remarkable. So it was really a great time for management at the laboratory. And you have to give credit to Alan, who was pushing the LDRD money to support the early phases, the development of the APS, called the 6 GeV because that’s what it was at the time. But he was doing it actually with the support of the ALD who headed the nuclear programs, a guy named Chuck Till. And Chuck Till and David Moncton — talk about egos clashing! These guys, it was fun to watch them interact.
It sounds epic. I know Chuck as well.
Chuck was supportive of the fact that he had to bring this facility to the lab, and to his credit, that was an important thing.
He saw the big picture, I bet, because the thing is, is that he knew that he was running on thin ice, trying to get the nuclear side to just stay alive. So if they had another big project, the entire laboratory wouldn’t be looking to the reactor side to stay alive.
It was interesting. When the ZGS, who was sort of the cash cow of the laboratory back in the ’60s, when it was announced that it was going down, it was a blow to the laboratory to have that section cut away. So the lab had to go back and depend on what we call soft science, the environmental programs and stuff like that.
I remember talking to Harvey Drucker and him saying, “I kept them alive!”
And he did! His salesmen went out there and beat the bushes and brought in $80,000 programs, work for other programs that bridged the gap. And in the meantime, took up residence everywhere. And in building 362, took all the wonderful high-energy physics labs that were not occupied anymore and cut them up into little rabbit warrens where all these guys were sitting with all their little programs. And then when we kicked them out —
Which could be designing some kind of seed for some kind of industrial purpose — just anything.
Yeah. I don’t have any idea what those guys were doing over there. But when we told them they had to move so that we could concentrate on the R&D and the construction of the APS in the old ZGS area, they went out kicking and screaming to what was called the 900 area, which is offsite. And now they’re being dragged back onsite kicking and screaming because they decided they liked it better over there than being here. Yes, when this new building comes online, a lot of the space that will be made available as those people get moved in will be occupied by people that are coming back from the 900 area. It has so been decreed. They have been fighting it for years; they’ve managed to stay offsite for many years, but they’re coming back. Then we had to go in and we had to re-outfit all of those labs, you know, take out all of stuff and turn all that back into useful space, revamp and bring up the old experimental halls that had been used by the ZGS.
The other thing that you’re not mentioning is the IPNS, because IPNS cannibalized parts of like the ZGS ring, but also some office space and it’s still over there.
IPNS is a different situation entirely. IPNS had every right to occupy everything they had. They were the follow-on to the ZGS, and they had first claim.
I know in reading what Walter Massey did as laboratory director. He wanted the IPNS because it was really clear they had the nuclear physics machine, ATLAS, but that wasn’t going to be enough, that you really needed something bigger to justify the existence of the laboratory, you needed a mission and it had to be facilities-based, not based on these zillion work-for-other projects.
Oh yeah, you needed a user facility.
You needed a user facility, you needed a flagship — something. For a while, the little bitty IPNS was it, until happily IPNS continued until very recently.
The IPNS staff was very supportive of the APS because they were accelerator guys, and the IPNS provided a lot of materials, expertise, all kinds of things to the APS early in the game, and then after the APS grew into its own laboratory not so much. But there was always a huge respect between the IPNS people and the APS people. And IPNS, of course, kept areas alive that the APS then found very useful, like the plastics shop and these shops, and all of these areas that APS —
That if the ZGS had gone and there hadn’t been anything, there would have been a gap.
There would have been, yes. So IPNS had first dibs on things, and the High Energy Physics Division was still there and operating, so what turned out was APS took over portions of building 360—the second floor of 360; IPNS was on the first floor — and we took over portions of building 362, mainly the third floor and portions of the second floor, and I can’t remember if we were on the first floor or not, for the people. Because a decision had been taken that the last building that would be built would be the 400 building, 401 and 402, actually, to build that at the end of the project, and it was a contingency. So what it turned out to be was we had to find the facilities to house everybody that would be working on the design of the machine, and in fact doing the prototyping and such and the procurement department and project engineering, so it was a huge number of people that we had to have space for in order to build the thing. And so we had the space that we’d gotten in building 360 and 362, we built three trailer parks out around the back of the big experimental halls in the ZGS area, and moved all these people in there. And we took over two buildings that were the closest we could get to. One was an old reactor office building, and the other one was a small building where the beagle colony had lived at one time.
Right, that had been irradiated, the dogs.
Yes. So we took over all of those buildings and we had various construction people and the Rust offices. This is all coming back to me now; I’d sort of forgotten it. We just had huge numbers of people spotted in these various areas. In fact I had to kick the Inspector General — talk about a dangerous thing — out of this building where the beagle colony had been. They had just started refurbishing their offices to move them into the old credit union building. That’s a long story, too. So it was a very, very busy time. And finally, in order to make sure that the project management system was getting fed appropriately, they would spot the project management engineers out with the various groups. The group that was building magnets out by one of the out buildings in the back of the ZGS area, had its own project engineer, helping those guys get it all together. And the LINAC RF areas had a guy, and the procurement people wound up in a building over where they were building the vacuum chambers in a trailer park over there that eventually went away. So then when we finally built 401 and brought everybody into that building, then everybody was back together again and it was really great. It was amazing. And because the building came at the end of the project, and we knew how much money we could spend on it — I mean we were really fortunate that the economy had worked in such a way that we were able to build it, and furnish it with all new furniture — the whole building was built, furnished, and waiting when people moved their personal stuff in. It was amazing. It went very well. The conference center started out as the Multifunction Wing, because early in the conceptual design activity they had talked about having an auditorium, and DOE informed them they weren’t funding auditoriums. And so Marty Knott, who was a guy that was very involved in the early stages of this project, came up with the name Multifunction Wing. And so for years that footprint was either going to be a nice flat area where you built magnets, or something that you had a little stage in, or whatever — it was never very clear how it would turn out. So we had the luxury of having the time to design what turned out to be a conference center. And Alan Schriesheim’s wife, Beatrice Schriesheim worked with me and Karen Hellman, who is in the laboratory now, and David, and we worked with the architects to come up with the design, which has proved to be very, very functional. The lab office building, the idea of having a separate lab wing and then all the offices in one area was in some sense kind of revolutionary, because up to that time the standard way that you built these buildings, if you look at building 362, or most of the buildings here, you’ve got labs in the center and offices around the perimeter. And so the scientist wants to get his office close to his lab, which makes it very hard to move people around — they don’t want to be too far from their labs. So when we okayed the design that was then used for building 401, it was kind of a whole new idea. Maybe it was happening in other areas; I don't know because I was only involved with buildings 360 and 362. But the idea of separating those two areas to that degree was a new thing in my experience, and it has worked out I think pretty well because you can design to different standards in terms of floor loads and things like that.
Do you remember any other of the heart attacks associated with the construction phase?
One of the things that was very revolutionary, they wound up making it a design-build contract for the APS. I know it was design-build for building 401 and the conference center. I can’t say the same thing for the technical buildings because the requirements were very different. And that kind of had already been in process. But the building 401 and 401, the conference center, turned out to be a design-build contract, which was a new thing to DOE. They didn’t do it that way.
What’s a design-build contract?
Normally what you do is the whole architectural design — you’ve got everything done, and here is how it’s going to be done, and then you bid out the actual construction work itself. And the construction contractor comes in and does exactly what you tell him to do. For some reason, and I’m not entirely clear on what the reasons were, Ed wanted to go with a design-build contract for building 401, and in that style what you do is you have a concept of what you want, but the contractor that you hire to do the job actually does the second stage of the engineering designs and the construction drawings and such. Then he does the construction, so he has a lot of latitude in how it comes together. You have to be pretty careful about what your specifications are, but how they meet those specifications within some set of parameters is up to them. So one of the outcomes of that was Perini Construction, who got the job, decided that it would be to their benefit to make it a concrete building, so the building is poured concrete, all the framing and everything is concrete construction as opposed to metal I-beam standard construction. So that was a big difference from the way it was originally conceived, and it made for some interesting decisions that you had to make unexpectedly because when you have a concrete frame building, you have to put all the conduits for your electrical outlets in the floors before they’re poured, so you have to know where you want everything to go. I remember spending one Christmas holiday with the blueprints for the footprints of each floor, trying to decide where the electrical outlets were going to be because they needed to know because they had to put the conduit in. So that was a different concept that had to be sold to DOE to accept the design-build concept, which I think they do more of now than they used to. So Lester B. Knight, who was the architects of record when we were designing that in this building as well, had done the conceptual design and we had laid out the basic footprint of what the floors were going to look like, but the rest of it would be the responsibility of the Perini to do the rest of the design work. And there must have been some cost advantage to doing it that way that Ed could describe. Ed had a guy working for him he brought with him, Don Getz, who was an old hand at all of the accelerator builds and had been involved in a number of accelerator projects. So that was one thing. I’m trying to think of anything. As far as I can remember things went pretty well after we got over the beavers and got over telling Argonne safety to get lost, that we could do it ourselves, that they couldn’t just come in and shut things down arbitrarily all the time. One other issue they had to deal with was the union business. There is always that kind of problem that can creep up in dealing with a trade union.
That stalled IPNS construction for a while, a labor dispute.
The decision was taken, I think it was called an onsite agreement. Anyway, they made Rust Engineering the authority because they were our construction manager of that site, and separated it from Argonne proper. So it had its own construction entrance down in the corner of the site. It’s gone now, but there’s a road that comes up there. There was an old house there that was part of the meteorology department and there was a tower down in that corner of the site, and all the construction vehicles came in and out of that gate, so that if there was any kind of labor dispute it didn’t effect the rest of the laboratory; it was contained to the APS site. So that was another very smart move on their part, and they managed to tiptoe their way through that. There were of course issues with scientists saying with the technical facilities, “Oh, I didn’t want that opening there. I wanted it over there.” You know, you had already poured a two-foot-thick concrete wall that you now had to drill through it then. There was that kind of problem. I’m trying to remember what else, because right now it is sort of a dim memory. Did somebody else remember something?
No, no. You’re giving me new information about issues that were problematic.
But not hugely problematic. Although that sort of thing could have turned in to big problems.
As I said, the only thing Temple remembered was the RF system just turned out to be much more problematic. And it wasn’t that it was Kustom’s fault; it was just that it turned out to be a harder technical program.
We had issues with the value engineering that DOE requires after you have the whole design ready to go, that then you have to go back and value engineer it and try and cut out things so that you save money. In my experience, every thing that got value engineered out caused a problem later and had to be fixed.
Probably at greater expense than originally planned.
Oh absolutely, absolutely.
You just said that they called it the 6 GeV. Do you know how they got the name Advanced Photon Source?
Well, I guess I know. I think they were just searching for a new name and tried out many, many things, and finally the Advanced Photon Source seemed like the best name, and of course everybody said yes, but you already have the American Physical Society. So there was a lot of agonizing before they eventually decided to adopt the name.
Plus Advanced Light Source, which sounds so similar.
Yes. So certainly the decision to take that name was done probably at meetings that I was sitting in, but I have no recollection how it…
It just kind of evolved.
Yes, they just said, “Oh well, we’ll just take the heat of the APS and live with it,” and they did. But yeah, it is tough naming things. Like the Guest House, we had to figure out what we were going to call it. User Residence Facility had to go away, and so that takes a huge amount of nervous energy to come up with a name, I decided.
The Multifunction Area is my favorite so far.
Oh yeah, Multifunction wins. And we had to come up with the name then, after we built what we built, and I finally said we have to call it the conference center because that’s what it is, and we’ll have to call the auditorium a lecture hall, because then it’s not an auditorium, it’s a lecture hall. And so we did that. I think they are regressing into being called the auditorium again.
The Guest House plays an interesting role at the laboratory. The Guest House management does more than just run the Guest House, right?
Yes. The Guest House has a liquor license for the site, so any serving of any liquor on this site has to be done under the auspices of the Guest House.
The Guest House is also like an embassy. It’s on-site. But it’s not a part of Argonne.
Yeah. And this has served various purposes. For example, when they were writing the proposal for the contract to operate the laboratory, you had to be on neutral ground, you couldn’t do it in a laboratory building. So the University rented a bunch of quads on the second floor of the guest house, and that’s where they did all that contract work. And DOE has used it.
You mean for the recent re-up of the contract between Argonne and the University of Chicago.
Yes, the recent one. Another interesting thing about the user connection. When they were getting user opinions on how they wanted to operate at the APS, “What will make you guys happy?” “Science makes me happy.” So the original idea was that they would quads. They are four bedrooms and a common living area to be populated by groups of experimenters, collaborators that are going to come in and do their science at the APS in the daytime, then they’re going to come back to the quads and they’re going to talk about it all night long and everything is going to be great. Places like the University of Illinois or Purdue or whoever is part of the consortium around here would lease these quads, and then their people would come and live in them. Originally this building was going to be nothing but quads, but fortunately we hired a hotel consultant who said, “You guys are nuts,” and we changed the design. We still wound up with quads at the end of every floor. As it turns out, these guys really don’t want to see each other after they get off the experimenter floor at night — they want to go into their own little space. So the quads did not turn out to be the hot item that had been anticipated at the time this place was being designed, and so we wound up saying what are we going to do with these? So we took the ones that on the second floor and turned them into combination conference rooms with breakout rooms, and one is now an exercise facility. So we found other uses for them. And some of them do get leased out. University of Illinois actually did lease one, and maybe there are a few others. But at other times DOE or some other outfit will come in that’s having some program onsite and they need something for a defined period of time, and they’ll decide to set up shop in those. That’s great, and it helps the bottom line, that’s for sure. So it’s been an interesting journey. I remember trying to explain to the Sodexo people, after they won the contract to operate the hotel and they came in to explain to us what they thought the room rate should be, and how much you could get for this based on the sizes of the rooms compared to the rooms downtown, and they thought starting at $120 a night would be good. I almost fell off my chair laughing. I said, “The scientists here are not going to pay that kind of money because it’s coming out of their contracts, (a). And (b), we’re supposed to be a non-profit organization, and these guys just didn’t get that. So we struck an interim balance. We have to be very careful that the room rates charged for the space here can’t undercut anything that’s outside the fence.
I’ve stayed at a hotel down the road, and it costs about the same.
We did surveys on that. Plus, we’re not allowed to advertise at all. You’ll never see the Guest House in the list of available lodging places in Illinois. You know, early in the game we had some guy that was writing Congress about how unfair it was that they built this hotel to interfere with his business. So we are very cautious about that.
Anything else? You’re shaking your head. Well, you certainly had an adventure in the time you were here. Thank you for your time.