Wolfgang Panofsky - Session IV

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ORAL HISTORIES
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Interviewed by
Jean Deken
Interview date
Location
Dr. Panofsky's office at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)
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In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:

Interview of Wolfgang Panofsky by Jean Deken on 2004 May 3, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/39783-4

For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location. 

In this interview Wolfgang Panofsky discusses topics such as: his time at the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford University; Stanford Linear Accelerators Center (SLAC); Atomic Energy Commission (AEC); Edwin McMillan; Burton Richter; running a physical laboratory; Luis Alvarez; the Cold War; University of California, Berkeley; teaching and setting up research projects for graduate students; serving on the President's Science Advisory Committee; Robert Marshak; McCarthyism and House Committee on Un-American Activities; Paul McDaniel; Vietnam War's effect; working with Chinese physicists; Frank Oppenheimer; Department of Energy; safety measures in the laboratories; arms control; Marvin Goldberger; JASON group; Richard Garwin; John Holdren.

Transcript

Deken:

This is Monday May 3, 2004 and this is phase three of an oral history interview with W. K. H Panofsky by Jean Deken at SLAC. Today’s theme is Stanford University in general. The first thing I wanted to start with, Pief, was just to talk about your personal involvement as a member of the Stanford community.

Panofsky:

Well, of course my involvement changed. Before SLAC was created, I was just a normal member of the Physics Department faculty doing teaching and at the same time running the high-energy physics laboratory on campus. After SLAC was started, I had no teaching duties, and I also served as a member of what I think was called something like The President’s Council; I’m not exactly sure whether that’s the correct designation. The general understanding in the relationship between SLAC and the university and the contract with the Atomic Energy Commission was that SLAC would be operated under Stanford University policies and that if Stanford policies would conflict with AEC policies, that Stanford policies would preempt. But in exchange for that, that the SLAC director would have a voice in formulating Stanford policies. So, therefore, the Director of SLAC then and also to the present serves on the essentially collective bodies of vice presidents of the university, I think which is now called The Stanford Cabinet. I forgot what it was called then. So I attended regular meetings of that body which dealt with many campus-wide issues, generally not specifically related to SLAC.

Deken:

Was this a fairly large group, this Cabinet?

Panofsky:

Well, it’s essentially all the vice presidents and the provost and the president. We would meet for about two or three hours, I think about once a month, and discuss any number of issues, some major and substantial; some more or less routine business. But it definitely kept me in contact with some of the big questions affecting Stanford and vice versa, although I must say SLAC issues were very rarely discussed in that body.

Deken:

Because they just didn’t come up?

Panofsky:

That’s right. Now I also served on the Minority Affairs committee of Stanford University. Again, I don’t remember the time span. [This was] in addition to the advisory board, which was discussed previously.

Deken:

What did the Minority Affairs committee —

Panofsky:

That was basically a committee which was established to discuss both how minority enrollment in Stanford could be augmented, but also to discuss problems minority students and junior faculty had at Stanford. One of the main things I remember was a very interesting observation that although there was a substantial enrollment of Black students and Asiatic students of comparable numbers in Stanford, the Black students would essentially hardly ever enroll in science and engineering while the Asiatics would do the opposite. There were several psychological problems where Asiatic students had basically breakdowns because they were under such intensive parental pressures to become scientists and engineers where they really wanted to be poets or whatever. Conversely, the Blacks once they had been able to get to Stanford wanted to become future community leaders, and in so doing, they pursued majors in political science or pre-business activities and generally were disinterested and under no pressure to pursue science and engineering. So, one thing which we discussed and which I got involved in was that notwithstanding the fact that these two groups of minorities were somewhat comparable in numbers, that their interests in pursuing Stanford studies were extremely disparate largely due to pressures from their families and communities. I don’t remember, other than discussing this phenomenon, I don’t recall any remedies to the extent there were to be remedies which were discussed.

Deken:

How long did you serve on that committee?

Panofsky:

I don’t remember. I suspect it was not very long. I suspect something like two years. I’m sure it’s a matter of record, but I don’t remember.

I think in general, my involvement as a member of the Stanford faculty community was not broad. It was generally focused on specific responsibilities such as this committee, and then mainly the advisory board, with the exception of the faculty hearings which were discussed in an earlier interview, the advisory board was an ongoing thing and by and large was a very routine responsibility. We simply had a large dossier of applications for promotion and tenure, and we had to go over qualifications and took action in recommending affirmative or not affirmative approval to the provost and president. That was more or less a routine chore.

Deken:

So you got the dossier from the Department?

Panofsky:

They had a staff. Basically, the provost’s staff. The department would propose the individual promotion, the provost staff would do staff analysis, and we would exercise wisdom.

Deken:

Or you hoped you did.

Panofsky:

That’s right.

Deken:

How long were you on the advisory board? Do you remember?

Panofsky:

I was actually on three distinct periods. I didn’t know that. Recently there was a 100-year anniversary of the advisory board on campus, and they gave me a sticker, which I didn’t bring with me, which indicated three periods in which I served. I think one of the periods was when Sid Drell was a member of the advisory board, but he was on leave and so I was a temporary substitute for Sid. I think I served twice on my own, and one as a stand-in for Sid.

Deken:

Now are faculty appointed to the advisory board?

Panofsky:

No, elected.

Deken:

By?

Panofsky:

It’s a complicated thing. The advisory board election is done by having various constituent groups, each of which votes separately for their representative. The Medical School always has a representative and the Earth Sciences have usually a representative and I don’t remember. We are paired with some other groups on campus. I don’t know which one, but it’s an elected office of various constituencies on campus.

Deken:

So people are elected and serve a set term?

Panofsky:

And serve a set term, and can be reappointed. It’s a fair amount of work because there are a lot of basically academic personnel actions which we are supposed to basically vet for the provost.

Deken:

The Franklin case aside, is it usually fairly noncontroversial?

Panofsky:

Most of it is fairly noncontroversial with exception that the advisory board, depending on who gets elected, tends to be very conservative, as it is now, for instance, in interpreting what a professor is supposed to be doing versus being more flexible. See, a professor at Stanford’s duties are a combination of teaching, research, and “public service”. But how to weight those three activities and what is to be included in public service is subject to some degree of interpretation, and therefore the different advisory boards tend to differ somewhat how they weight these various activities on the part of individual candidates. It’s sometimes controversial because the more traditional departments, like English or physics or chemistry, use very traditional criteria in terms of research and teaching, while some of the other departments, like political science and engineering, tend to give more weight to some of the independent activities in governmental, local, or country-wide service. So there is some variability as to how conservative the advisory board is in restricting appointments to more traditional academic values, and that’s been going sort of back and forth depending as to who gets elected.

I spent a certain amount of time on that, but I think it is generally true… it was certainly generally true during my tenure that although the director served on these various bodies — and when you got elected to the advisory board as a member of the faculty you served — but that, in general, the role of the university in running SLAC was relatively minor. It was fundamentally a safety valve rather than an engagement in terms of our program. Since during my tenure we had relatively few major crises, there wasn’t much reason to engage the administration. I think I mentioned in the previous interview that while I was involved in the Franklin hearings, I was in the absurd situation that the advisory board sat as an adjudicatory body with the university on the one hand and Franklin on the other hand being parties before the board. So I was not permitted to have contact with the university administration without a lawyer for Franklin being present, which is completely absurd because under my regular hat as director of SLAC, I was reporting to the university. So that was a somewhat absurd situation, and that went on for a whole academic quarter. But it symbolizes the fact that the university really didn’t much interact with the regular administration of SLAC that that absurd situation didn’t cause any real problems. They had no need for a full quarter to really talk about any ongoing issues with the university administration.

Deken:

So it essentially never came up?

Panofsky:

It essentially never came up. I just plain avoided having to make an appointment with the president. Since there wasn’t a heck of a lot to talk about anyway, it didn’t really matter a great deal.

Deken:

What about the reverse? If the university didn’t have a lot of input in running SLAC, did you feel like you had a lot of input or other people at SLAC?

Panofsky:

No. I had basically relatively routine input as member of The President’s Council in some of the issues which came up before the council. We had zero input in affairs of other departments, essentially. I never had any crises. I had always good relations with the provost and president. But there were actually relatively few issues where, even though SLAC is part of Stanford University, there weren’t many overlapping things.

One of the issues which did require my presence was when there were union negotiations, because the union basically encompasses all blue-collar workers at Stanford University, including SLAC. So, therefore, in deciding on negotiating positions on wages and benefits, I was drawn into a group which met almost every few days when they were in union negotiations and threatened strike. So I was heavily involved in that.

Deken:

How often did that come up?

Panofsky:

Every three years. The contract expires every three years, and sometimes renewal is relatively trivial and sometimes it’s contentious, and sometimes it leads to a strike and sometimes it doesn’t.

Deken:

Typically once the contract came up for renewal, how long would the negotiations… or is there no typical?

Panofsky:

Since it’s known when the contract expires, negotiations usually start a couple of months or so beforehand, and sometimes everything gets settled. The primary negotiations are handled by a University Legal Counsel, and they have a policy group of which I was a part in case there were specific hang-ups.

Deken:

Were there typically people from SLAC who were also involved? Blue-collar workers? Union reps?

Panofsky:

Oh yes, but they’re on the union side. On the SLAC administration side, the only people were involved were the Associate Director for Business and the Director and the Personnel Director.

Deken:

So three managers?

Panofsky:

Essentially three SLAC bureaucrats.

Deken:

And then the union would send their officers?

Panofsky:

Well, I didn’t participate in the actual negotiation with the union. Not at all. That was done by essentially a legal team appointed by the university. But the university separately had a group which basically instruct the negotiators about what positions to take.

Deken:

How would that work? You would start with the old contract?

Panofsky:

Well, the way it works, the old contract expires, and then the union representative and the University Legal Counsel draws up a new contract. They agree on whatever they agree and lock horns on what they don’t agree. Then the University negotiator has to get instructions ultimately from the president, and the president in turn has to work with his advisory team, of which I was a member, as to what or what would not be acceptable. It was actually rather interesting. The University was very much preoccupied about the financial part, that means the compensation package which the University wanted, and SLAC was much more interested in what I considered academic values. Namely to what extent — The union often took positions that certain work “belongs” to the union, and I always took a very strong position that the union rules should not restrict a physicist from getting his hands dirty. If the physicist wanted to string a wire through a pipe, he wouldn’t have to call an electrician if he wanted to push the wires through the pipe. Interestingly enough, which somewhat perplexed me at the time, was that the University was mainly worried about their payroll costs while we were primarily interested, or I was primarily interested in preserving the immediacy of the scientific group. People here with their hardware so one wouldn’t be required by the union negotiations to call a union craftsman to solder a wire or to put a wire or to hook up a piece of water pipe or whatever was required. I was sensitized to that issue because in Berkeley I once caused a union grievance by personally hooking up some big electric generator to a magnet I had or something of that kind, which turned out was in violation of union rules.

Deken:

So what happened at Berkeley when you did that?

Panofsky:

They filed a grievance, and the radiation laboratory said, “So sorry.” It was not a big deal.

Deken:

So how successful were you in getting the contract to allow the physicists to get their hands dirty?

Panofsky:

I was quite successful in not having the University make concessions on that. On the other hand, those days when budgets were not all that tight, I generally was on the more liberal side in counseling a relatively liberal compensation package. But again, that kind of thing was ultimately decided by the university people, because of course they had to meet their budget and all that.

Deken:

So the negotiations for money pretty much…

Panofsky:

The University for money was pretty much — I didn’t express any significant positions, while on negotiations about work rules I did play a significant role.

Deken:

How about other people other than you as director? What kind of involvement — when everyone came up the hill here to SLAC, did they pretty much cease teaching, for example?

Panofsky:

Yes. On the other hand, we have a few linkages. For instance, I guess you want to talk about that when we started a large computation center there was some overlap because computation activities were growing here and on campus more or less on a similar time scale, so there were a fair amount of common interactions. There were common interactions in the radiation safety business I mean the University, after some various occurrences and also pressure was taking radiation protection more seriously than they used to, so they developed a radiation health protection group on campus, and our health physics group interacted with them a lot. So those are two instances were quite separate from the professorial departmental interactions, we played some role.

But when it came to the teaching situation, I guess you’re familiar with the original — When things started, SLAC faculty had no teaching obligations, and they could teach on request by other departments. That occurred off and on, and then occurred in increasing frequency. Interestingly enough, some of the teaching requests from departments were not in physics, but in applied physics and computer science. But then they increased on the part of the Physics Department. In fact, in more recent times at the end of my tenure, usually there were more requests for SLAC people to do some teaching than we would fulfill. In some respect, they called our bluff. There were a lot of complaints from the SLAC faculty about their not being permitted to teach, but when the departments had requests for teaching, usually an insufficient number of people volunteered. That was sort of a bit of amusement to me.

Deken:

How did it work? Did they request a particular faculty member, or did they just request a —

Panofsky:

Both. Both directly and through the SLAC administration in particular if they couldn’t get any responses. It was not a big deal, but actually from the Physics Department point of view, economically getting somebody from SLAC to teach for one quarter is very economical because since our contract does not reimburse teaching, then the university would pay for that. If the University requests somebody from SLAC to teach a quarter somewhere, then some money changes hands, but not very much. It’s a small fraction of the total salary compensation of the individual.

Deken:

The theory was that people at SLAC wanted to teach, but the practice was that they didn’t teach very often?

Panofsky:

That’s right. In the agreement when somebody joined the SLAC faculty, he was being told that he had no teaching obligations other than graduate student supervision. But on a case-by-case basis, when the specific course teaching request came, then it was a matter of negotiating both with the individual and the lab to arrange that. By and large, during my tenure anyway, demand exceeded supply. But it was not a major matter. Of course, we instituted educational activities at SLAC, including the summer institutes and of course seminars and so forth and so forth. We had a lot of teaching functions, but not course teaching functions.

Deken:

The Summer Institutes started fairly early didn’t they?

Panofsky:

That’s right. That started on my watch.

Deken:

How are graduate students handled here?

Panofsky:

SLAC does not and still does not award degrees — there’s no degree in “SLACology.” Now this was initially contentious. Initially the Physics Department insisted that there had to be a Physics Department professor be a cosigner to awarding a degree. That was abandoned after a while, but the degree is awarded by the Physics Department, and the various required steps and preliminary examinations and course requirements and all that is being administered by the department. But then a thesis supervisor can be any member of the SLAC faculty, and the requirement of a departmental cosigner was dropped.

Deken:

How do the students come to SLAC?

Panofsky:

Each year there’s sort of an open house. Well, firstly, there’s literature being generated both in the catalogue about what SLAC does and what we offer. There’s literature and descriptions in the Stanford catalogue. In addition to that (that happened during my watch), we appointed a grad student officer who’s a member of the faculty, and the fact that he exists is publicized so that any student in the Department who is chasing around trying to select a thesis topic then contacts the registered officer of the SLAC faculty who then arranges for a contact with members of the SLAC faculty. Eventually on an informal basis, agreement gets reached. There are a lot of graduate students here, of course, from other institutions. In addition to that, there are some graduate students writing theses not in physics, but in applied physics and engineering and computer science.

Deken:

Here at SLAC?

Panofsky:

Yes. There have been some.

Deken:

This is sort of a natural segue to the origins of the computation center at SLAC.

Panofsky:

My memory on that is not all that great, but what happened was that clearly the need for computational activities increased sharply during the early part of my tenure. We recruited Bill Miller who was then at Argonne National Laboratory I believe, and he was instrumental in setting up the computer activities at SLAC. He then broadened his interests on campus. He was de facto quite a link to the campus, but he was basically the instigator of computational activities here. Then a group of very talented people were recruited. There was a lady by the name of Mary Anne Fisherkeller who was one of the principal computer people here. Then there were several particle physicists who took a major role in the computer center establishment.

We integrated the computation activities into the work of the research division. That means the Associate Director for Research was responsible for the computational things, including the administrative computing. The Research Division remained responsible, even though the business people, and to a lesser extent the administrative people, needed more access to the computing business. But Bill Miller was certainly the original organizer of that. Then Jerome Friedman became a major actor, and he became sufficiently prominent that he eventually became a professor in the campus Computer Science department. That happened fairly smoothly. It was partially very helpful that Joe Ballam, who was at that time initially the Associate Director for the Research Division, also had a great personal interest in computers because his background came from bubble chamber physics, which from the very beginning needed a fair amount of computer support. The process consisted of taking pictures of events, then having scanners digitizing effectively the information on the photograph, and then with the aid of a large amount of computation, analyzing the physics content of the events. Joe was working with Miller, so for me the Research Division was a natural home both for reasons of the personal interest of Ballam and the technical necessity.

Deken:

So was Joe Ballam the one who recruited Bill Miller?

Panofsky:

That I frankly don’t remember. I said, “We recruited him.” I frankly don’t remember who the “we” are.

Deken:

Let’s go back here to talk about the Scientific Policy Committee that reports to the president of the university. How did that get set up?

Panofsky:

That was part of the initial contractual compromise in setting up the contract for AEC supporting SLAC. As I think I mentioned before, there was pressure to have a totally national laboratory on the one extreme, and on the other extreme having SLAC be basically a tool of a department. We decided, I decided that SLAC was much too large to be part of a department, but at the same time we are part of the university. So we proposed the establishment of a scientific policy committee, and its members were to be chosen from outside SLAC. It would report to the president of the University, not to the director of SLAC. It would write a report; that part of the report which dealt with SLAC support of the outside community would be forwarded by the president to the AEC. That part of the Scientific Policy Committee’s report which dealt with the management or program direction the president did not have to transmit to the AEC. So this was basically a crafted compromise between National Laboratory work at university facilities. The SPC was a major vehicle for doing that. The interesting thing was that initially the president would automatically transmit the whole report to the AEC. Then as an experiment, he withheld part of it, and said, “Here’s the part which deals with outside relations.” He immediately got a letter back from the AEC, “Where’s the rest of it?” even though that wasn’t explicitly provided for. I don’t remember whether, excepting for that experiment, whether the president’s office ever tried to divide the SPC report into user-related versus not user-related.

Deken:

When you talk about the support of the outside community, you’re talking about the users?

Panofsky:

The users essentially.

Deken:

So the non-faculty physicists? The non-SLAC faculty physicists?

Panofsky:

Non-SLAC faculty, that’s right. So as a practical matter, the SPC operates pretty much like a review committee of our entire scientific program, and they’ve been an activist group. This is one case where the University administration does get involved. Always when the SPC meets, they usually meet for a couple of hours in executive session with the University provost and president in the absence of the SLAC director to tell them how they view the sort of standing of SLAC and the world to the University administration. So it is an arm of the University administration so that the University administration gets informed how we’re doing. I’m not aware of any instance where the SPC had something terribly or critical or revolutionary to say. But it’s usually a very intense two days, and taken very seriously by the lab.

Deken:

I just made a list here of the various presidents of Stanford that you worked under, and I just thought if you could go through the list and talk about —

Panofsky:

Sterling was sort of interesting. When we started, we had the various controversies, because when I became director, Ginzton left and started running Varian Associates. Unbeknownst to me, Sterling had a consultant agreement with Ginzton to advise him how we are doing.

Deken:

You didn’t know that?

Panofsky:

No I didn’t know that. I never knew that, and as far as I knew, I talked to Ginzton about it, once I did find out about it, and Sterling never consulted him either. It was basically set up as a safety valve in case of crises. Because rightfully Sterling was concerned that having an ex-professor run essentially a hundred-million-dollar-a-year enterprise might lead to troubles, and having a person like Ginzton who had a great deal of industrial experience on tap would be helpful. But I didn’t know that. I had a cordial relationship with Sterling, but Sterling took no real interest. This was not his field. He was a historian. It was Terman in the University administration who took interest in what we were doing.

Deken:

What was Terman during Sterling’s administration?

Panofsky:

I don’t remember whether he was already Provost or Dean of Engineering, I’m sorry.

Deken:

I can check that.

Panofsky:

Well, you have it here. Terman was dean of engineering according to your piece of paper from ‘44-‘58, so I guess after ’58 he was Provost already. I’m not sure. So de facto, Terman took a great deal of interest in the original establishment and operation of SLAC, and Sterling certainly didn’t. Pitzer didn’t take any interest at all because he basically was in a state of crisis during his entire tenure as president.

Deken:

Which was fairly short — two years?

Panofsky:

That’s right.

Deken:

And he dealt mainly with the war protests.

Panofsky:

That’s right. He dealt with protests. He had a reputation of being a tough guy, and he turned out to be a lamb. He didn’t live up to his tough reputation. Dick Lyman and I had an extremely good relationship with because we shared a common interest in many things other than SLAC. He and his wife were interested in social problems here on the peninsula on behalf of the Mid-Peninsula Committee For Fair Housing, which my wife and I joined. It had nothing to do with Stanford. We interacted a lot during the President’s Council. He took a very direct interest, although he continued proclaiming that he didn’t know anything about the subject matter, and Don Kennedy took also quite a bit of interest, of course, he’s a biologist.

So, in all these cases, Sterling and Pitzer took essentially no interest other than Sterling being worried simply trying to forestall disasters. I had the most cordial relationship with Lyman and Kennedy.

Deken:

To what do you attribute Sterling’s being worried about SLAC?

Panofsky:

I think simply because of the magnitude of the enterprise and the lack of industrial experience of its leadership. I used to make the joke that industrial leaders know how to overrun budgets. [chuckles] He became more relaxed when things proceeded in an orderly manner. We also, and you didn’t note this here, I had very good relationships with the trustees. The trustees, particularly Robert Minge Brown and I, we cooperated very closely together when the contract was being negotiated. It turns out we both spoke Latin, and he was a lawyer and educated in Europe learning how to do Latin; I took nine years of Latin at school, so we made jokes that we could negotiate the contract in Latin. He was very sensitive to the kind of issues of preserving the academic independence of the senior members of the staff. We were good friends, actually. Occasionally I had to give reports to the trustees at some of their meetings.

Deken:

How often?

Panofsky:

I would guess something like once a year. That’s a matter of record. Again, more as a safety valve.

Deken:

Did that have any relation to the activities of the SPC, or was that separate?

Panofsky:

No. Not at all.

Deken:

That was separate, okay.

Panofsky:

The SPC reported to the president, and I don’t even know whether the president sends that report to the trustees. I have no idea.

Deken:

Were there other trustees that you got to know?

Panofsky:

I knew some of the trustees at various times. I’m sorry; I’m bad with names…There was one of the trustees who was also a member of the Exploratorium Board who became a good friend.

Deken:

I’m not good on the trustees since that’s not my area.

Panofsky:

The trustees did rightfully want to be kept informed because after all it was an obligation of the University with a significant price tag in terms of the total financial activities of the University. And of course during the contract negotiations, there were some relatively difficult interactions with the trustees whether rent should be charged or not be charged, what the terms of the lease should be, and all that kind of thing. So, the trustees were quite heavily involved during the original contract negotiations. Because after all, dedicating 400 some acres to a non-income-producing function in the interest of the academic purpose of the University was basically a major step for the trustees to take. They had no activities and no involvement in the day-to-day regular activities, but they received the regular report. I would try to give a layman’s presentation of the scientific program at the lab, but they were fundamentally reporting jobs; it took a couple of hours.

Deken:

What about the different Deans of Engineering? I made the list here.

Panofsky:

I had nothing to do with them.

Deken:

Nothing to do with them at all?

Panofsky:

No, nothing to do with Deans of Engineering. You see, the way the bureaucratic channels worked, the Director of SLAC is more or less like a Vice President of the University. That means he’s at the level above the deans and sits on the President’s Council. Jonathan [Dorfan, current SLAC director] goes to I think it’s now called the cabinet. SLAC does not report either to Dean or even the Provost for Research, so we had nothing to do with them. I never knew William Case. Joe Patrick I knew, but just as a casual acquaintance. I had nothing to do with him.

Deken:

Were there other people at Stanford that had an impact on SLAC?

Panofsky:

Oh, yes. Well, firstly, people in applied physics took on a major initiative when SSRL was started. We had a lot of interaction with them. Then we established that Accelerator Physics: Accelerator Design and Engineering, an accelerator physics course, should be taught in applied physics, which Helmut Wiedemann taught. We had some interaction with people in the medical school, particularly Rubenstein, when there were applications of synchrotron radiation to cardiac analysis.

Deken:

What about that early art show that was done?

Panofsky:

Oh, yes. I remember there was an early art show where we contributed a whole bunch of exhibits, but I don’t remember how that was organized. We basically loaned a whole bunch of fancy copper hardware to an art show, showing how artistically impressive some of the hardware here was. That bunch of wave guides [sculpture] outside the cafeteria originated from that.

Deken:

That was my understanding, but I never have gotten to the bottom of how that came about.

Panofsky:

I forgot. I know that came about… I think Eisner. I think the Art Department was involved, but I may be wrong about that.

Deken:

That sounds right: Loren Eisner [Note: correct name is Lorenz Eitner].

Panofsky:

Yes. He knew about me because he was a student of my father I think. I have all these nefarious connections because my father was a prominent art historian, so he had disciples in various parts. I don’t remember how that came about, but I think it was Eitner who had an exhibit of scientific art or industrial art or whatever, so we contributed a bunch of artistic hardware, but the details, I’m sorry, I’m oblivious.

Deken:

That’s all right. Of course the other sort of contact that’s kind of unusual was when Paleo was discovered.

Panofsky:

Well, that was of course a totally independent thing. You know the history of that fairly well, and then the Historical Society wrote that up. Basically it was discovered by an accident. They over-excavated, stopped excavation, the bones stuck out, and then Adele [Panofsky, Pief’s wife] started essentially working very hard digging it out. I was sort of concerned that if paleontologists would behave like high-energy physicists, there would be floods of them overrunning the place, but that didn’t happen. Then a retired member of the Geology Department helped Adele a little bit, and then she established contact with people at the Geological Survey here in Menlo Park for professional advice. Then there was sort of continuing interest in that. There were visiting paleontologists from various places. There was a similar beast in Japan, so there were some Japanese paleontologists. Basically Adele plugged along for 20 years.

Deken:

Were there any other excavations at SLAC that ever uncovered… ?

Panofsky:

There were lots and lots of paleontological specimens which are all over the place in the target area, none of them as important. For instance, in the excavation for the central control room, there’s a 30-foot whale under the central control room, and we decided it was not a rare enough specimen to excavate it. Then when the government increased its sensitivity to the preservation of things, we assumed the obligation to sensitize various contractors when PEP was being constructed. Adele went around with a tray of bones, showing the contractors what paleontological specimens looked like to sensitize them to what to look for. I remember she had a tray of bones, and she went to the Sector 30 guard office with a tray of bones, and the guard said, “What are you taking in there?” She said, “Paleontological bones,” and the guard said, “I didn’t know there was anything dead out here.” [Chuckles] There were many amusing aspects to that.

So there are lots of relatively minor paleontological finds sort of almost continuously. Each time there are lots of whale bones, shark’s teeth. This used to be a sub-marine area, but there were no finds which were basically exciting, prominent, exceptional. There’s lots of marine paleontological material all over the end station.

Deken:

So the contact with Stanford was a retired geologist?

Panofsky:

Well, there were several contacts. In the early days of SLAC, we had major contacts with a Ben Page who helped us. The common interest with that community was a.) Paleontology, but that arose after Paleoparadoxia was dug up. But then, of course, earthquake safety. And Ben Page helped a great deal in surveying the site for dormant earthquake faults, so there was continuing interest in that. We also have some contact with them on the question of the stability of survey monuments. We placed a network of monuments all over the site. After earthquakes, they moved around a lot, and they turned out to be unreliable after a while. Our interest basically with the geological people was paleontology, but paleontology is not a big subject at Stanford. It was at the turn of the century, but it lost interest.

The two figures from Stanford geology activities were Ben Page who was very helpful, and then a man by the name of Packard, who was already retired who gave us some advice when Paleoparadoxia was discovered. That was about it.

Deken:

Then on the question… to just get back with the stability of the survey monuments, what was the advice that you were given? They have to be resurveyed? Replaced?

Panofsky:

Originally, we got some advice from the geology department on how to place survey monuments, and of course we decided to erect a tower on the east end of the accelerator there on the hill because we wanted to be able to establish the alignment of the accelerator. We needed basically a beginning and the end, so we needed two anchor points. In addition to that, we established a general survey net for locating all the other equipment and facilities and so forth. Then after the Loma Prieta earthquake, all those things moved around. So, when we realigned the accelerator after the Loma Prieta earthquake, we used the beam itself as an alignment tool rather than the monuments. I believe the decision was made (this was after my tenure) not to try to resurvey everything, but from then on in essentially use internal alignments. We had a lot of discussions with the Stanford geologists initially during the original construction planning just on ground stability issues.

Deken:

On whether this site would be stable enough?

Panofsky:

Yes. Over the whole two miles, there’s quite a variety of different formations, and the measures we had to take to stabilize a cut-and-fill operation depended very much on the nature of the geology.

Deken:

So is there an ongoing relationship with the geologists?

Panofsky:

No, although we’ve had Amos Nur giving some colloquia here. He’s been a friend of ours for quite a while, mainly through faculty relationships. No, not to my knowledge.

Deken:

Then here’s kind of a major question. How has being a part of Stanford University helped or hindered government relations?

Panofsky:

I think it has helped government relations a great deal in terms of giving us basically strength in resolving our various issues as they arose with the government, because the argument that ‘we are part of a university structure, this is the way the academic community goes about creating value,’ that helps a great deal in negotiating and resolving various issues as they come up. For instance, in the recent increasing concern with security, we are the only lab in the whole DOE family where not everybody has to wear badges. By simply saying that this is that disruptive. During the student unrest period when AEC wanted to have more restrictions on access, we maintained that by doing that we would actually draw more attention at SLAC being a government facility rather than academic facility if we did that. So, in many issues of that kind, it has helped a great deal.

Also, the government people went through different epochs where they wanted us to appoint a czar for various functions. For instance, whenever there is some kind of a flap about operational efficiency or safety or whatever, the first reaction by the government always is, “You should have an officer responsible for operational reliability or for safety,” and we’d point out that it’s much more efficient in the academic setting to take care of those things by leaving the responsibility with a line organization and not appoint a czar for these different kind of performance standards because that would just dilute responsibility rather than reinforce it. So, in those discussions, being part of a functioning and well-regarded university community gives us a lot of leverage. It doesn’t mean you win all the arguments, but it means that you have a respectable case. Indeed, having the University, being on University land, and having the University be a respected academic organization as a contractor helps a lot in doing things. We’ve always had good relations with the local DOE representatives — our relation with the local DOE office is quite good. That need not be so, if you follow the history of the SSC and all that; it can be very bad. Now and in the present various flaps about bidding out, re-competing who shall be the — we’ve been able to delay that, and I doubt very much that that will amount to much because of one specific fact, namely that we persuaded the trustees not to charge rent for the use of the land, which means that if any organization other than Stanford became the contractor for running SLAC, then rent would be charged. The provisions of the lease are ‘that SLAC shall serve the academic purposes of the University,’ or something to that extent. There are even some criteria about participation of the SLAC academic community, and failing those criteria being met, then the University shall charge rent to the government at applicable rate. Rent for 400 acres around here is a lot of cash, so if at some future time the government should decide to complete the thing and would propose that I don't know what, Lockheed should be the contractor to run SLAC, then that would cost the government quite a lot of extra money. So, being part of SLAC both of the community, having a faculty, and having a lease at no cost for academic purposes, that combination has offered a great deal of strength in maintaining the SLAC character in relation to government requirements.

Deken:

How has being part of Stanford University affected or impacted on SLAC’s relations with other high-energy physics labs?

Panofsky:

Not particularly. A lot of these formal relations actually make relatively little difference to the relations within the community of people doing similar work. Here we have SLAC with a structure of the university contractor on university lands. Here we have Fermilab which is run by Associate Universities on government owned land. We have Cornell: there’s a contract with the National Science Foundation on university land. We have Brookhaven, which is on an old military base run by AUI, which is a separate organization. But in practice, the way you actually manage access to the facilities, the committees advising the director as to who gets access to the facility and all that stuff, is pretty much the same. So, to some extent, excepting in crises, these relations don’t really make much difference. And once there is a crisis, then usually the nature of the crisis dominates what happens. To some extent, people tend to overstate the importance of these administrative relationships, at least that’s my view. Anyway, when it comes to relationship with our colleagues doing similar things and program management and so forth, it doesn’t make that much difference.

Deken:

What would be the kind of a crisis where it would make a difference?

Panofsky:

Well, I can see it would make a major difference if for some reason or other it turned out that there’s some kind of a charge that money is being used for private purposes. That would enter the public arena and publicity and so forth and so forth and Congress wants somebody’s head and all that. Having it be part of the University which was started by a robber baron, but which has avoided this kind of crisis, would make it easier to deal with that kind of a crisis on a more rational basis than for instance, well, you’ve followed the Los Alamos problems. Each time there is a lost-this and-that and-the-other it gets to be a headline story. I think having it be part of the University would help in that respect for instance if there’s a crisis.

Of course there’s an inverse crisis, and that is a problem. We are part of the University and so forth, but the University is operating SLAC on a no gain, no loss basis. If for some reason or other the government is unwilling to continue supporting the work here, then the University would have a crisis in deciding what to do. The University cannot walk away from it. While if is an all government site, if the government decides they do not want to continue the work, then it can be discontinued, while having the University be the responsible party means that they would be very directly and heavily involved if and when there’s a question of support of the program.

Deken:

I guess we can move to the next item here. Was there any impact of the women’s movement on campus that affected SLAC?

Panofsky:

Any impact on what?

Deken:

The women’s movement?

Panofsky:

Not really. We’ve always had some representation of women both professionally and of course almost 100% in the clerical field, but the women’s movement on SLAC didn’t do any particular thing. There’s continuous pressure to try to find more. There’s not a problem. The participation of women in physics has always been sort of a strange pattern. There always has been a major participation in analysis and some in theory. There’s been relatively low participation in getting-your-hands-dirty physics — the hands-on physics. Hands-on physics, experimental physics, and I think everybody pretty well understands we are doing fairly well in that respect. We have senior — but if you look at our faculty, Vera Lüth is the only experimentalist; all the rest of the ladies on our faculty are theorists. That issue is not a SLAC issue. It’s a basically ground-up issue of the available pool at that level of education. So the answer’s ‘no, there has not been any real impact here.’ We’ve had women in fairly senior positions, but on the faculty, we have now four women faculty members, which we’ve always had a large number of women in the computation activity, but we’ve had relatively few women experimentalists. The movement on campus essentially hasn’t made any significant impact, discontinuities.

Deken:

Can you talk to me about laboratory-community relations? SLAC and Menlo Park, for example?

Panofsky:

They’ve been in general very good. Again, looking at other laboratories, there have been all these flaps. In Brookhaven — there have been real disasters at Brookhaven. There are problems now in Livermore — major problems there. Excepting for the power line controversy, which was a major flap, we’ve had no negative interactions at all. On the contrary, we’ve got official recognition by the Committee for the Green Foothills once. In general, they have been good.

We have been, of course, trying from the very beginning, even during my watch trying to demonstrate openness. We have always been trying to demonstrate the fact that we have no secrets. We have nothing to hide. We have about 10,000 visitors a year. Excepting for, as I said, the power line problem, during my watch there were two major crises. One was the power line problem, and there was a minor crisis. I think I mentioned that last time when somebody said that our modulators gave a lot of noise, which turned out to be one hysterical gentleman. It just was technically wrong.

Also, and I must give a great deal of credit to that for Ginzton, when we originally laid out the site, we made a very specific effort that on looking at the sight-lines from the neighborhood that our more industrial-like operations would be below sight-lines.

Deken:

So, that was deliberate?

Panofsky:

Oh, very deliberate. We actually had people running around taking a look at this and the architectural drawings and all that. We did a lot of that. It was very deliberate. The fact that we basically from the very beginning established three levels of architectural standards: namely what we call the campus standard, which was high-class and there the Board of Trustees has to approve any new structures; then the shop standards; and then the industrial standard. So, the shop standards are routine buildings like you would find in an industrial park, and then the more industrial-like operations where we move heavy stuff around and dig holes and erect shielding walls and so forth and so forth. We made a deliberate effort to contour the site so that those are all in what I like to call “the depressed area”. So that has helped. Also again for that, we owe gratitude to Moulton. He worried a great deal about us causing increased traffic, which to some extent we do and how do people get here. We negotiated quite early in the game about everything from widening of Sand Hill Road and traffic signals and opening the rear gate and all that stuff. We’ve had generally good relations. The power line crisis, that’s a long historical story, and I think you have a long file on that.

Deken:

I do. I have good documentation.

Panofsky:

That had some of its slightly humorous moments. The major conflicts were that, and then the minor one about the noise. Otherwise, we simply haven’t had any problems.

Deken:

How did you manage community relations on an ongoing basis?

Panofsky:

Well, during the early days, we never had a director of communications, a director of community relations, or a director of administration — Basically Bob Moulton in his role of head of administrative services simply included that to be one of his responsibilities. He is sort of a community person. Before he joined us in that role he was on the staff of the University having that kind of job, and he is basically a person attuned to the community very much. He was sensitive to the issues, but it was basically incorporated. We didn’t have like we have now under Neil Calder [a communications officer]. We had nothing like that. We simply had that be a responsibility of the administrative services shop. During the power line crisis, I ran most of it myself.

Deken:

Oh, did you? I hadn’t realized that.

Panofsky:

Oh yes. I went on public TV, moderated by Casper Weinberger, in a dialogue with the Mayor of Woodside on the power line issue.

Deken:

Oh really? On public TV?

Panofsky:

On KQED here, with Casper Weinberger moderating — who then later became Secretary of Defense.

Deken:

So was it a debate?

Panofsky:

Yes, you could call it that or a discussion.

Deken:

Did that swing a lot of people one way or the other?

Panofsky:

I don’t have the slightest idea. I think most people thought we were all crazy. [Chuckles] I have no idea. We didn’t do any opinion surveys before on that.

Deken:

With the Mayor of Woodside.

Panofsky:

That’s right. I had a public debate with the Mayor of Woodside. You must have a whole cabinet on it…

Deken:

Yes, I have a whole couple boxes, and I have Bob Moulton’s memoir on it. He wrote that article.

Panofsky:

And then there was, of course, all the funny stories about Laurence Rockefeller and all that. It was quite a major activity, and my interaction with Pete McKloskey.

Deken:

That’s who I was trying to think of, McKloskey. He wasn’t the Mayor of Woodside, was he?

Panofsky:

No, Woodside retained him as counsel in connection with this business, and that made his name prominent in the community, which in turn helped him to get elected to Congress. We actually became good friends after, when he was in Congress. He is a maverick Republican, quite independent. Very smart gentleman with a sense of humor.

Deken:

We have a lot of material on that. I’m down to my list here of general questions. Just to sort of go through this list of names here and ask you how you met these particular individuals and in what capacity you’ve worked with them. Ed Ginzton is the first one.

Panofsky:

Well, Ed Ginzton I met first when I came to Stanford in 1951. No, I may have met him before, I’m not sure. But, anyway, our acquaintance was when I came here to Stanford. Then of course, when I came here to Stanford, there was a somewhat difficult situation. Ed was in charge of what was then the microwave laboratory. He was in charge of building the so-called 1B GeV electron linear accelerator, but he was also very heavily involved in klystron design and so forth. But he had essentially no contact at all with the community using the accelerator. We became friends, and I’m a great admirer of his. He’s a very careful, well-organized gentleman. Of course, you have a book of his recollections?

Deken:

Yes.

Panofsky:

He’s a Russian immigrant, and a champion chess player. He’s beaten me a number of times in chess. But things just didn’t function because he was spread too thin and he simply couldn’t dedicate any significant part of his intellectual attention to worrying about the use of the machine rather than its building. Then we worked together in the Urban Coalition. I don’t know whether you know that story.

Deken:

No, I don’t know that story.

Panofsky:

It was interesting. The Urban Coalition was during the ‘60s an organization basically interested in minority affairs, and at that time, the chairman was David Packard. When David Packard was called to Washington to become Deputy Secretary of Defense, David called me to his office and said, “Pief, will you take over to become co-chairman with Ed Ginzton of the Urban Coalition of the Peninsula?” I worked for several years with Ed as head of the Urban Coalition here. We set up a staff organization, and we gave minority enterprise grants and did a whole raft of things to establish minority footholds in the Peninsula. Ed and I worked on that quite a bit. We were very good friends, but very different characters in terms of he was highly organized, very systematic, very deliberate. Of course, one of the great strengths was that he had both his foot in the industrial world and the academic world. I’ve known him since 1951 until he died.

Deken:

And he was the first director of Project M, but then after he left…

Panofsky:

Yes, he was the first director of Project M during the design phase, and then the Varian brothers both died and he left. Then was this business which we discussed before that there’s no record of my ever having been appointed. Quite how that transition was actually “papered,” I don’t have the slightest idea. Apparently you don’t have a record; I think you looked at the president’s office.

Deken:

I did. I had them look.

Panofsky:

And they drew a blank.

Deken:

They drew a blank as well.

Panofsky:

These days where there are formal searches and formal this, that, and the other, it’s a rather amusing situation. Anyway, Ginzton and I remained friends. Some of his rather lack of formality as to who had what responsibility didn’t make any difference. It was never totally clear. We worked together in the early days before SLAC when he basically took responsibility for the microwave part of the thing and I basically took responsibility for finishing the accelerator and basically modifying its engineering so you could do science with it.

Deken:

Then he was a consultant to the president, but you didn’t know that.

Panofsky:

Unbeknownst to me. That’s right. I just found out about that.

Deken:

How about Dick Garwin, how did you meet him?

Panofsky:

Dick Garwin I met first at CERN and that was sort of an interesting episode. I had a sabbatical from Stanford in 1959, and we were both working on the so called G-minus-2 experiment at CERN. In addition to that, I crossed paths with him almost continuously on my various activities on the President’s Science Advisory Committee and then the National Academy’s Committee. We crossed paths many, many times a year on that. Originally, I met him when we were working together during my sabbatical at CERN on the G-minus-2 of the muon. We’re still good friends.

Deken:

John Holdren?

Panofsky:

Well, John Holdren I met in my relatively rare contacts with the Pugwash Group. He was one of the main key people in the Pugwash movement. Relatively strongly vocal gentleman in environmental advocacy, energy efficiency, and so forth. I didn’t really know him well. I just had occasional contact with him because I went to Pugwash meetings I think twice in my life. I didn’t see him very much. Then I was asked to become the chair of the committee in International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy, and he joined that group, and then we became well acquainted once he joined that group and then he became my successor when I retired from that.

Deken:

So that’s how you really got to know each other.

Panofsky:

Yes. We interact with him continuously. We worked together on a major report on the disposition of excess weapons plutonium, and he took charge of the reactor-based method of disposing of plutonium and I took charge of all the other methods. We collaborated a lot. He’s by profession a plasma physicist, but most of the professional activity has to do with energy policy and so forth. He is a very effective writer, very good speaker, very polished communicator. What original contribution he’s made I frankly don’t know. He was an interlocutor and communicator, and he’s a smart man.

Deken:

How about John W. Lewis? You mentioned him last night.

Panofsky:

John Lewis I have known simply here on campus. He’s the political scientist who’s been an expert for a long time on the China military program. He’s written a book, the sort of classic book on the Chinese nuclear weapons program. We talk a lot together because he’s not a technical person, he’s a political scientist, so he often talks to me when he has technical issues concerning the Chinese nuclear program. We’re good friends. I don't know him terribly well, but we’re professional colleagues. He’s my source on China expertise, and I am his source on nuclear witchcraft. Claude Pepper I don’t know at all.

Deken:

You just mentioned him last time, and I thought I remember that name because —

Panofsky:

Claude Pepper, he is the reason why it is now illegal to retire people on grounds of age. He was a United States senator, and he served for a long time. He thought of himself very highly in his old age, and he said, “So, since I am functioning well, I am old: why the heck should anybody retire when he’s old?” He succeeded in getting legislation passed which essentially made it impossible to retire people just on the basis of chronological age. You have to prove their incompetence. I don’t know the gentleman.

Deken:

You told that story last time, and I thought there might be more behind it. That’s why I wanted to ask.

Panofsky:

No, there isn’t. I don’t know the gentleman.

Deken:

That’s sort of my whole list, unless you can think of someone else who has been a significant person at Stanford.

Panofsky:

Other than Sid Drell of course.

Deken:

How did you meet Sid?

Panofsky:

Sid was here as a young instructor when I came to Stanford, and we started talking and became friends. Then he left for a while, and you have to find out from him. He then taught at MIT for two or three years and then was recruited back to Stanford.

Deken:

You didn’t recruit him?

Panofsky:

No. We were colleagues before SLAC started. He taught theoretical physics and he did some very extremely important work. Then when there were tensions developed when SLAC was started between the physics faculty conservative group who didn’t want high-energy physics to become as strong as it did, Sid and I were sort of the “main dissidents,” if you wish, in getting SLAC started as an independent entity, and we’ve been close friends ever since. He is a theorist. We also have shared interest in security affairs that was essentially throughout. On campus, there are many people — Stan Wojcicki I’ve known for long time here on campus. There are many other people on campus I have been working with.

Deken:

How did you meet Burt Richter?

Panofsky:

I recruited him. That was sort of an amusing story. During the early days of the high-energy physics lab, this must have been 1947 or 1948, we had two vacancies: one for an instructor in the Physics Department, the other one for research associate at the high-energy physics lab. I recruited two people. Burt Richter and Jerome Pine, and it was sort of an arbitrary decision as to which of the two gentleman took which job. Burt decided just to devote more or less full time to research and not become an instructor in the Physics Department. They were jobs at comparable seniority and comparable compensation. Pine became the instructor there. Pine is now a professor at Caltech, but switched to biology. So even though they were both recruited in parallel, I more or less left it to them as to who took which job, it turned out that their careers, to put it mildly, became highly divergent.

Deken:

What about Dick Taylor? How did you meet Dick Taylor?

Panofsky:

Dick Taylor was a graduate student in the Physics Department getting his thesis at the high-energy physics lab. He worked for Bob Mozley and me, and he was an extremely intense individual. I think I take the privilege of once keeping him from almost killing himself when something or other didn’t work in one of the high voltage things and he was barging in there trying to fix things. I ripped him out of there and made sure everything got grounded and so forth. He was an extremely, extremely intense person. He got his degree as a graduate student at the high-energy physics lab, and then went along to here and became a member of the faculty and sort of the rest is history. We’ve been together forever essentially, since the early days of the high-energy physics lab.

Deken:

What about Martin Perl?

Panofsky:

We recruited him. We had a faculty search, or what was in those days a faculty search. Not anywhere near as formal and extensive as is now required. He was at the University of Michigan. We recruited him, and he accepted. He was always a very independent, very maverick individual, but a man of strong conviction as to what he wanted to do. Generally avoided entanglements with large groups. Did some beautiful experiments in the early days of SLAC, and lepton search and did many other things. Then, again, the rest is history. Basically I personally recruited him, but as a result of a faculty committee search. The data you can find out. But we were not long-term friends. I sort of vaguely knew he existed. When we had a faculty vacancy, we did an informal search and recruited him from The University of Michigan. Are you trying to find a list of my 10,000 best friends?

Deken:

No, no, no: I was just trying to sort of hit the key people on SLAC faculty.

Panofsky:

Actually, these are interesting questions, because Taylor, we’ve been in contact sort of the entire period here. Perl came after SLAC was already — [tape break]

[in response to an un-recorded question about Helen Quinn]… I had very little to do with that. That was done on mainly — the theory group was always sort of fairly well internalized, and since I’m not a theorist I’m in no position to judge the relative achievements of people in the theory group. So I know her, we are good friends, but never had anything we put into action with her. A person who is of interest in history of SLAC is of course Matt Sands. He became well known during the war at the MIT radiation lab. He then went to Caltech where he played a major role in the construction of the electron synchrotron at Caltech. Then we were looking for a deputy director, and I recruited him. I remember in detail we worked very hard on them. In a funny way, he was a very good but at the same time a very difficult deputy director because he’s a man of extremely high professional standards and very intolerant of people who contribute solidly but who don’t meet his standards in intellectual achievement. He himself is an absolutely excellent analyst on technical issues. So, whenever he met here with some of the members of the engineering staff and he could do it better than the engineer, he would let him know in no uncertain terms. He developed some not very happy relations between himself and some of the more down-to-earth engineering people. He left by common consent and he joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz. We are still friends. He’s got health problems. He can’t see very well. In fact, he sees very badly. He also had lady problems.

Deken:

I knew that he was still around, but I didn’t know —

Panofsky:

He’s here at UC Santa Cruz, retired, and I think he can hardly see. And he also had problems with several ladies. I admired his intellectual achievements very much, but to put it bluntly (I don’t know whether you want to put it in the record), he was a real bear when it came to human relations with people who did not meet his standards but who nevertheless were very excellent contributors. He wrote while he was here what I call “the bible” on the orbit dynamics in electron/positrons colliders and electron/positron storage. That is one of the most cited works in the field. So he is an absolutely first-rate contributor.

Deken:

But not a successful administrator?

Panofsky:

No. It was to some extent my fault here. He was slightly miscast as deputy director. He would have been fantastic as essentially the leader of accelerator physics or something of that kind.

Deken:

What about Dick Neal?

Panofsky:

Well, Dick Neal was already at Stanford when I came there. He came to Stanford from the Navy. You see his picture right in front of you. For a while we weren’t close. He got his Ph.D. under Ginzton working on the — He wrote his thesis on the Mark 3 accelerator, and then he stayed with me as Associate Director of the Technical Division. He was in essence the project manager for the construction of SLAC, and he was one of the best-organized individuals I have ever known, and a most systematic person. Was a man of infinite patience. He was not a highbrow analyst. He was a lowbrow analyst, I mean he was a quantitative person, but he mainly was incredibly good in pulling together — He was, I guess, sort of the opposite of Matt Sands in the sense that he was incredibly good at pulling together the work of a large number of individuals towards a common goal. As you know, he served as the editor in chief on the Blue Book [The Stanford Two-Mile Accelerator, 1968]. That’s sort of characteristic. I see him once or twice a year. He’s retired in La Jolla in Southern California.

Deken:

Do you think he’d be somebody who would want to be interviewed?

Panofsky:

I think he would be magnificent. He has a very good memory. When I write him a letter or something, he writes back the most detailed, well-considered document. The answer is yes. He’s older than I am significantly. He’s quite hard of hearing, but he’s got electronics. I tried to invite him here for the 40th anniversary stuff, but his wife had some health problems so he had to stay home, that didn’t work. But unless something occurred more recently, he’s around. He lives in a subdivision. It’s a few miles north of La Jolla. I have his address and email and all the rest of it.

Deken:

I guess that’s a good segue. Are there other people you think would be worthwhile my interviewing?

Panofsky:

Arnold Eldredge would be worth interviewing. He was a chief mechanical engineer in charge of building the machine. He was, again, a real bear for detail. A very tough character. Relatively narrowly focused, but very able. He’s certainly worth interviewing. Bob Moulton would be worth interviewing. You know him don’t you?

Deken:

Yes, I do. I worked with him on that article.

Panofsky:

We’re all sort of long in the tooth, but that’s the way things go.

Deken:

What about Gene Rickansrud?

Panofsky:

Yeah, he’s around. From my understanding, his wife has had lots of health problems, and so did he. Marsh O’Neill is worth interviewing.

Deken:

Marsh O’Neill? I don’t know him.

Panofsky:

Well, he showed up in various functions. He was the business bureaucrat at high-energy physics lab. He’s a non-scientist, but he probably — I suspect; I don’t know — he probably has a very good recollection of many of the early events here. Pindar is dead.

Deken:

Sid Drell. I should probably talk to Sid Drell.

Panofsky:

Sid. Again, but Sid really didn’t interact. He was not really a deputy in that sense. He acted for the director when I was on leave, but when I was around he participated in all the director’s meetings and so forth. He basically created the theory activity. He basically had a separate activity. I don’t know… whom have you talked to?

Deken:

You’re my first interview ever.

Panofsky:

Those are all valuable sources in different ways. Actually, Marsh O’Neill would not be useful, excepting for the very early days. Eldredge would be useful about the construction of SLAC. Neal would be useful all the way through until he retired, but when he retired, he retired with a bang.

Deken:

That’s my understanding. Unlike most people, he cut the cord.

Panofsky:

That’s right. He cut the cord and managed an apartment complex. He’s a very nice guy. He’s a gentleman’s gentleman. He’s a superb human being. What can I say? He basically didn’t forget anything, so I would suspect, unless he has deteriorated with old age, he’s probably a better source in terms of documenting events than I am.

Deken:

I think you’ve been an excellent source.

Panofsky:

Well, I’m very unreliable on sequence and dates and probably names. But anyway, that’s the way it is. Okay?

Deken:

Okay. This is good.