Maury Tigner

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ORAL HISTORIES
Interviewed by
William Thomas
Interview date
Location
Video conference
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Interview of Maury Tigner by William Thomas on April 12, 2024,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,
www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/48389

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Abstract

In this interview, Cornell University physicist Maury Tigner discusses his involvement with the Superconducting Super Collider, as well as other collider construction projects in the U.S. and abroad. He reflects on the character of discussions relating to the project that became the SSC at the 1982 Snowmass workshop and a workshop he chaired at Cornell in early 1983, including his early presumption that costs would prove prohibitive. He discusses the conflict over recommending the termination of Brookhaven National Lab’s Isabelle collider that took place on the 1983 subpanel of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel chaired by Stanley Wojcicki, and he offers his perspective on the positions on Isabelle of President Reagan’s science advisor, DOE career officials, and European subpanel participants John Adams and Carlo Rubbia. Tigner recalls his recruitment of Wojcicki to the SSC Reference Designs Study and his experiences leading the SSC Central Design Group, including R&D funding limitation and oversight by Universities Research Association and the Department of Energy. He offers his perception that he was never seriously considered for the role of SSC Laboratory Director. Tigner also discusses the cost-conscious tradition of accelerator construction at Cornell University, memories of working with Helen Edwards, and the National Science Foundation’s support for Cornell’s accelerator laboratory. The interview concludes with an overview of Tigner’s more recent activities in China and his work on the Handbook of Accelerator Physics and Engineering.

Transcript

Thomas:

This is William Thomas of the American Institute of Physics. The date is April 12, 2024. I am speaking to Maury Tigner of Cornell University via Zoom. We spoke, Maury, to you a few years ago as part of an oral history that covers your entire career. Today we're going to be focusing a little bit more on the history of the Superconducting Super Collider, where you of course had a very central role. I realize it was 30 to 40 years ago now, so that memories might not be as fresh as they once were, but hopefully you'll be able to lend some insights to this. Also of course, I realize that it was a period of significant disappointments for yourself and for the HEP community at large, and so once again I just really appreciate you being willing to speak with us about it today. First of all, I’m wondering if you can just give me a general sense of — now that it’s so far in the past — of what your attitude toward it is now and your general feelings about it.

Tigner:

Of course, I’m very sorry that it happened, and that essentially rang in the change in the priority of particle physics in the U.S. scientific armory. It sort of marked the beginning of the time when at least some of the top officials in the government were saying, “Well, we don’t want this anyway. Let’s just give it to the Europeans.” That made me very sad to hear that, but those are the facts of life. If we were trying to bring it forward to now, would we have any more sympathy than then? I suspect not. When people talk about the frontiers of science, they talk about space things, sending a person to the Moon or to Mars or whatever. So, I think getting people to go for something as abstract as the Super Collider would be even more difficult now than it was back then.

Thomas:

I know that we've just had the latest P5 report come out, and so of course they are proposing a muon collider now. People have been thinking about the International Linear Collider for a very long time. CERN is looking at the Future Circular Collider. So, there will be a lot of hurdles in the future as people try and propose and move these sorts of projects forward.

Tigner:

Indeed.

Thomas:

To go back to the history of it, I’m wondering if we can start at the period—I know that you were involved pretty early on with the International Committee for Future Accelerators, or at least you attended their meetings that they had in the late 1970s. I’m wondering if you can give us some of your recollections of that, when people first started talking about building a collider at this scale.

Tigner:

That meeting was—the ICFA accelerator—the committee was more, at that time, as I remember it, focused on a linear collider. The circular—the SSC—came out of some activities in the U.S. You may know that back in 1983 or 1982, I forget which exactly, the DOE was—we had been disappointed. There was this Isabelle collider at Brookhaven that should have been operating then. There were technical difficulties with it and so it never really came to pass. The question sort of was, what do we do now? Some people said, “We should keep hammering away at Isabelle and maybe we'll get it to work eventually.” And other people saying, “Let’s do something bolder.” Because it was clear by then that the center-of-mass energy that Isabelle could handle was not really going to be very exciting anymore. It was sort of past its prime, if you will. The DOE appointed a subpanel. Let me see, how did this work? I think the first thing that happened was there was a Snowmass meeting.

Thomas:

Yeah, I wanted to ask about the Snowmass meeting as well, and all the meetings around here.

Tigner:

That sort of thing was discussed, among quite a few other things. But at least it was fresh in people’s minds, since this HEPAP subpanel that was appointed was quite soon after the Snowmass. One of the things that happened was the subpanel, which by the way—and this is quite important—was chaired by a guy named Stan Wojcicki, who was a Stanford particle physics professor. He was very good. Because the subpanel meeting was very contentious, because the DOE had managed to put people on there that were still rooting for Isabelle. So, it was just a very contentious meeting, and people are going back and forth and back and forth on should we do Isabelle or shouldn't we do Isabelle. The panel, I believe, was scheduled to meet for a week. There was a certain number of days that were assigned to it for this. Right after that, the main HEPAP was having a meeting and they were supposed to receive a report from this subpanel and then pass that report on to the DOE. Well, that didn’t happen! Because there was not enough agreement within the panel to say that it was a majority opinion.

Thomas:

You're referring to the meeting at Woods Hole?

Tigner:

Yeah. So, it was decided that what we should do is, having failed at that first one, that we should have another meeting, and perhaps people realizing the bad situation we were in would be willing to loosen up a little and think a little bit beyond the Isabelle… conundrum, or whatever the right word is. I guess it was about two weeks maybe after the Woods Hole meeting that we had a meeting—I think it was at Columbia, Nevis Lab.

Thomas:

That’s right, yes.

Tigner:

And I believe, although I may be wrong about this, the new reconstituted HEPAP subpanel had Carlo Rubbia and—oh, what’s his name?—the guy who was DG of CERN.

Thomas:

John Adams.

Tigner:

John Adams, thank you! They were on the panel. Interestingly enough, their advice was, “Keep after Isabelle. Once you've made up your mind to do something, you better do it, in order to maintain your credibility.” We never knew whether they were just trying to throw a monkey wrench in the works to keep the competition at bay or whether they really meant it. It didn’t matter, because people didn’t pay all that much attention to them. I think people came to the realization that even if Isabelle were made to work—even if they made the magnets work, which they hadn’t yet—it would take years to actually put it into operation, and that would make it even less likely to have any interesting results. I think people pretty much somehow had come to the conclusion that we should just drop that.

The idea of the really big machine had been talked about some at Snowmass, and the subject came up again. That then struck a resonant chord, and people said, “Yeah, I guess that’s the right thing to do.” Of course, it was backed up by some discussion of what the center-of-mass energy should be, and what kind of physics you might hope to do with this thing, and so forth. It was then recommended… the subpanel ended up recommending to HEPAP that this machine should be considered seriously by the Department of Energy. By the way, the name of Superconducting Super Collider was coined by Dave Jackson. Even though it was a really awkward name, people couldn't think of anything better, so those were the terms that were now being discussed.

Thomas:

Was that at the Cornell workshop that took place at the same time as Stan Wojcicki’s panel, that he coined that?

Tigner:

No, this was at the Nevis meeting. The Cornell meeting was before the… maybe it was before the second subpanel meeting?

Thomas:

I jotted down some dates beforehand, and I have them written down here. The first subpanel meeting was in February. The Cornell workshop was at the end of March, beginning of April.

Tigner:

Oh, okay. But there, we were definitely talking about the big machine.

Thomas:

That was the entire point of the workshop, right?

Tigner:

Yeah.

Thomas:

You chaired that?

Tigner:

Yes, I did. Of course, it wasn’t a great coincidence that all the people that attended it were in favor of the big machine anyway. We weren’t going to get anybody coning to spoil the works. The subpanel put in its recommendation to HEPAP and then HEPAP passed it along to the Department of Energy. Much to our great surprise, the Department of Energy picked up on it! They said, “Go, go.” I guess it must have been the Department of Energy, through their High Energy Physics division, that appointed a panel of lab directors to come up with a… now, let me see, how this was supposed to happen? I guess there was an idea to have a study group which was to take place at Berkeley. That did take place. The Department of Energy participated in it. At least they had several representatives there at the meeting to make sure we didn’t do anything illicit. Of course, there were people there from SLAC, from Berkeley, from Brookhaven, from Fermilab, and from Cornell, and maybe a couple of universities that maintained some interest in accelerators. We designed most of the table of contents for the report, and then we got to work to try to make estimates of times, difficulties, and costs.

Thomas:

Is this the Reference Designs Study that you're talking about?

Tigner:

Yeah, so we did that. That report was then submitted to the Department of Energy. And, as is their wont, they had it reviewed by some panel of experts who gave it the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval. Then, after some mulling it over, I guess the DOE said, “Let’s go ahead and have a design study for the real thing.” They then put together another panel, which is probably the same one that helped with the organization of the first study, but their task was to come up with a director for the study, this real design study of the SSC. I think this was one of these things where they said, “Well, obviously Pief Panofsky should be the chair of this because he’s the guy with the most experience of dealing with the government and dealing with accelerators and…” blah blah blah. And I guess he refused.

Then I am not sure who else they… maybe Burt Richter? The problem with them was this was going to be a proton machine. There was no question about what it was going to do, it was going to collide protons. Those guys were electron guys. They didn’t want to get sucked into being involved in a proton machine when they didn’t think proton machines were worth a hoot anyway, that it was a bad choice to start with. [laughs] Anyway, after those refusals, and maybe there were more—I’m simply not… this was all done pretty much behind closed doors, so only some of this stuff leaks out. At any rate, as an act of desperation they asked me if I’d be willing to do it. I said, sure, I would do it.

The very first thing I did was call up Stan Wojcicki and ask him if he would be willing to serve with me to try to put this study together. He didn’t agree or disagree but he invited me to come to dinner at his house. I got a plane ticket and got out there to Palo Alto and had a very pleasant dinner at his house. He had three high school-age daughters and a very charming wife, and we had a really nice dinner together, didn’t talk anything about this proposal until after dinner. The dishes were cleared away. I started talking with Stan again. He said, “I’ll have to talk to my family about this.” He went out to the kitchen, behind a closed door, and had a family conference about this. I don’t remember how long they took, but it wasn’t terribly long. He came back in and said, “I’ll do it.”

By then it was well known around the community that DOE was going to go ahead with this design study. Dave Shirley, who was then the director of Lawrence Berkeley Lab, invited us to come there. Of course, other people were hoping that we would come to their place, too. But Berkeley offered us a whole top floor of a really big building, and other perks like a few parking permits, which at Berkeley, a parking permit is worth its weight in gold! My two cents on this was that it would be much easier to get the experts to come to California than it would be to get them to come to Ithaca or some other place in the East which had transportation difficulties and not as nice a climate, and blah blah blah. Of course, Stan was willing to do it in California because he lived there. In fact, he was able to live at home and come to the daily work every day. He commuted from Palo Alto. Then we started recruiting people. The lab directors were extremely collaborative, which I must say was quite a pleasant surprise to me. They were willing to let their accelerator expert people come to help out in doing this design study. That’s how we got started. I forgot what the question was! [laughs]

Thomas:

[laughs] That’s a good overview! Do you mind if we backtrack and talk about certain things like—even Snowmass? You mentioned that what was then kind of referred to as the Desertron, later the SSC, was one topic among many. Was there any sense that people going into that would try and make a push for that proposal? I know that Leon Lederman was very closely involved. He had a big address at the conference on that.

Tigner:

Yeah, he did. But people probably were not convinced that that was something that could be entertained. There were lots of other things being discussed there. There was lots of physics being discussed. There was lots of detector technology being discussed, and what kind of R&D needed to be done. I think there was even a session on what R&D needed to be done if we were going to build such a huge proton accelerator. As I remember, it was a very pleasant meeting. People got along well with each other. There was quite a participation from abroad. It was a very good meeting and I think it formed a good basis for letting the experts know who the other experts were, so that if this ever got serious, you’d know who to phone up and say, “Can you come and join us?” It had that usage, too, which was very helpful.

Thomas:

It didn’t quite seem like a turning point necessarily for you, that people were discussing the idea of a 20-TeV machine before then, but this was a point where people really started to push for it, I suppose Lederman in particular?

Tigner:

Yeah, he was. I personally didn’t think there was much of a chance because I knew how expensive it was going to be. We already had some—from scaling from other machines whose final costs were well known, it was obviously going to be very expensive, and therefore at least I personally didn’t think it had much of a chance. It was interesting to talk about, but I didn’t see that you could really bank on it. So, it was very good that it had been discussed at the Snowmass. The scientific aspects of it had been discussed. People were familiar with the idea and what you could do with it. I think that was a good background for the HEPAP subpanel that ultimately said, “Let’s do it.”

Thomas:

Right, right. I noticed that a little bit before this, you had written some papers—you yourself chaired a HEPAP subpanel on R&D in 1980, and that the focus of that really was on reducing costs. Do you recall that?

Tigner:

Yes, I do, now that you mention it.

Thomas:

I guess that was in general a theme of R&D? First, that there wasn’t enough R&D, and second that the objective was mainly to get these costs down?

Tigner:

Right. I think one of the things that became clear… even though we had very bad luck with Isabelle, it became clear that you really needed to have superconducting magnets to reduce the overall size of the machine. Instead of having—well, I won’t give any numbers, but it was clear that the tunnel is one of the most expensive components of the whole thing. If you could cut down the size of that, you were ahead of the game.

Thomas:

Do you have any recollections of your views on what was going on at CERN? They were building the LEP at that time in a tunnel, in the tunnel that would ultimately accommodate the LHC. Did you regard that as something that was going to be challenging the United States, that they were likely to move ahead with that?

Tigner:

Ahead with which?

Thomas:

With the LHC.

Tigner:

Oh.

Thomas:

Because they were building the LEP but they were making the tunnel big enough to accommodate a proton collider.

Tigner:

Yeah, but I don’t know how serious they really were. They were serious enough for the CERN Council to give them the extra money to make the tunnel bigger. My concern about the LEP was that that was a competitor for us. We were not thinking about anything nearly that big as an electron-positron collider beam machine. I was really sorry to see that because I thought it was a—and my colleagues at Cornell thought that was a really good idea and were very sorry that we weren’t seriously thinking about doing something like that here. We were pretty slow to get into colliding-beam machines. The CERN guys started out with the ISR, and that was a hell of a thing to get going. Of course, that was the first of its kind, and it had all sorts of difficulties with it. Even after they designed it and built it, then they discovered all these phenomena which happened, which had they known about it, they might have [laughs] thought twice about building it in the first place. But they didn’t. Looking at it from afar, from the U.S., we were thinking, well, would we have the courage to go ahead and do that, knowing that it might reveal all sorts of unhappy circumstances that would make us regret that we ever got involved in it?

But the whole idea of colliding beam machines was really heating up around the world. The Russians in Novosibirsk, at the Budker Institute, were doing it, but many people here just thought they were kind of crazy. But they made machines that worked, and the Italians made this very nice machine that worked. It did discover some very unhappy phenomena, which it was good that they discovered and not us, [laughs] because that… But the Italian… Sanità, who was a supporter of particle physics in the Frascati Lab, were very liberal minded, and they didn’t mind that they found problems that made the very first machine that they built, electron-positron machine, AdA, didn’t work! It was because of this intrabeam scattering. The beam lifetime was very short.

That allowed… Bruno Touschek, who was one of the scientists at Frascati, actually then sat down and calculated what it should be. Lo and behold, he got the same answer that the experiments gave. But he also showed that the cross section for this debilitating disease went down very fast as the energy went up. I forget whether it was the fifth power of the energy, or it was some higher power. So, you didn’t have to go much higher in energy before you knew you were going to have a decent lifetime for the beam. I think that’s probably what gave the Germans the courage to go ahead and build the… what did they call it? I’m getting old, I don’t remember what they called their first machine. But it worked well, and they got a lot of physics out of it. [ed., This refers to PETRA at DESY, which was completed in 1978.]

It happened that I was given the privilege of spending a year at DESY, mostly because the… well, I’m not going to tell you why. [laughs] But I had a lot of fun working there. I actually didn’t work on the colliding-beam machine, but on another project I worked with a guy who was one of the major actors in designing the DESY machine. I started writing back to Cornell and saying, “This is something that we should do.” We had built this 10-GeV synchrotron. It was clear that to go to the next energy level that would be useful for, an electron synchrotron would be way, way too big, way, way too expensive. We did actually look into… there was a big Army base during the Second World War not too far from Ithaca. Now I’ve even forgotten the name of it—doesn't matter—but it was big enough to house a synchrotron that would have 100 GeV. We looked into it. We studied the topography there and paid some visits, had soil experts look at it. But we brought the idea up with the NSF people and they laughed. That was the end of that idea.

Thomas:

Because NSF was supporting Cornell’s laboratory at that time, right?

Tigner:

Right. We started out with the Navy right after the Second World War, and then the Mansfield Amendment was to get the DOD out of the research business. Then Bob Wilson, who was the director at the time, had to make a decision. Were we going to go with the AEC or were we going to go with the newly formed National Science Foundation? I don’t know whether he flipped a quarter or what, but he ended up making the right decision, because it turned out the AEC almost immediately thereafter shut down the accelerators that they had financed at all the universities. They said, “We're going to stop this stuff, and we're going to have one central laboratory with a big accelerator.” Which turned out to be Fermilab. They would have wiped us out, too, so it’s a good thing we went with the NSF. It turned out that from the very beginning, there was a certain spirit of competition between the NSF and the DOE when it came to particle physics. There were two important people at the NSF who thought it would be a good idea for us to build an e+e- colliding beam machine at Cornell. They were punished politically for that, but they stuck to their guns and they managed to come up with the money.

At Cornell, we were able to do things much less expensively than the DOE because we were able to use—well, there were two reasons. One, at Cornell it was the faculty who were building the machines, at least up until that time. The faculty didn’t have to be paid any extra than what they were already being paid, and they already were quite expert at designing and building accelerators. I think that was probably the principal secret of why we were able to go ahead with this thing. Unbeknownst to all outsiders, of course this was the time when the faculty was beginning to rebel at having to be sucked into building these machines. Because we're now talking about something that was much bigger than whatever had been done before. They saw the handwriting on the wall that they wouldn't be doing much science if they agreed to be major participants. But by that time, I had already gained enough experience that they were willing to put it in my hands, to be the director of getting a machine designed and then getting it built. That worked out okay. I don’t know how we got off on this tangent. [ed., This discussion relates to the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR), which was completed in 1979.]

Thomas:

We're a little bit earlier in the history now, but I think it’s useful background. It may overlap somewhat with what we discussed in the previous interview when David Zierler did it, but I think that that’s helpful background. In particular, the economizing—I know that that was very much Bob Wilson’s philosophy, and it sounds like it was kind of a general Cornell philosophy. I’m curious about some of the early cost estimates around the SSC, especially the one that was come up with at the Cornell workshop in ’83. Do you remember if that was controversial at all? It was on the low side, I think, especially compared to what it ended up being, but…

Tigner:

Bob Wilson was at that meeting. You probably know this already, but the directors of the DOE labs were not fans of Bob Wilson because of the fact that he always accused them of spending too much money on their accelerators. They always did work by just hiring a fleet of engineers so that the scientists could, you know, do science, whereas at Cornell the scientists were willing to at least participate. Even now, even though the faculty were not charged with doing the whole machine—and part of that was I think Bob Wilson had long since left to go to found Fermilab, and so I was stuck with having to persuade people to do things. [laughs] Of course, not being the director of the lab, I didn’t have that kind of punch. But I did get… some of the parts of the accelerator, like the magnets, which were an enormous part of the cost and the labor, were actually supervised by—or the assembly of the magnets was supervised by a couple of the faculty members.

That was very helpful because they had had that experience of the earlier machines, so they knew what they were talking about. They knew how to buy the iron for the magnets, which was a pretty tricky thing. If you just call up the steel company, they would have sold you a bill of goods. You had to have rigorous control over the chemistry, rigorous control over the manufacture so the laminations were made with the correct precision and weren’t bent and so forth. That was extremely valuable, to have the people who had done that for earlier machines take care of that aspect of it, because it was very tricky. We had to go back again and again to the iron companies and say, “You're not doing what you said you were going to do. You're handing us junk.” We got through it. We ended up building the machine. We got it to work very quickly. As Wilson would have said, it was overdesigned. “If it works the first time,” he said, “you spent too much money.” [laughs]

Thomas:

I think it gets at the philosophy of machine building. Reading some of the literature, especially the Tunnel Visions book, on the Superconducting Super Collider, of course they ended up having Helen Edwards do the design, and she had done the Tevatron at Fermilab, which I think Bob Wilson probably would have said was overdesigned because it worked pretty much right away, as opposed to having a longer commissioning period.

Tigner:

It didn’t work right away. They had a hard time with it. Part of it was that these were Bob Wilson’s cheap-made magnets, and there were a lot of magnet failures that had… they had to be removed from the tunnel and reworked in the shop to get rid of the short circuits and whatever else was there. Helen was a Cornell student. In fact, she and I were students together. She played a big role in making the 10-GeV synchrotron work, I remember. That was a real Wilson design because [laughs] that was a hell of a thing to get going. I remember she and I were always assigned to the owl shift. The tunnel was an el-cheapo tunnel and so it leaked. There was water dripping from the joints between the various tunnel sections. Here we were—here I was… Helen was at the control room, and I was down in the tunnel trying to find out why whatever it was wasn’t working. The thing that gave us a lot of trouble was the RF system. I had to get into the RF cabinets—well, there was 20 kilovolts in there, and there was water on the floor and water dripping down from the ceiling. I mean, this was pretty hairy business. Fortunately, I didn’t tell my wife about all this stuff! [laughs] We did get through it and we got the machine to work. Then she went off and went to go to Fermilab and help Wilson build a machine.

Thomas:

If I could come back to the question of the early cost estimates—again, I have this written down. Coming out of the Cornell workshop, the figures that were written down were 2.4 to 3 billion without any R&D, but that if you did all R&D, it would be 1.3 to 2 billion. Do you remember, was that a controversial set of figures back then, or was it accepted among the people at the workshop?

Tigner:

I think most of the people there were not the type of people who really worried about that sort of stuff. I think that was ridiculous, but there it was. I guess we just didn’t have any notion that when you got to building such a big machine, you're going to have to do a lot of things the expensive way and not the cheap way. I don’t think we really appreciated what that meant.

Thomas:

I think that figure was then repeated in the HEPAP subpanel’s report, and so maybe it got a little bit more traction than they were anticipating?

Tigner:

Yeah, another one of the things that… well, I don’t know if you want to get into this—the Texas Accelerator Center, which was a thorn in our side, and they kept advertising they could do it for half the cost.

Thomas:

They were advocating the superferric magnets?

Tigner:

Yeah.

Thomas:

There was a certain amount of pressure, do you think, to keep the price down, either because of the competition or because of the sense of what was politically palatable? Or maybe you just didn’t think about it that much?

Tigner:

[inaudible] from the DOE about the costs.

Thomas:

Sorry, could you repeat that?

Tigner:

I did not feel any pressure from the DOE about the costs.

Thomas:

Okay, thank you.

Tigner:

Coming back then to the HEPAP subpanel, did you get the sense, especially at the kickoff, that DOE or the administration was trying to push a certain way, particularly with respect to Isabelle? I know that Jay Keyworth, the President’s science advisor, spoke at that kickoff. Do you have any memories of that?

Thomas:

[laughs] Oh, sure. The officials in the Division of High Energy Physics—actually High Energy and Nuclear Physics were one grouping at the DOE at that time—there, the pressure from those people was to go forward with Isabelle. But they didn’t push it. I mean, they pushed it a little bit at the HEPAP subpanel meeting, but they didn’t push it too hard, because we pushed back pretty hard. Or some of us pushed back pretty hard. That did not earn us any friends with those guys. That came to hurt me a great deal later on. Anyway, never mind, that’s another topic. I think, though, that what was motivating the officials from the DOE to want to continue with Isabelle is that was their project: they recommended it, and they're getting a black eye because the thing just didn’t work. They couldn't even finish building it because their magnets never worked.

Thomas:

Are you thinking of people like Bill Wallenmeyer and Jim—do you pronounce his last name Leiss?

Tigner:

Leiss. Yes, I’m thinking very much of them.

Thomas:

But then Keyworth, he definitely wanted to stop Isabelle. Did he communicate that?

Tigner:

Oh, he sure made his opinions clear. But he didn’t have a super-high reputation. He was considered to be sort of a wild man. I guess he had been at—was it Los Alamos?

Thomas:

That’s correct, yes.

Tigner:

He was considered sort of a wild man even there, which, you've got to be pretty wild to be considered wild at Los Alamos. [laughs] Anyway, he did not pussyfoot around. He just said, “You guys need to go for the big one.” I may be dreaming this, but I think he even said, “If you go for the big one, you may get the money.”

Thomas:

We have an oral history with him, and that is what he said he said. Then Stan Wojcicki wrote a piece, I think in 2008, on the deliberations of the panel, and his notes have a little bit more—which he quotes there—his notes have… it sounds more diplomatic. It sounds like the notes are actually… Keyworth’s recollections are the more accurate version of that. Because he said, “Don’t give me any crap about spinoff benefits or anything like that. Just give me an inspiring vision and I’ll go sell it for you. If you give me the recommendation to kill Isabelle, I’ll go find you the money for the SSC.” Is that your recollection of his message?

Tigner:

Quite so. By the way, did you know that Stan Wojcicki passed away recently?

Thomas:

Yes, I did. In fact, one of the reasons why I thought to contact you was because I saw online the remarks that you gave at the memorial symposium for him, which I thought were quite interesting. Yeah, I was sorry to hear that, but we spoke with him around the same time that we spoke with you, so we do have a very nice oral history with him that is now online.

Tigner:

Good.

Thomas:

Speaking of what you said at the symposium, it sounds like things got very tense very quickly, then, with the subpanel.

Tigner:

Yeah, because there were some people who were going to fight for Isabelle to the death. And they did.

Thomas:

Do you feel at liberty to say who the people were who were the biggest defenders of Isabelle? I know that the subpanel’s deliberations were behind closed doors, but it has been 40 years now, so I thought maybe you could put it for the record.

Tigner:

One of the things that sort of shocked me was that one of the people on the subpanel was a relative of the head of Isabelle. I thought that was a bad scene, and that person was one of the loudest voices for sticking with Isabelle until the bitter end.

Thomas:

Were they making arguments based on the principle that once you commit to a project you should continue with it? Were they making scientific arguments in favor of it?

Tigner:

They could not make a scientific argument because we had people on the subpanel who had really looked at this quite carefully and had originally thought that they were going to start doing their work at Isabelle, and then they said, “I’m not going to go with that now. It’s behind the times.” So, there was a scientific case to be made that Isabelle was not an appropriate thing to continue with. But as you say, there was, “Once you commit yourself to it”—that was the John Adams and Carlo Rubbia argument—“you'll lose your credibility if you don’t—” But I don’t think that that’s the American way [laughs], right? The American way is if something you're doing is a mistake, stop it! [laughs]

Thomas:

An institutionally different perspective, perhaps, as well as maybe self-interested on their part. Who can say?

Tigner:

Yeah.

Thomas:

I know that there was a division between nuclear physics and high-energy physics, but was there any discussion of the fact that Brookhaven could have had what ultimately became RHIC as a fallback for Isabelle?

Tigner:

No, there was no such discussion. Part of the reason was that they hadn’t made any magnets work yet, and so better not talk about another machine that would use the same technology if they can’t make that work. Of course, they solved the problem. There was a personnel problem at Brookhaven. It turned out that the director—or the directors, plural—were… I don’t even know what the right word to use is. Let me start over again. There was a guy there at Brookhaven who was really one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met in my life, and he knew exactly what to do to fix that magnet. But they would not turn him loose on the project! Because I guess they felt he had irritated too many people. But after Isabelle was KO’d, nobody cared whether he would go ahead and work on the magnet. He did, and he got it working very quickly!

Thomas:

That was Bob Palmer?

Tigner:

Yeah, Bob Palmer.

Thomas:

The subpanel, they had their initial kickoff, then they had a series of site visits. Do you have any memories of how the site visits went, especially the one to Brookhaven?

Tigner:

Now that you mention it, it’s completely gone from my mind. No, I do not remember how the site visits were.

Thomas:

That’s fair enough. In the record, there’s some discussion that the vote… it ended up being ten to seven, but I think there was some vacillation. It has been said—I don’t know the truth of this—that somebody changed their vote just so it wasn’t quite so close in the end. Does that reflect what you remember?

Tigner:

No. I know when we said, “Ten to seven is not good enough. It’s not going to convince anybody that we made a good decision.” So, we knew we had to get through that. I forget what the vote was when we finally said, “We're going to recommend SSC.” It was after a lot of pain and tears. Literally tears. I mean, it was a really painful experience.

Thomas:

You mentioned at your talk, I think, last fall that actually the panel was going to break up at one point. Do you remember if that was early on? Or was that later, like at Woods Hole?

Tigner:

I don’t remember.

Thomas:

Did you attend the meeting of the full HEPAP panel where they adopted the recommendation?

Tigner:

No, I did not. Those meetings are not usually public. That’s why they invented the subpanel, because the rules at that time were such that the subpanel can meet in-camera whereas the full panel has to meet in public.

Thomas:

I read the Physics Today coverage of the full HEPAP meeting where they ultimately adopted the recommendation unanimously, because that’s what you do, and everyone said their piece. Nick Samios said his piece. Bob Palmer did. Boyce McDaniel did. He of course held the opposite view.

Tigner:

Yes.

Thomas:

When you were leading the Central Design Group, the subpanel had recommended that there be a budget of $50 million per year for R&D, and I think that DOE ultimately provided about $20 million. Do you have memories of not having enough?

Tigner:

Yeah, no, the… of course all the real honest-to-goodness R&D was done by the labs. There was Brookhaven and Fermilab worked on the magnets. That cost a lot of money! Particularly at one of those [laughs] big labs where you have this huge infrastructure that you have to feed. It requires a lot of people working. There was a huge helium refrigerator plant and all that kind of stuff. They complained bitterly that they couldn't do the kinds of things that I was urging them to do because they couldn't afford to do it. Or, they could do it, but it would take a lot longer, because they’d have to do it with much fewer people. However, I think that the progress on the magnet at Fermilab was very good. That sort of put pressure on the Brookhaven guys to shape up or ship out. The Fermilab operation was… I never actually counted up the personnel whose salaries were being paid for, but I am pretty sure at Fermilab it was quite a bit less than at Brookhaven.

At any rate, in the end Brookhaven did make some good contributions to the magnet business. They also did a very good job of building out the apparatus for doing magnet measurements. Because we knew that—maybe that’s too strong—I felt that [laughs] we should measure in detail every single magnet, because we were talking about making the machine with a very small aperture, for money reasons. The cost goes with the aperture probably at least squared, maybe cubed.

Thomas:

Maury, is that because of the amount of material that is used in the magnet or are there other factors driving that?

Tigner:

The amount of material. It’s also the heavier the magnet gets, the more difficult it is to handle it. The apparatus for building the magnets then has to be bigger and more expensive and so forth. But I knew that in order to get by with a smaller aperture—which I thought was the right thing to do for money reasons—we were going to have to know the magnetic field in great detail, and therefore that we needed to have measuring apparatus that could do that for us. Then we could use our simulation programs or our tracking programs with the real, honest-to-goodness magnetic field, and not some idealized thing... We needed to have all those higher harmonics, in all their ugly looks, to do the tracking. But as soon as I got kicked out [laughs], they went right back to enlarging the aperture again and saying, “We're not going to do any of this business of tracking with”—measure the magnetic fields or anything like that.

Thomas:

I know that that was a really critical point in the project where they had that redesign. It’s interesting to get your perspective on that. We have an interview with Roy Schwitters where he talks about being very convinced—by simulations, I think, that Dave Ritson had run—that it was necessary to go up to five centimeters on that. Did you ever have any insight into that?

Tigner:

No, I never talked to… they never talked to me at all after I left. I know Dave Ritson spent some considerable time at Cornell, and he and I worked on other things together. I liked him a lot. He was a real super-smart guy. But I never discussed this business of him analyzing magnets, so I wouldn't be able to comment on it.

Thomas:

Did you anticipate that, had you gone with the original size of aperture, that it would have required a lengthier commissioning process? I know that that was another concern that they had—that they didn’t want that process of getting the magnets to work, that they wanted them to work pretty much straightaway. What was your anticipation of that?

Tigner:

It’s not the magnets working; it’s the accelerator working and being able to get a beam around it in a decent length of time. Because it was a big ring… I know at Fermilab they had a hell of a time getting the beam around when they first started out. It took a long time to get that machine running.

Thomas:

This was when Fermilab first started up, not the Tevatron?

Tigner:

This was when Fermilab—the so-called Main Ring. I don’t know about the Tevatron. I wasn’t in on any of the details of that. I was off worrying about other things by then. I do know that the history of getting the first version of Fermilab to work took a long time. Bob Wilson used to go there every night and cheer people up, and say, “Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Be of good cheer!” Eventually they did get it to work. Once you get a beam around once, then you're in, because even if it’s just a dribble, you can then have something to tune with. If you don’t have any beam at all, you don’t know what to do.

Thomas:

I know that the CDG’s work was neutral with regard to where the SSC would be sited, but did you have any personal thoughts about where it ought to have been?

Tigner:

No, we were very careful about not even thinking of our favorite site, because the concern… the DOE had a real—and I think they had the right idea—they needed to keep all the states happy about this thing. If any of the states got to think that there was some hanky-panky, then they could kill the project very easily in Congress. They were able to educate us into understanding this very well, so we did not discuss anything. We had two guys who were working on site criteria, and it had to be as neutral as possible without compromising a thing. We were not even supposed to look at what they were doing—the DOE was supervising their work directly—so that we could honestly say that these were the things that the neutral Department of Energy wanted to be the characteristics of the site.

Thomas:

Were they also working at Berkeley, the group who—?

Tigner:

The site criteria guys? Yes.

Thomas:

Yes, okay, so it was basically people who are working in the next room, or very close nearby anyway, who you just couldn't look in on their work?

Tigner:

Well, we sort of did. I think that we all understood very well that we should not express any [inaudible] favorite sites, otherwise it could kill the whole project right there. We had a journal club every week in which we had a physics talk or something about the machine design or whatever, and I’m sure that we had one of our journal clubs on the site criteria. Maybe I’m wrong, but we talked about everything under the Sun at those journal clubs. We wanted to stay scientifically alive, so we thought it was important to have people come and tell us about what was going on at the frontiers of various parts of science.

Thomas:

You actually did have some interactions with Congress yourself in this period, is that correct?

Tigner:

Yeah. There was this committee, Science and Something-or-Other, and they wanted to have a report from us every year, maybe more than once a year. They would question us closely. Although they had no idea what we were talking about. Zippo! So it was rather difficult. But fortunately, one of the congressmen—his name was Brown…

Thomas:

George Brown?

Tigner:

…George Brown—was a little bit savvy about this stuff. And he, bless his heart, would explain what I had just said to the rest of the committee whether he knew what he was talking about or not. And they accepted it. I remember that one of the most dramatic members of that committee was a guy named Sensenbrenner. He was Wisconsin, maybe?

Thomas:

Yeah, I think that’s right.

Tigner:

Anyway, at the beginning of the meeting, he would come in, stomp in so everybody would know that he was coming in, and then he would light up a big cigar. Those were in the days before it was verboten to smoke in public places, and he would really smoke up the whole room [laughs] with his cigar! [laughs] The only thing that I remember he ever said was, when somebody asked, “Would it be a good idea to get other countries to go in with us, to cut out the costs?” he looked at whoever the guy was that said that, and he said, “We don’t want to tell them our secret plans!”

Thomas:

[laughs]

Tigner:

I mean, people have strange ideas about this sort of thing. I know about at Cornell, too, there were people who thought that we were—certainly we were doing secret government work in our lab. When in fact that was absolutely verboten. [inaudible]

Thomas:

Concerning international collaboration, later on of course they tried very hard to get contributions from Japan in particular. Was there any discussion of that at the time, when you were working on it?

Tigner:

Oh, you bet. I made several trips to Japan. I was encouraged to do so, because the big manufacturing companies were all making superconducting cable. They had jumped into that business when they saw where the wind was blowing. They wanted the Japanese government to get involved so that they would get orders for large quantities of superconducting cable and other things that they were making. So, I was royally wined and dined by these company guys. Now, the people at… Monbusho, I guess was the name of the agency at that time that was over science budgets in Japan, among other interesting things (I think sports was also one of their charges). Those were also pleasant. You know how the Japanese are. They’re always very pleasant. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. But they listened to my story, and I said, “We really hope that the Japanese government would see fit to join in this wonderful achievement.” They never… they were very careful not to show that they were leaning one way or another. Well, they still haven't been able to make up their mind about the [International] Linear Collider! They made a lot of noise about it, and they even got as far as having a competition among the various provinces to find the one with the most suitable geology, etc. They did get that far, but otherwise in terms of making decisions, they’re very difficult.

My mother was brought up in Japan. When she retired, she went back to Japan to teach at the school—well, I’ll go off on a big tangent—but she went there and I think she stayed for maybe two years, or maybe it was less than two years. Anyway, when she came back home, she said, “Those people don’t know how to make a decision and I just couldn’t stand it.” So, she quit and came back home.

Thomas:

The long story short is that they were noncommittal about it. Did you ever have any sense that there was disappointment that the United States had embarked on the SSC? I’ve heard in a couple of places that there were at least one or two people who had objected to the U.S. going that direction on its own.

Tigner:

The one thing I did pick up was that the Japanese wanted to have a big international project on their home territory. They wanted very much to have what is now the ITER project, because they thought that they were doing pretty well in the fusion business themselves and that they would be the right people. But they didn’t get it. I think that was a big blow. At least that’s what we heard through the grapevine. I don’t see how they could possibly have thought it feasible to have the SSC there. That thing took up a lot of space, and with the geology problems that they have and the earthquakes that could be lethal for something like the SSC... There was so much of it, over such a big territory, there was bound to have an earthquake there [laughs] sometime. So, that was not promoted by them at all.

They did have this big e+e- colliding beam machine. They still do. It’s still running as far as I know. [The KEKB, since upgraded to SuperKEKB.] That was good. They loved that. They put a huge amount of money into it. That satisfied part of their desire for having a big international project. In a way, it wasn’t really an international project, because they built it but then many other people came to use it. A number of our faculty had taken sabbatical leaves in Japan and worked at that machine and participated in the detector technology. They all came back and said, “They don’t know how to do an international project. They never let the outsiders really participate in the decision.” Sent them home with a little sour taste in their mouth. What else can I tell you, sir?

Thomas:

I suppose that CERN was not considered—because they had their own things going on at this time—as a partner. Or did you have many discussions with them during your work?

Tigner:

They would never have considered anything like that. They had to do it on their territory because of all the, whatever it is, 60 countries or something that are financing this and are getting a piece of the action for the citizens of their country. That probably wouldn't have worked in a truly worldwide international project.

Thomas:

What were your experiences of oversight from URA [Universities Research Association] and DOE?

Tigner:

URA did not interfere with us at all. As a matter of fact, they were very helpful. The DOE was a pain in the butt. They wanted to really micromanage everything. We just had to put up with it. When we had a piece of our report ready, our design report ready, they sent a hundred people to review this report! The whole Berkeley auditorium [laughs] was filled with these characters! [laughs] I don’t know what they could have done other than say, “It looks good to us.” That’s how they handled things. I guess they felt that if they didn’t show proper oversight, that they [inaudible] by their bosses. I can understand that. The whole government bureau business, particularly the DOE, was the top dog bugging the guy below him, who is then bugging the guys below him, who are bugging the guys below that. It’s a pretty… it’s not a nice place to work.

Thomas:

Right through the time when you wrapped up the project, what was your experience of the reception of what you were doing? Was there anybody at this point who was opposed to the SSC in principle, either in Congress or within the community, who were speaking up, or was it pretty supportive at that point?

Tigner:

I would say it was pretty neutral. Congress was certainly not going to give us any encouragement, since they were being asked to foot the bill on this thing. When I left the project, I really left the project. I completely lost touch with what was going on. I did hear a few things because I went to work for Bechtel, which is a big construction company that is headquartered in San Francisco, and some of their people had some connection with at least parts of the SSC design. So, I heard a few things, but they weren’t really… Actually, what I just said was not strictly correct, because my boss at Bechtel, Harold Forsen, was actually on some board that had been set up for advising the SSC people. I know when he hired me, he said, “I won’t talk to you about the SSC at all, because we want to keep our hands perfectly clean, because we’d like to get some of the work.”

But he couldn't resist telling me that at one of the board meetings, that Helen Edwards had told him that the first design was no good, so they had completely redesigned it. Which often happens with big projects like that. In fact, it was ironic that, at the time when we started up, the RAND Corporation had done a study on high-technology projects and why they fail—the ones that do fail, why they fail. They said, well, one of the first things that starts the ball rolling towards failure was, usually what happens, it’s like the restaurant owner has a chef help him design a new restaurant and then he fires the chef. They said that the first thing that happens in these high-tech projects is often you fire the person who was in charge. Then, the next thing that leads to failure is redesigning the project. Then, I guess the next thing was trying to make it go a lot cheaper. I thought that was rather ironic that they had come out with this [laughs] report which nobody but me read. Hoo boy!

Thomas:

When they got to the point where they were putting together the team that would build the SSC lab, what was your experience of the director search? Did you feel like it was an interview process, or did you feel like you were held more at arm’s length during that?

Tigner:

Oh, I was never even considered. They didn’t even offer it to… I know Stan Wojcicki wrote up something about this, but he was quite upset that I wasn’t considered, since we were so close and we did such a good job. But I guess Panofsky did not like me, so that was that, because he was the guy in charge of finding a director. Roy Schwitters had been one of his—what’s the right word?—[inaudible] boys when he was at SLAC. Which turned out to be a big mistake, but you only find out those things after it’s too late. I know Helen and Don Edwards, who were considered to be the real experts who the director could look to for good advice, they were very upset with Roy. They did not like him at all. And as you probably know, Helen and Don quit [inaudible].

Thomas:

Were you strongly interested in taking on the project? Was managing something on that scale something that you really aspired to do? You mentioned that Stan Wojcicki was disappointed. I expect you were as well?

Tigner:

I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to go at it. However, in retrospect, I’m not sure that I would have been given the true responsibility. First of all, this admiral—I forget what his name…

Thomas:

Watkins?

Tigner:

Admiral Watkins, thank you—was in charge of the DOE, he was the Secretary of Energy at the time. He felt that the only people who knew how to manage a project were Navy captains, so he put a bunch of them in charge. And that didn’t help at all. I probably would have ended up suicidal. [laughs] I couldn't have put up with that kind of stuff.

Thomas:

Yeah, that would have clashed too much with your preferred way of doing things.

Tigner:

[inaudible] I know from my earlier life—one of my bosses tried to second-guess my decisions on a project—I said, “If you want somebody else to do this job, just go get somebody else. I’m not going to put up with this. Either you give me the responsibility and the authority to do it, or I’m quitting.” By that time, that boss knew what I could do, and so he backed away from that very quickly. But the DOE, that whole thing had turned into a complete nightmare when they got the go-ahead to start the project. Everybody and his brother who… higher-ups in the Department of Energy were weighing in on it, and just… obviously Admiral Watkins did not know what he was doing. He said he wanted to be involved, and he was going to be involved, but then he didn’t get involved in a useful way, saying, well, what are we doing, and how are we going to get it done, and so forth; and not saying… trying to put himself in a position where he either trusted the person that the URA appointed or that he didn’t. He should have done that right away. [inaudible] to do that. That’s when he put in all these Navy captains who didn’t get along with Roy very well either, according to Don Edwards, with whom I discussed this many years later.

Thomas:

I beg your pardon. With who?

Tigner:

Don Edwards.

Thomas:

Oh, Don Edwards, right.

Tigner:

He was on my committee at Cornell, by the way. Unfortunately, Cornell did not offer him a faculty position, but Wilson knew his value and so he hired him right away. He left Cornell to go run Fermilab. I think by that time he and Helen had gotten married, so they were a team. They were a good team. He was a good calculator, good theory person, and she was a terrific experimental person. After they got Fermilab working, also they went to DESY and helped some of the big DESY projects, in which they had a very good relationship with the DESY management.

Thomas:

I just had one more question about when they were putting together the leadership team for the SSC lab. There was some discussion of fitting you in, in a very senior position. Do you think there was ever going to be any role that you would have taken there? I have heard from a number of people about this but never your perspective on it.

Tigner:

I had several discussions with Roy, and it was clear to me that that wasn’t going to work. So, I just kissed them goodbye.

Thomas:

It was what?

Tigner:

I just left.

Thomas:

Oh, you just left, right. The CDG people, most of them didn’t join the project either. Was that out of loyalty to you, or was it because they weren’t interested in going to that environment? Why do you think that was, if you can say?

Tigner:

They had been happy in the jobs they had at the labs that they came from, to start with, so they didn’t… and they didn’t want to go to Dallas. That was something I heard from quite a few of them. They didn’t want to be involved in southern culture and high temperatures once they had been living in California for X years. The smart guys that were head of my divisions in the CDG, they all decided not to go. It could be, again, because they wouldn't have been division heads anymore, because I’m sure there had been other criteria for who were going to get appointed as division heads, or even what the divisions were going to be. I never was close enough to the project that I found out any detail at that level.

Thomas:

I think that about exhausts the questions that I had prepared. It has been a few years since we spoke to you last. Is there any updates that you’d like to provide, skipping forward in time?

Tigner:

What do you mean, looking forward in time?

Thomas:

I mean up to the present. We spoke to you last in 2021, and it is now 2024. I just wanted to see, just for the record, if you had anything else that you wanted to mention about what you've been up to.

Tigner:

I had health problems in 1990—in that decade. I had some serious surgery. I thought there was a good chance that I was not going to survive very long after the surgery because it didn’t fix what was supposed to be fixed. So, my wife and I… Well, my boss at that time, Karl Berkelman, who was then the husband of my current wife—she’s a widow, and my wife passed away also, in 2012—my boss then, Karl Berkelman, said, “You told me you're going to retire, but before you retire I want you to go and spend some time in China. There’s a high-energy physics lab in Beijing. They have a colliding-beam machine there, a little one.” He said, “The Chinese have sent many people to be with us, and I have never responded by… and they've always asked me, ‘When are you going to send somebody to us?’” He said, “I’m going to send you.”

My wife and I packed up and we went for—it was supposed to be for a month, or two months. It doesn't matter. Anyway, a brief period. I started working at the high-energy physics lab there. My wife was tutoring… the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Sciences had a division on that same campus. My wife knew the head of the English Department of the—Peking University, I guess it was—who had been subcontracted to teach English to the graduate students in the Chinese Academy of Sciences grad school. To get a PhD in science at that time, you had to be pretty good in English. So, she was off teaching English, which she was very happy to do. She really loved the students. I liked working with the guys in the lab. When the end of the time came, I… T.D. Lee had close connections with that lab and was very much trusted by the laboratory management. I asked the management if it was possible for me to stay on for a longer period of time. They didn’t give me an answer right away, but they asked T.D. Lee, “What do you know about this guy?” He said, “You could do a lot worse than to have this guy around for a long time.” So, they agreed that I could stay there. My wife and I ended up staying there in Beijing for five years.

Then, I got a call from one of my former colleagues at Cornell, telling me that the man who had been director—this guy, Karl Berkelman—who, by the way, had been a grad student with me earlier on at Cornell; we had parallel careers all the way through, from grad school to the end—that Karl said, “I’m not going to have another term as director [of Cornell’s Laboratory of Nuclear Studies].” They called me up in Beijing and said, “Would you come back to be the director of the lab?” By that time the results of the surgery that I had had proven to be good. Apparently, it takes a long time for—anything that touches the spinal cord, it takes a long time for it to heal properly. So, I was okay. I said, “Yeah, I’ll do that.” My wife agreed. She said that was the appropriate thing. So, we came back. But before we came back, a friend of mine from SLAC, an accelerator theory person, had been in touch with me and said that he had had a request from World Scientific… (Are you familiar with that publishing company?)

Thomas:

I am.

Tigner:

…to write up a book about accelerators. He said, “I’d like to talk to you about that”—that is, my Chinese friend who was and is a SLAC employee—“I’d like to talk with you about it.” So, we talked on the phone—very expensive phone calls—quite a bit. The idea for the book really shifted around to be focused on: let’s try to put together a handbook for professional accelerator people that would allow them to get up to speed on all the important subelements of the theory and of the design, the engineering, so that they would have a reference book that would have the principal references of the real science. It’s not supposed to be a history book or a textbook. It’s supposed to be a reference where you could get tables and graphs and equations of things you would need if you were going to build accelerators.

He relayed that to World Scientific, the publisher of whom had been his roommate back at Stony Brook, studying for a PhD with Yang, so there was a good relationship between those guys. World bought into that. They said, “Yeah, okay! Can you do a book like that for us?” He put that proposition to me. We decided that the right way to pursue this was that he and I would be editors, where we would go and recruit the leading experts on each one of the subtopics that we wrote down in our draft table of contents. The leading—no matter what country they're in, we would try to recruit them to write a chapter on this, and we would give them a hard specification on how many column inches they were allowed to have.

I started—and Alex Chao started—trying to recruit people. We ended up with something like, it was more than 200 authors. You can imagine the editorial work was enormous. Even though we gave people specifications for how many words or column inches they could have, few people paid any attention to that. We would get people who would submit an article to us that was ten times longer. Then we would have to go back on bended knee and say, “Look, this book is just not going to be big enough to encompass articles of this length. Would you please cut it down to the size we asked for?” In the end of course we allowed them some forgiveness so that the articles were all longer than what we had specified in the first place, but it was pretty well under control. In the end, the book was only 700 pages [inaudible]. One of our specifications was this book should be portable, fully portable. You could throw it in your briefcase and take off and go to a review of some accelerator design, and you could look up stuff in the book. So, that was fine.

Ten years later, many things had happened. The first one was published in 1999. Ten years later, there had been a lot of progress in the field, so World wanted us to do a second edition. Realizing that there was a lot of brand new stuff out there that we were going to have to include, we got a couple more guys to help us with the editing, so the second edition had four editors instead of two. It took us three years to put that together, because of all the difficulties and getting the people to cooperate. All these people are very busy people, too. They couldn't just sit right down and start writing. They had to figure out… and many of them took their vacation time to do this, which was really something.

Anyway, the next one was published in, I guess it was maybe 2012. Then, ten years later, the same thing had happened—oh, and the second one, 800 pages. We worked really hard to cut it back, to keep it at 800 pages. Then it came time for the third edition. That’s what I’ve been working on all this time. You wanted to know what I’ve been doing afterwards; a good deal of it, for the last—until [inaudible] maybe it was 2020—we were able to hold it to just over 900 pages, by great stress. That’s the last edition that there’s going to be with this crew, anyways! [inaudible] Okay, sir!

Thomas:

Very good! I think that’s about everything. You've been very generous with your time. We've taken almost two hours of it. Once again, thank you very much. It’s very, very helpful to us.

Tigner:

If you have any questions, you can just send me an email and I might be able to answer something quickly.

Thomas:

Okay, thank you very much.

 

Appendix

Following the spoken interview, Maury Tigner provided brief written responses to a series of questions that were provided via email prior to the interview. Questions that Tigner did not answer are omitted from this appendix.

Q. Recollections of Jay Keyworth’s remarks to the panel; did he express his own strong preference for terminating Isabelle… Did you get the sense that Al Trivelpiece was looking for a particular outcome?

A. It seemed clear that he was not a fan of ISA and that he was looking for a “bold” proposal and budget was not to be a consideration. I do not remember that Trivelpiece indicated a preference.

Q. Was there any discussion of the idea that Brookhaven might move to a heavy ion collider as a Plan B?

A. I do not remember any such discussion.

Q. Was there any serious discussion of the site-filler collider proposal by Fermilab?

A. No serious discussion.

Q. Can you remember who took which position, and which members were the ones moving their vote? Is it true that there was a vote switch to avoid an excessively narrow margin?

A. I remember a concern that too narrow a majority would render our report useless.

Q. Recollections of the Woods Hole and Nevis deliberations. Were the differences over the merits of Isabelle, or was it more the principle of the thing, i.e., that it was wrong to abandon the project at that point?

A. The merits of ISA were an important consideration and it was widely felt that the energy reach of ISA as then proposed was insufficient, particularly as no prototype of a magnet had yet been produced.

Q. Did you attend the July HEPAP meeting?

A. I do not remember that I did attend.

Q. To what extent were R&D efforts [during the design phase] balanced between demonstrating technological readiness and controlling costs?

A. Technological readiness was the clear driver particularly as the DOE budget was felt to be inadequate.

Q. Were you worried about prematurely setting expectations about cost and schedule? Did you feel pressure to keep costs to a certain level deemed realistic or politically palatable?

A. No

Q. Were there ever any serious discussions at this stage about securing international contributions, or that they would ultimately be needed to see the project through?

A. No.

Q. There seem to have been philosophical differences over expectations of technological maturity, e.g., the practicality of magnet training on a project on the scale of the SSC. Was that your perception?

A. We certainly did discuss whether training quenches would be allowed.

Q. Did you have a fundamentally different outlook from, say, Helen Edwards?

A. No, not that I remember.

Q. The SSC Lab encountered early difficulties with the magnet design that came out of CDG.

A. I was not satisfied with the “CDG” design at all and we succeeded in getting FNAL and BNL to work together.

Q. Although the Conceptual Design was site-neutral, did you have a sense that it would be preferable to build the SSC at an established site such as Fermilab?

A. Those of us that had been in on the founding of FNAL understood the handicap of being without local infrastructure but we were keenly aware that keeping the site selection competitive was very important.

Q. What was your experience during the director selection process? Did it feel like an interview process…

A. No.

Q. …or was it more arm’s-length?

A. I was not even being seriously considered which, in retrospect, was most fortunate.

Q. As the leader of the CDG, can you comment on the group’s perception of being left out of the director selection and contract proposal process?

A. They were displeased to say the least.

Q. Did you ever discuss the process later with Boyce McDaniel, who chaired the search committee?

A. He phoned me and “sort of” apologized. It seemed clear to me that Panofsky was the real selector.

Q. What are your recollections of the negotiations to fit you into a role other than director?

A. Negotiation is too strong a word. Perfunctory would be better.

Q. Do you think more of the people on the CDG team would have remained with the project had you remained?

A. Had I been named Director they probably would have.

Q. Given what we know about the control DOE exercised over the project and imposition of an industrial management style, do you think you could have avoided that or navigated within those constraints?

A. No

Q. What are your views on the 4cm vs. 5cm aperture issue? Did you ever see the simulations by David Ritson that supposedly convinced Roy Schwitters of the need to change?

A. No. We had plenty of simulations that showed success with the correction coil design that we had adopted.

Q. In your talk at the Wojcicki memorial symposium, you suggested that you would have preferred to descope the project than allow cost increases. In your view could that have been done without infringing too much on the SSC’s physics goals?

A. One cannot answer the question definitively since we could not have known what might have been discovered. However control of the one parameter that would keep good PR is that cost and the good relation with congress would have been invaluable.