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Fundamental work in developing the cyclotron and other accelerators. Early life, education prior to graduate studies at University of California at Berkeley from 1931; work with Ernest O. Lawrence at Berkeley and with Hans A. Bethe at Cornell University. Work on the 42-inch cyclotron at MIT in 1938, subsequent war work, later role in development of new high energy installations at Brookhaven National Laboratory, CERN and University of Cambridge. Also prominently mentioned are: John Paul Blewett, James Chadwick, Eric Clark, John Cockcroft, Donald Cooksey, Ernest Courant, Robley Dunglison Evans, Malcolm Henderson, Marshall G. Holloway, Robert Eugene Marshak, Edwin Mattison McMillan, Mark Oliphant, David Sloan, Hartland Snyder, Tileston, Merle Antony Tuve, Robert Jamison Van de Graaff; Associated Universities, Inc., Atoms For Peace Conference, Cavendish Laboratory, Comptes Rendus, Federation of American Scientists, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory, Ministry of Aircraft Uranium Development Committee (Great Britain), National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, Office of Medical Research, United States Atomic Energy Commission, University of California at Berkeley Journal Club, and University of Rochester.
Family background and childhood in Germany, 1919-1934; emigration to U.S. and undergraduate study and life at Princeton University, 1934-1938. Graduate work at California Institute of Technology, 1938-1942; work with Jesse W. M. DuMond, course load, and importance of his thesis. War work at California Institute of Technology; problems because of enemy alien status; work on firing error indicators. War work at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory: atomic bomb explosion, feelings concerning implications. Research at University of California at Berkeley, 1945-1951: construction of linear accelerator under Luis Alvarez (training, funding, working relationships, work schedules, relationship with other research groups), work on synchrotron, bevatron, Material Testing Accelerator project, neutal meson work and pion work; campus life, teaching responsibilities, textbook writing with Melba Phillips; security measures at Berkeley, 1945-1951: Berkeley's loyalty oath leads to move to Stanford University, 1951. The "Screw Driver" report (with Robert Hofstadter) for the Atomic Energy Commission. Korean War-related work (Felix Bloch, Edward L. Ginzton, Robert Kyhl); rigid politics of physics department; Washington involvement; consultant to the Air Force Science Advisory Board; Hans Bethe, Edward Teller; Bethe's Conference of Experts, 1958; Geneva negotiations, 1959; George Kistiakowski and Isidor I. Rabi; appointment to President's Science Advisory Committee, 1960; Dwight D. Eisenhower. Government support of science; Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC); Joint Committee on Atomic Energy hearings (Ginzton, Varian Associates); avoiding the "Berkeley image" at SLAC. Also prominently mentioned are: Sue Gray Norton Alsalan, Carl David Anderson, Raymond Thayer Birge, Hugh Bradner, Henry Eyring, Don Gow, Alex E. S. Green, William Webster Hansen, Joel Henry Hildebrand, Giulo Lattes, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Edwin Mattison McMillan, John Francis Neylan, Hans Arnold Panofsky, Ryokishi Sagane, Robert Gordon Sproul, Raymond L. Steinberger, Charles Hard Townes, Watters, Gian Carlo Wick, John Robert Woodyard, Dean E. Wooldridge, Fritz Zwicky; Federation of American Scientists, and Lawrence Radiation.
<p>Then, the project finally got authorized in 1961 — but again after a rather amusing set of coincidences. At that time the Stanford project was sort of known as the Republican project because Eisenhower had proposed it to a Democratic Congress. At that time there was a project that the Democrats wanted in Congress which the Republican administration did not want. This was for the Hanford Reactor to generate power into the electrical net, because it was considered to be socialized electricity by the Republicans, to have power generated by a production reactor. There was also good economic and technical reasons against such a project. It’s a very inefficient reactor, for power generation because of the low temperature at which the Hanford reactor operates. Anyway, the Democrats wanted it and the Republicans didn't.</p>
<p>On the other hand, the Stanford linear accelerator was considered to be a Republican proposal, opposed by the Democrats. So after a while the Republicans and Democrats in the Joint Committee essentially said, "If you approve Hanford, then we approve Stanford." So it ended up with both of them getting approved, and it was this entirely political infighting in the Congress which resulted in that last hurdle being passed. However in 1960, we already had very good confidence that it would go, because the three million dollars was fundamentally a signal to us that Congress really meant it but that they wanted to slap Mr. Eisenhower’s wrist for non-consultation.</p>
In this interview, Melba Phillips discusses: Bryn Mawr College; group theory; Oppenheimer-Phillips process; Maria Goeppert-Mayer; teaching physics; Brooklyn College; her experience as a woman in physics; Freda Friedman Salzman; George Salzman; University of Minnesota; Frank Oppenheimer; Leo Nedelsky; Dave Bohm; Harvard University; Radcliffe College; University of California, Berkeley; status of professional women in the 1950s; Columbia University Radiation Laboratory; radar countermeasures; Federation of American Scientists; Association of Scientific Workers; Francis Bonner; May-Johnson bill; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Ed Condon; McCarthyism and universities; House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC); Ellen Schrecker; Jim G. Crowther.