Cover image for Making physics : a biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1946-1972
Making physics : a biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1946-1972
Crease, Robert P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 434 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
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QC789.2.U62 B763 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Brookhaven National Laboratory was the first major national laboratory built for basic civilian research. From Nobel Prize-winning work in atomic physics to addressing community concerns over radiation leaks, the history of Brookhaven parallels the changing fortunes of "big science" in the United States. Robert P. Crease brings to life the people, the instruments, the science, and the politics of Brookhaven's first quarter-century.

"[A] very readable, well illustrated and sometimes even racy, recounting of Brookhaven's history, politics and personalities."--Denys Wilkinson, Physics World

Author Notes

Robert P. Crease is associate professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and historian at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is the author of The Play of Nature: Experimentation as Performance and coauthor of The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics .

Reviews 1

Choice Review

After the end of WW II, the American scientific community faced problems of funding and organizing for Big Science. Big Science had already produced the bomb, but beyond that were much broader questions concerning the atomic nucleus. It had been used to blow up a city, but it was still largely unknown territory, and the nature of the particles composing it was wrapped in mystery. Nuclear research is expensive, and for this reason universities had to do something new: pool their intellectual resources and depend on government funding. Out of this effort grew the Brookhaven National Laboratory, on Long Island, NY. Crease relates the laboratory's history from 1946 to 1972, the time during which the concept of a cooperative laboratory evolved and scientists slowly discovered that the informal and spontaneous Little Science of university laboratories was inconsistent with government oversight, so that the old image of research had to be abandoned and a new form developed. But during this period great machines were conceived and built, and great discoveries were made. This excellent book parallels Jack M. Holl's Argonne National Laboratory, 1944-96 (CH, Jun'98), an account of a midwestern laboratory with a somewhat different mission. All levels. D. Park Williams College

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 A Team of Young General Groveses
2 A Reluctant Director, a Remote Site
3 National Laboratory
4 The "Brookhaven Concept"
5 The Pile Project
6 Community Relations
7 The Accelerator Project
8 Reactor Research in the 1950s
9 "For the Enlightenment and Benefit of Mankind": Research at the Cosmotron
10 Goldhaber's Directorship
11 Research at the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron
12 The High Flux Beam Reactor
13 Crossroad
Appendix 1 Some Key Personnel of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Associated Universities, Inc
Appendix 2 Chairmen of Key Brookhaven National Laboratory Departments Notes A Note on Sources