Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick Research Files
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0196
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
0.4 Linear feet
(1 archives box)
Date (inclusive): 1948 - 1969
Laboratory notebooks (1948-1953) of Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick. Szilard, a nuclear physicist, biologist and advocate of
global arms control, held an appointment (1948-1955) as a professor of biophysics at the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics,
University of Chicago, and, with Aaron Novick, he studied bacteria using a device called the chemostat. The materials also
include correspondence (1948-1964) between Szilard and Novick and photographs.
Novick, Aaron, 1919-2000
Materials from this collection have been digitized and can be viewed through links in the container list, or by clicking the
Leo Szilard Papers, MSS 32. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick Research Files document experiments on bacterial populations performed jointly by Szilard
and Novick at the Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics, University of Chicago. The materials are arranged in three series:
1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS and 3) PHOTOGRAPHS.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters (1948-1964) between Szilard and Novick about the results of experiments using the
chemostat, the reorganization of the Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics, patents, research projects, and Szilard's interest
in nuclear arms control. In addition, there are occasional letters about Szilard and enclosures of Szilard's writings and
reports filed with the correspondence. The materials are arranged chronologically.
The CORRESPONDENCE series also documents a series of meetings (1949-1950) Szilard arranged in the Chicago area to present
and discuss research on the genetics and physiology of bacteria and viruses. Meeting participants included S. E. Luria, Joshua
Lederberg, S. Spiegelman, A. D. Hershey, and James Watson. Novick coordinated travel arrangements and administrative housekeeping
for the meetings. The materials are arranged chronologically.
SERIES 2: LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS
The LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS series contains seven bound notebooks (1948-1953) for experiments on bacterial populations using
SERIES 3: PHOTOGRAPHS
The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains images of the chemostat and a program from the Lactose Operon Meeting with Szilard's photograph
on the cover.
Leo Szilard held a halftime appointment (1948-1952) as professor of biophysics at the Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics,
University of Chicago. Aaron Novick participated in the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago (1943-1946) and later
worked as an assistant professor of biophysics (1948-1955) at the Institute. Together they studied bacterial and viral populations
under controlled physical and chemical conditions using a device called the chemostat. Novick was interested in the study
of mutations and adaptive enzyme formation.
Between November 1949 and June 1950, Szilard arranged a series of meetings of researchers in the Midwest to present research
on the genetics and physiology of bacteria and viruses. The participants included S. E. Luria, Joshua Lederberg, A. D. Hershey,
S. Spiegelman, and James Watson. The meetings focused on pioneering research which formed the basis of early molecular biology.
In 1954, the Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics was dissolved and a joint department of Biophysics and Biochemistry
was established. During the reorganization process, Szilard took a leave of absence and accepted a visiting professorship
at Brandeis University. Novick left for the Biological Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, and later he accepted a position
at the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Novick and Szilard continued to correspond until
Szilard's death in 1964.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick Research Files, MSS 196. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Novick, Aaron, 1919-2000 -- Archives
Novick, Aaron, 1919-2000 -- Correspondence
Szilard, Leo -- Archives
Szilard, Leo -- Correspondence
University of Chicago. Institute of Radiobiology and Biophysics.
Bacteria -- Morphology
Bacteria -- Physiology
Bacteria -- Reproduction
Bacteria -- Research -- History
Biochemistry -- Instruments
Microbiology -- Instruments
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Viruses -- Morphology
Viruses -- Physiology
Viruses -- Reproduction
Viruses -- Research -- History