Register of the Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory papers, 1949-1970

Processed by Charlotte E. Erwin; machine-readable finding aid created by Michael C. Conkin; updated by Kevin C. Knox.
Archives
California Institute of Technology
1200 East California Blvd.
Mail Code 015A-74
Pasadena, CA 91125
Phone: (626) 395-2704
Fax: (626) 793-8756
Email: archives@caltech.edu
URL: http://archives.caltech.edu
© 2003
California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Register of the Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory papers, 1949-1970

Archives



California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Contact Information:

  • Archives
  • California Institute of Technology
  • 1200 East California Blvd.
  • Mail Code 015A-74
  • Pasadena, CA 91125
  • Phone: (626) 395-2704
  • Fax: (626) 793-8756
  • Email: archives@caltech.edu
  • URL: http://archives.caltech.edu
Processed by:
Charlotte E. Erwin
Date Completed:
November 1989; updated August 1998, June 2000
Encoded by:
Michael C. Conkin; updated by Kevin C. Knox
© 2003 California Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory papers,
Date (inclusive): 1949-1970
Creator: California Institute of Technology. Synchrotron Laboratory
Extent: 3.5 linear feet
Repository: California Institute of Technology. Archives.
Pasadena, California 91125
Abstract: These papers document Caltech's building of a one-billion volt (1 BeV) electron accelerator, the synchrotron. Funded by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the project marked the beginning of high energy physics at Caltech. The records consist of photos, technical notes, reports, conference proceedings, and proposals to the Atomic Energy Commission.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Acquisition Information

The synchrotron papers were donated to the Caltech Archives by Professor Robert L. Walker.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item, box and file number], Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory papers, Archives, California Institute of Technology.

Introduction

In the Spring of 1949, the Institute announced plans to build a one-billion volt ("1 BeV") electron accelerator. Robert Bacher, chairman of Caltech's Physics Division, stated: "The purpose of the new accelerator will be to seek additional knowledge about the nature of the forces that hold atomic nuclei together." The new accelerator, the synchrotron, would be the most powerful machine of its type ever built. The funding of the project by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission marked the beginning of high energy physics at Caltech.
The synchrotron was the successor to the cyclotron--developed in 1932 by E.O. Lawrence--in that it extended the voltage range of high energy accelerators by the application of new physical principles. These were developed independently in 1945 by Edwin M. McMillan at Berkeley (Caltech B.A. 1928, M.S. 1929, Ph.D. 1932) and V. Veksler in Russia. McMillan later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1951 and the Atoms for Peace Prize jointly with Veksler in 1963.
The Caltech machine went into preliminary use in the summer of 1950. By 1956 it had been modified to increase its energy level to above 1 BeV. In 1961, it reached 1.5 BeV, accelerating electrons to within a few feet per second of the speed of light. Important early experiments were conducted on K-meson photoproduction, and investigations of the electromagnetic couplings of a growing number of pion-nucleon resonances were carried out. Over the years, the program concentrated largely on studies of photoproduction processes in the available energy region.
Operation of the synchrotron ended in February, 1970. Well before this time, it had become evident that collaborative efforts in experimental work were more efficient because of the complexity of the work involved and the cost of the equipment. A user program, initiated in 1962, linked Caltech with Berkeley's Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, and other universities. The user program continued to expand, as accelerators entered a "super" category in both size and cost.
  • Charlotte Erwin
  • Assistant Archivist
  • November 1989
  • Rev. August 1998, June 2000

Scope and Content of Collection

Proposals, technical notes, reports, correspondence, specifications, reprints and photos; materials relating to the Atomic Energy Commission; materials on the Rochester Conferences on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators (1952, 1955, 1956, 1960); plus other conferences and organizations.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection.
California Institute of Technology
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
Rochester Conference on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators, 1952
Rochester Conference on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators, 1955
Rochester Conference on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators, 1956
Rochester Conference on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators, 1960
Particle accelerators--United States--California
Proton accelerators--Research
Synchrotrons--United States--California
Laboratory notebooks
Photographs
Reports

Related Collections

Users of the synchrotron collection should also see:
  • Papers of Robert F. Bacher
  • Robert F. Bacher Oral History (1981)
  • Papers of Lee A. DuBridge
  • Papers of Bruce H. Rule, Supplement 1984
  • Papers of Robert L. Walker
  • Robert L. Walker Oral History (1997-1998)
  • Photo Archives, Synchrotron photos

Container List

 

SECTION I: ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION: PROPOSALS, BUDGET REPORTS, CORRESPONDENCE 1949-1962

Box 1, Folder 1.1

Proposal for a 1 BeV Electron Synchrotron, November 15, 1949

Folder 1.2

Contract for 1 BeV Electron Synchrotron, February, 1950

Folder 1.3

Progress Report and Proposal for Contract Supplement, August 22, 1951

Folder 1.4

Progress Reports, January 1, 1953 to November 30, 1962

Folder 1.5

Budget Proposals, 1953 to September 30, 1963

Folder 1.6

"Proposals to the Atomic Energy Commission for the support of the Accelerator Design- Study Program of the Western Accelerator Group," April 1961. With excerpts of reviewers' comments, June 1961.

Box 2, Folder 2.1

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, "Proposal to the AEC for a National Design Study of an Ultra-High Energy Accelerator." With memo from Lee DuBridge to Robert Bacher, March 1, 1962; also miscellaneous

Folder 2.2

Brookhaven National Laboratory, "Proposal to the Atomic Energy Commission for the Establishment of a 300-1000 BeV National Accelerator Design Study," February 1962. With letter to Robert Bacher from Paul W. McDaniel, AEC, April 19, 1962

Folder 2.3

Correspondence, Robert Bacher and Paul McDaniel, 1951

Folder 2.4

Correspondence, Robert Bacher and George Kolstad, 1960

 

SECTION II: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONFERENCES

Box 2

Rochester Conferences on Ultrahigh Energy Accelerators

Folder 2.5

1952

Folder 2.6

1955

Folder 2.7

1956

Folder 2.8

1960

Folder 2.9

Western Accelerator Group (WAG), correspondence and documents, September 1960 to January 1963

Box 3, Folder 3.1

Summer Study Group on High Energy Accelerators, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, 1961

Folder 3.2

International Accelerator Project, 1961

Folder 3.3

Formation of a High Energy Physics Association (HEPA), correspondence and documents, September 1964 to 1965

 

SECTION III: TECHNICAL NOTES, REPORTS, AND REPRINTS

Box 3, Folder 3.4

Technical Specifications, 1950, 1953

Folder 3.5

Carbon 14 work, 1950

Folder 3.6

Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory (CTSL) Reports, 1960-1961

Box 4, Folder 4.1

Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory (CTSL) reports, 1961

Folder 4.2

Caltech Synchrotron Laboratory (CTSL) reports, 1962-1966

Folder 4.3

Reports to Office of Naval Research, 1968, 1970

Box 5

Reports and abstracts, 1964-1970; reprints, unbound

Box 6

Reprints, 3 volumes, bound

 

SECTION IV: PHOTOS

Box 6, Folder 6.1

Photos

Box 7A & 7B

[index boxes]

Photos