It’s the winter of 1954 and Walter Zinn at Argonne is, among other things, inventing the boiling water reactor, which will eventually be the second most popular around the world. As usual, he’s doing it on a shoestring, or more precisely, one of his favourite offsiders, Harold “Butch” Lichtenberger, is building it. Here’s Norman Hilberry, Zinn’s 2IC, writing to Lichtenberger:
Dear Harold, Wally told me this noon that you were still waiting on official go-ahead on the Borax program for the coming summer. We have sent in our midyear financial review and as usual have received no answering communications. Time obviously is getting short, and, consequently, it seems to me we must move ahead without further delay. Will you please use this letter as your authorization to proceed forthwith. . . . I feel sure that we can scrape up the money someway.
Hilberry, Norman. 1954. Hilberry to Lichtenberger, Jan. 14, 1954. Folder “Reading File, January 14, 1954”, Box 93, Laboratory Director’s Reading File, 1949-1957, RG 326, NARA-GL, Chicago, Illinois.