Academic politicking in 1955

In my book I cover the rather arcane 1955 battle Walter Zinn, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, had with Midwestern universities over whether Argonne or the universities should build and operate an expensive accelerator. The following memorandum in the files shows one of Zinn’s men reporting back to him after attending an October meeting of the Midwest Universities Research Association, a body formed for such politicking. This snippet is too detailed for my use but its tone tells me everything about the viciousness of the contest.

Purpose [of the meeting]

Allegedly to acquaint machine users with technical advances in accelerator development and to solicit their views on desirable characteristics. Actually, for political purposes, to work up a solid front for MURA.

After dinner speeches

Let the cat out of the bag as to the real purpose.


Livingood, J. J. 1955. Livingood to Zinn, Oct. 10, 1955. Folder ‘Zinn, Walter H., 1955-1956’, Box 720, Entry Series 1, RG 128, NARA II, College Park, Maryland.