University of Texas
Center for Nuclear Studies


Van de Graaff Model Accelerator


The Center for Nuclear Studies, or
“Days of Wine and Roses, and a few Thorns”
Department of Physics, University of Texas at Austin (1962-1975)
by Professor Peter J. Riley


The 50’s and 60’s were “golden years” for a particular device, then much used in Nuclear Physics, the Van de Graaff accelerator. I arrived here at UT Austin in September 1962, fresh from my PhD work in neutron time-of-flight studies at the University of Alberta, and joined the team being assembled by the well-known nuclear physicist, Bernard B. (Bernie) Kinsey, to build and operate a large tandem Van de Graaff laboratory at UT Austin under the aegis of the Department of Physics. He had the promise of research grant support from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), later to become the Department of Energy, to provide the bulk of the funding to operate the laboratory, and the promise of the University of Texas to build an on-campus laboratory facility. Eugene (“Gene”) Bernstein, a more experienced experimental assistant professor than I was, had joined shortly before my arrival. Before Kinsey’s arrival at UT, professors Robert (“Bob”) Little and Emmet Hudspeth worked out of a small nuclear physics laboratory at the Pickle Research Campus, then called the Balcones Research Laboratory. Bob joined Bernie Kinsey in his efforts to build a new large laboratory, and became a close friend and “confidante”; Emmet’s work remained centered at Balcones. The only nuclear theorist at UT at that time was Eugene Ivash.

Kinsey, at right, had been a student of Lord Rutherford, and then worked under E. O. Lawrence at Berkeley on the earliest linear accelerator designs. Later, he assisted Sir James Chadwick on the design of the Liverpool cyclotron. After WW II, he moved from Britain to Chalk River, Canada, where he, together with G. Bartholomew, carried out a series of neutron-capture gamma-ray experiments that became well known. These experiments helped establish Chalk River as the leading Canadian nuclear research laboratory during the 1950’s. Kinsey was recruited to Texas in 1958.

Bernie Kinsey’s ambition was to build a large, modern nuclear laboratory on the main campus centered around a 12 MV (megavolt) tandem and a 5.5 MV negative ion “injector”, giving a possible maximum proton beam energy of nearly 18 MeV (million electron volts). He brought with him, from England and Chalk River, Canada, a senior engineer, Jim Jagger (?-2017), and an electronics specialist, Guy Page. The laboratory was to be in north basement area of a new building, the Engineering Science building (ENB), to be built near Waller Creek and southeast of the present RLM Building. Construction was underway on ENB when I first arrived in Austin. ENB was completed in 1963, and the 3 new Van de Graaff accelerators were installed. The laboratory became operational in 1964, a little less than two years after my arrival in Austin.

When I first met Bernie, I saw a large, burly, middle-aged man, who personified the British “country squire”. He was gruff but pleasant; he “shuffled” rather than walked, usually with a pencil hanging out the corner of his mouth. He was undoubtedly the most famous nuclear physics experimentalist ever at the University of Texas, but he was not a good manager.

Kinsey’s vision, I think, was that of a large, well-staffed, and smoothly-running facility, with him as director making the top decisions. The basic technical design of the laboratory was excellent; the horizontal workhorse “tandem” Van de Graaff (at right) was housed in a large “vault” upstairs from the experimental areas and the control room. After exiting the tandem, the beam was bent 90-degrees downward to a second 90-degree magnet which again bent the beam horizontal. This second magnet could rotate through 360 degrees about a vertical axis, allowing the beam to be fed into any of 8 shielded beam rooms, which formed an octagon around the central magnet. The 5.5 MV machine was mounted in the “tower” above the tandem, so as to allow its H- (negative) beam to be injected into the tandem below. The operation of the tandem with the injector was a technically challenging task for the laboratory staff. I believe that the first successful usage of the injector was in 1966, by Fred Moore, Peter von Brentano, Amir Zaidi and others, to study isobaric analog resonances in 209Bi by means of elastic and inelastic proton scattering on 208Pb. The third machine, a smaller 4 MV device, was also mounted in the tower, and was designed to operate in a pulsed mode, allowing time-of-flight studies. The instrumentation for successful pulsing was still incomplete when the laboratory was closed down in 1976, and this machine was seldom used. A 1962 schematic design of the laboratory is shown below.

In the early days, the laboratory instrumentation was less than optimal. Perhaps inspired by his early experiences with accelerators, Bernie thought that his engineering and technical staff should be able to design and build much of the instrumentation needed, including virtually all the beam line equipment, lens systems to focus the beams, radiation monitors, beam scanners to measure beam profiles, monitors to measure radiation, and even solid-state silicon detectors for the actual experimental measurements. Both Jim Jagger and Guy Page were hard working and capable engineers, but they were too overwhelmed with routine laboratory tasks to design, develop, and test so much complex instrumentation. In addition, Austin in those days had a negligible base of skilled technicians, particularly with respect to accelerator physics, and Jim, especially, had to train and oversee the laboratory technical staff. Perhaps there also wasn’t enough funding to allow us to purchase needed instrumentation commercially, but the end result was that the experimental program suffered, especially during the early years of the laboratory, and the young experimentalists became frustrated and angry.

By the time I arrived, problems in the lab had attracted the attention of Departmental Chairman, Harold Hansen. Young experimentalists brought in to the new Center felt alienated, starting with Gene Bernstein. Complaints to Harold Hansen did not fall on deaf ears.

About 1964, another junior level nuclear experimentalist joined the group, C. Fred Moore (at right). Fred received his PhD from Florida State, working on some of the very first studies of isobaric analog resonances in nuclear physics, and was keen to pursue this work at Texas. Fred was extremely hardworking, aggressive, loud, persistent, and intensely competitive. He continued and extended isobaric analog experiments at UT. His field of research was highly topical, and he quickly came to be regarded as the most outstanding and dominant physicist at the CNS. He had an intense dislike of following directions from anyone and soon clashed with the director, even though he was the only one of the first three new UT recruits -- Riley, Moore, and Bernstein (shown in the control room below) -- hired directly by the director.


Peter Riley, Fred Moore and E. M. Berstein


After Fred came, others, including more theoretical nuclear physicists, provided invaluable support to the experimental program. The 1966 Accelerator Laboratory AnnualPprogress Report (the fifth such report) lists as faculty members: E. M Bernstein (on leave), P. von Brentano (Visitor), B. M. Foreman (nuclear chemistry), T. A. Griffy (theory), B. B. Kinsey (Director), R.N. Little, C. F. Moore, P.J. Riley, and S. A. A. Zaidi (appointed July 1966). Postdoctoral Fellows were R. Boreli, W. R. Coker (theory, appointed Sept. 1966), N. Mishra, P. Shrivastava, and C. E. Watson (appointed July 1966). By this time we had become a functional, hard working and productive laboratory. Fourteen papers were either published or submitted for publication during 1966; five graduate students received PhD degrees, and one received a MSc degree. Gene Bernstein’s two students, Glen Terrell and Monroe Jahns, were among the students receiving PhD degrees. After their graduation, Gene Bernstein started job hunting, and soon left the laboratory and the University.

I took a leave of absence from UT during fall, 1966, and worked with the tandem physics group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with financial assistance from Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Inc. At Oak Ridge, working with Charles Jones and Harvey Willard, I learedt the technology of using thin-celled cylindrical gas target cells in scattering chambers, and started what would become a series of nuclear structure studies using enriched isotopes of the rare gases xenon and argon. Harvey Willard would later become a lifelong friend and mentor. I had a wonderful time in Oak Ridge, and on returning to Texas modified an existing scattering chamber for use with gaseous targets. I then continued and extended the measurements first started with the Oak Ridge tandem accelerator. Those were, for me, “good years” -- I felt that I had excellent graduate students, and was turning out good research.

These “growing years” for the laboratory were not, however, altogether “happy” years—the laboratory atmosphere was at times divisive, unhappy, and even dysfunctional—but it became, and remained, a hard-working and productive laboratory. We were slowly building an international reputation as a significant tandem research laboratory, and Fred Moore deserves much of the credit. Harold Hansen, concerned about the Center’s progress, decided a new director was necessary. Sometime early in 1968, Harold asked for and received Bernie’s resignation as director. Bernard Kinsey had remained as Director for about 4 years after the laboratory became truly functional, and they cannot have been happy years. Although Bernie didn’t retire until 1976, he spent rather little time here either in the department or in the laboratory after 1968. During these years, he wrote and published a book, entitled “Slow to Learn”, describing his unhappy experiences as director of the Accelerator Laboratory at the University.

Amir Zaidi, at right, had been a researcher in Germany working with Peter von Brentano, and came to Texas at Fred’s invitation in 1966. He was capable both experimentally and theoretically, and was soon widely respected by all in the laboratory. On Bernie’s resignation, Amir Zaidi was appointed Acting Director of what was soon renamed the Center for Nuclear Studies (CNS), and he was also named Principal Investigator on the major AEC research grant to the Center for 1968-69.

In those days, I was little concerned with University “politics” -- I was trying to do research and to publish papers. There was no time for anything else. I do remember a rather hectic few months at the laboratory after Bernie’s departure. I now believe that the University was very concerned about the possibility of losing the AEC grant support, then about $400,000 per year, on which the operation of the laboratory depended. Although $400,000 is not much by today’s standards, in those days a tenured faculty salary was often in the neighborhood of $10,000 per year, and $400,000 was regarded as a very large sum of money. I think that Gordon Whaley, then Dean of the Graduate School, became involved in decisions involving the future of the Center for Nuclear Studies, and asked Bill Upthegrove, a distinguished professor of Electrical Engineering, to oversee the search for a new director. I remember several meetings of CNS faculty at which Bill Upthegrove was present during which we discussed the CNS Directorship. I don’t believe there was ever consensus regarding who should be director, although we, as a group, clearly wanted someone from outside the laboratory.

Our new director, appointed fairly late during 1968, was Ira Lon Morgan, at right. Lon, a former PhD student of Emmet Hudspeth, had been a co-founder of Texas Nuclear Corporation in 1956. He soon became well known both as a pioneer in accelerator nuclear physics and as a successful Austin businessman. In 1964, Nuclear-Chicago bought Texas Nuclear Corporation and Lon joined Nuclear-Chicago as Vice President. He left that position in 1968 to become Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Nuclear Studies. Lon differed in many ways from Kinsey—he was known as a good manager, but not an outstanding research nuclear physicist. He was also a staunch entrepreneur and very “Texan”.

Progress Report #7, RESEARCH IN NUCLEAR PHYSICS conducted by the Center for Nuclear Studies, December 1968, describes a broad program of nuclear research, with experimental, theoretical, and instrumentation components. During 1968, there were more than 20 software programs written or “developed” at the CNS. There were 12 publications, 9 additional papers in press, 3 laboratory technical reports, 2 invited papers, and 24 contributed papers, or “abstracts” submitted to meetings. Eight students earned PhD degrees in the laboratory during that year, of which four were my students.

I. L. Morgan is listed as Director, and S. A. A. Zaidi as Associate Director. New faculty members (between 1966 and 1968) were Pat Richard, an experimentalist, and Taro Tamura, a well-known computationally-oriented nuclear theorist, who soon established a strong theoretical group at the CNS. In 1969, Takeshi Udagawa, another young and outstanding theorist from Japan, joined the nuclear theory group, consisting in 1968 of Tamura, Griffy, Coker, and Ivash. The trio of Tamura, Coker, and Udagawa continued working together as a strong, active and coherent nuclear theory group until Tamura’s death in 1988.

How did things change with the arrival of Morgan? I think that we greeted his arrival with some expectant (but guarded) optimism. Lon was forthright, candid, and realistic. He was a good organizer, and soon made sure that the CNS had a fully-fledged User’s Committee (including post-docs) with overall responsibility for many of the supervisory duties previously reserved for the director. The system worked, and remained effective for the remaining life of the laboratory. We argued, bickered, fought, and often after that partied together. We met regularly as a group and voted on most things, including laboratory supervisory responsibilities. The 1973-74 assignments are shown at right, in the attached figure. Like that of most accelerators, except for repairs and maintenance, the tandem was run 7 days/week, 24 hours per day. The all-important CNS annual progress reports to the AEC were organized by S.A.A. Zaidi (“Amir”), who remained as CNS Associate Director until 1974, when he resigned and was replaced by Fred Moore. Rory Coker, however, always compiled the report. Rory did much to hold us together as a group, and became, in a sense, the spirit and soul of the laboratory.

During the late 1960’s, and early 1970’s, the laboratory was brimming with graduate students and post-docs. Faculty and staff appointments for 1972–73 are shown in the attached figures, and include 6 post-doctoral and 28 pre-doctoral appointments, as well as substantial numbers of technical staff, machinists, and office staff.









Early o,n Lon played a leading role as director of the CNS, but he clearly didn’t “fit-in” as a normal experimentalist. Pure nuclear research wasn’t his life-style; he was always much more interested in practical applications of accelerators. Further, he had outside business interests, travelled much, and seemed to lose interest in the CNS and its activities as time went on. He didn’t long relish the challenge of being laboratory director. Lon remained as director of the Center for Nuclear Studies for about four years, until September 1972. He then returned to industry (Fritz de Wette was then Chair of Physics) -- a life-style that clearly suited him better than that of academia. Was he a successful director of the CNS? He took it on during difficult times; when he left, it was far stronger and more successful than it had ever been. He will be remembered most, though, for his career-long efforts in bringing applications of accelerators and radioisotopes to industry.

By 1971 the direction of research in nuclear physics was changing. The “golden years” of the tandem Van de Graaffs were ending. An 800-MeV proton linear accelerator, the Los Alamos Medium Energy Physics Facility (LAMPF) was being built by the AEC at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Some of us joined an experimental group formed to study nucleon-nucleon interactions at LAMPF. I began spending summers at Los Alamos and going there about once a month on a regular basis. At the same time, however, the experimental research programs of the CNS were expanding, and included a program of ion-atom collisions at tandem energies, initiated by Patrick Richard, and a program on in-beam internal conversion electron studies, headed by Fred Moore. In later years, as low-energy experimental nuclear physics became an exhausted field, the use of nuclear accelerators in atomic and molecular physics became common, and Fred and Pat were far ahead of the curve.

The departure of Lon Morgan in late 1972 caused little stir or change in the CNS. By this time the laboratory had a sufficiently wide range of instrumentation, including a heavy ion source and multiple detectors, to allow a wide range of sophisticated nuclear and atomic experiments to be carried out successfully. Moore, Hoffmann, the newly arrived Braithwaite, and Carey Davids were publishing at prodigious rates. Some members of the laboratory were carrying out collaborative experiments at Brookhaven (Carey Davids) and at LAMPF (Riley). Our theoretical group, headed by Taro Tamura, with able support from Udagawa and Coker, was equally aggressive, both in theoretical support of experimental measurements, and in independent theoretical analyses.

CNS productivity reached its zenith in about 1973. The introduction to our 1972-73 CNS Progress Report, written by Taro Tamura, concludes with the following:

“The past year has been one of the most productive in the history of the Center for Nuclear Studies – 48 refereed journal research papers have appeared in print in the areas of theoretical and experimental nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, atomic physics, and research instrumentation. Twenty more papers have been accepted for publication, and 24 additional papers have appeared, authored by faculty or staff of the Center in collaboration with researchers at other institutions, amounting to a total of nearly one hundred publications during 1973.”

Yes, Taro was quietly appointed director after Lon’s departure and remained as such until the laboratory closed down in 1975. In a sense, he was perhaps the least controversial of our directors. I doubt that even Fred picked many arguments with Taro-- he was so widely respected by us all. Yet it wasn’t reasonable to many that a theorist could/would long-term successfully run an experimental facility. However, the “golden days” of tandem laboratories were ending, and the Department of Energy (DOE), as the AEC was to become, was initiating the inevitable closure of tandem laboratories all across the U.S. It made no sense to appoint a new director from outside the Center.

1974 was an equally productive year for the CNS, with again nearly 100 publications, but that was the last highly productive year. Assistant Professor Carey Davids accepted a position at Argonne National Laboratory in September 1974, to be followed shortly by Andy Obst, who became a LANL staff member. The post doctoral appointments of Drs. Bishop, Couch, Low, Olsen, Mathews, and Whitmire ended in 1974. The attached letter to Physics Chairman Tom Griffy from Vice-President for Research Eldon Sutton, dated October 25, 1976, is the last written document that I can find relating to the demise of the Center for Nuclear Studies. The CNS “grew up” in the days of Chairman Harold Hansen, reached its zenith when Frits DeWette was chair, and quietly ended in 1975 during Tom Griffy’s chairmanship.

With the departure of Assistant Professor Wilfred Braithwaite in about 1976, the only remaining CNS experimentalist nuclear physicists were G. C. Hoffmann, C. F. Moore, P. J. Riley, and S. A. A. Zaidi. Amir Zaidi moved towards theoretical work in high-energy physics. Hoffmann, Moore, and Riley applied for and received funding from the DOE for (three) separate experimental programs at LAMPF, and continued that work until the closing down of that facility to nuclear physics in the early 1990s.

The tandem was a unique facility, and was able to probe nuclear structure as it had never been probed before, but the energies were too low to probe the fundamental nucleon-nucleon interaction effectively. Fundamentally, new discoveries with tandem accelerators were rare. The DOE replaced tandems with higher energy facilities, such as the LAMPF meson facility, until, it too, was phased out of the nuclear physics era in the early 1990s.

I have a long-standing regret, that with the closure of the CNS the remaining experimentalists, including myself, were unable to form a single coherent LAMPF User’s Group. Had we done so, I am convinced that we could have retained substantial CNS laboratory space and equipment, and perhaps even some technical staff members and redirected our unified effort to becoming a major LAMPF User Group. However, we could not, and went our separate ways at LAMPF. Today in 2010, thirty-five years after the closure of the CNS, Rory Coker, Jerry Hoffman, and I are the only remaining UT non-retired Physics faculty members who were also members of the CNS. Jerry Hoffmann, who has an active experimental program at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at BNL, is the only remaining active nuclear physicist (2010).




by Rory Coker

I came to the CNS the day after Charles Whitman made UT famous by shooting people from the top of the Tower. I had been hired as a postdoc by B. B. Kinsey, the lab director, during the summer of 1966, and it was clear I was supposed to work closely with the experimentalists, instead of pursuing my own lines of research exclusively... so I did.

It took a few years for the lab to hit its stride, but pretty soon we were all in the most continuously productive atmosphere I have ever experienced or heard about. Everybody worked, and a 12-hour day was normal, with many approaching an 18-hour day. I recall postdoc Klaus Peter Lieb heading out for home one day. Perhaps thinking that I was looking at him with disapproval, he remarked that nobody could work more than 12 hours productively. Since I knew from direct observation that Peter had a young, beautiful, highly intelligent wife waiting for him at home, I certainly would not have begrudged him a few hours a day in her company! But I told any students who would listen to me that the more papers they could publish before beginning to look for a job, the better, and that they should get involved with as many ongoing projects as possible, whether their major professor was connected with the project or not.

When I came to UT, there were two nuclear theorists in the Physics Department, Gene Ivash and Tom Griffy, but neither had any direct interest in the kinds of experimental results that would soon come pouring out of the Tandem Lab. This left the entire burden of doing calculations to compare to the rapidly accumulating data on my skinny shoulders, and I breathed a great sigh of relief when Taro Tamura was hired. As a man of great international stature, he went his own way, but he was keenly aware of what we needed, so he had a former student, Takeshi Udagawa, brought on board fairly quickly, and also attracted a large number of theory postdocs, mainly from Germany and Japan. I particularly enjoyed working with Udagawa, and with Herman Wolter, a postdoc from Germany, because in our collaborations THEY DID ALL THE WORK, leaving me in the unaccustomed position of having to do little more than nod my approval of their always-reliable contributions.

Tamura was definitely a descending angel from on high for both experimentalists and theorists. He brought with him from Oak Ridge a set of computer programs that provided perfect modular building blocks for almost any calculations we wanted to set up, based on any theory we could work out. In short order, we were doing calculations that no other nuclear theory group at any other university known to me, in the US or elsewhere, were doing or could do. Taro himself had been a pioneer in nuclear reaction theory, but at UT he became interested more and more in nuclear structure calculations, leaving the rest of us to tackle the nuclear reactions.

Among the experimentalists, Fred Moore was clearly the dominant personality. He tried to work harder than anyone else, and publish more papers per year, and push the limits of the facility. The injected tandem Van de Graaff actually never worked reliably, so almost all experiments were done just using the tandem. This did not set us apart from other nuclear physics facilities.—if we had been able to use the injector routinely we could have done experiments at 15 to 17 MeV routinely, and that was about twice the energy normally used in nuclear reaction studies of the era. Fred pushed the engineering staff so hard, using genial visitor Peter Von Brentano as his go-between, that he actually managed to get the injected tandem running long enough to complete at least one and possibly two experiments. Amir Zaidi also managed to do some experiments at these energies. I remember very serious discussions of just how many original research papers someone could hope to put out and get accepted for publication in the course of a year. The conclusion was that if you had enough "pots on the stove," you could do six papers per year, and many of us at our peak came pretty close to this, with Fred Moore of course coming closest of all.

I tried to follow the Enrico Fermi model of doing both experiments and theory, and, over the decade I was at the CNS, I worked with every faculty member and postdoc in the experimental group. I am probably the only person who ever actually collaborated with EVERY experimentalist who worked at the CNS, in fact. I could tell some stories, but I won't! My most congenial collaborator was Gerry Hoffmann, and I think I worked more often with him than anyone else. He is the only one of that group still active in experimental nuclear physics today (2010).

There were several things about the atmosphere of the CNS that disturbed me at the time, and still disturb me in memory today. One was a culture of intense competition, not just with groups at other universities and labs, but actually within the CNS itself. I thought this competition often led to unnecessary duplication of effort, and thus wasted much valuable time. Competition is a very healthy part of science, but at the CNS it got carried to extremes. Another problem involved feuds. Both experimentalists and theorists tended to "feud" with competitors at other universities and labs, often attacking the quality of their work, in talks delivered at APS meetings, with unwise harshness. The scientists thus being set-upon were almost always very well placed in the "old boy" network and the "physics mafia," and they could and very often did retaliate by telling tales and starting rumors about the quality of the work being done at Texas. I am sure that very great harm was done to the world-wide reputation of the CNS by this kind of vindictive response. It could so easily have been avoided.

During the interval from 1966 to 1975, I came to know everyone in the CNS... faculty, postdocs and graduate students, as well as a few undergraduate helpers... and I considered almost all of them to be close personal friends. When the few survivors of the glory days of the CNS moved to the 14th level of RLM Hall in 1975, nothing would ever be the same for us again.

Announcement of Establishment of Science Research Initiative

Research Institute Due UT

January 24, 1960, Austin American-Statesman

University of Texas regents Saturday authorized planning for a $15,000,000 Science Research Institute designed to give the state a front-running position in research in the natural sciences.

University Vice President H. H. Ransom said the institute will be staffed by top-ranked scientists of the nation who will be given full opportunity and major facilities tor long-range endeavors “to push back the horizons of scientific knowledge."

Unique in Texas, it is a concrete response to the acute need tor this state and this region of our country. Texas must move into the forefront of pioneering scientific endeavor,” Ransom asserted.

The $15 million price tag includes outlays for the support of research, salaries for scholars and their assistants, and new physical facilities, including the most modern and specialized equipment.

An immediate start on development of the institute was assured by decision to design and install a mammoth particle accelerator or atom smasher for use by nuclear physicists. This installation, when completed two years hence, will represent a capital investment of approximately $3 million.

The University installation will contain a tandem electrostatic accelerator and additional lower energy accelerators. The tandem accelerator will have four times the voltage of the Van de Graaff accelerator built nine years ago by physcist Emmett Hudspeth, his graduate students, and Joseph T. Peoples, nuclear physics technical specialist. Dr. Hudspeth’s pioneering effort laid the foundation for the current expansion in nuclear physics.

The powerful tandem accelerator will enable University scientists to rip apart atomic nuclei at energies of 12 million volts. This machine produces a fast moving stream of electrically charged particles-protons and deuterons-which bombard targets of different materials. By studying the fragments emitted, scientists will learn what the atomic nuclei are made of and what holds them together.

This accelerator should not be confused with a nuclear reactor which operates in an entirely different manner. Unlike the accelerator, it is a source of slow neutrons rather than of fast electrically-charged particles.

The tandem machine will greatly extend the range of nuclear physics research at the University, particularly in an area in which little work has been done so far. I The University accelerator will complement a nuclear reactor at Texas A&M College, thus giving Texas a two-pronged major approach to research in nuclear energy, University Physicist B. B. Kinsey explained.

"Texas A&M is developing in splendid fashion a center for research using the nuclear reactor,” he said. "The University does not contemplate entering that field, and our scientists will be able to use the Texas A&M facilities. The particle accelerator opens up an area of investigation not possible with nuclear reactors. Scientists at Texas A&M and other universities will be able to use these facilities also."

Vice-President Ransom emphasized that the Science Research Institute would incorporate advanced research in the biological sciences, physical sciences, and engineering sciences.

"With highly-selective work in each of these fields, we expect to make notable contributions to the advancement of science as a whole," he declared.

Development of the institute will extend over several years. University administrators said funds will come from grants by business and industry, national research agencies, and partially from the University Available Fund.

Details are expected to be completed within the several months.

Early letter from Emmett Hudspeth discussing the possibilities of building a four MeV Van de Graaff “generator” at Texas.


Center for Nuclear Studies Photo Album

Prof. Cary Davids (seated) with students, adjusting the amplified signal from a solid state particle detector, so that the analog-to-digital converter could handle it, and feed it correctly to the PDP 11 computer.
In the early years of the CNS, data were taken with a PDP 7 computer. Later, it was upgraded to a PDP 11, seen here. "Small" computers in those days (1970) were the size of several refrigerators. Here Rory Coker is trying to see if the computer is taking and storing data correctly. The data were also recorded simultaneously on magnetic tape.
'This photo shows a small part of the (very large) room at the old CNS used for data analysis.  The very large table on the left side of the photo is one of 4 in the room, all custom made.  The graduate student in the red shirt is J. J. Kent.  The tables had to be so large because in those days data were printed out on the old fan-folded line-printer paper, so to spread out a complete spectrum for study required a very large table space.  On the right side of the image you can see drafting tables.  We generally had to do our own preparation of figures for publication, using Rapidograph pens and the infamous LeRoy lettering sets.  Very complicated figures, beyond our ability, were done for us by Eva Riley, who had a real talent for doing difficult diagrams." (—Rory Coker)
The CNS data-taking and control area was huge and excellent. No matter how many people were involved, it never felt cramped. Shown here is the area between the control room of the accelerators (glassed-in to the right) and the data-taking electronics (to the left). In between are Amir Zaidi (with pipe), graduate student David Burch (in front of Zaidi), Cary Davids (seated in the chair) and Fred Moore sitting on table.

Prof. Jerry Hoffmann filling a cold-trap with liquid nitrogen. Every faculty member had his own beam line and target area, with one or two scattering chambers set up in each area.

Graduate student Jimmy Kent inside the tandem. It had to be entered regularly to smooth away spark damage between the accelerating column (to the left) and the surrounding inner wall of the pressure vessel. All spent a lot of time on hands and knees with (dangerous) solvents and very fine sand paper, finding and removing such damage.
Faculty and graduate students at the CNS soon became expert at anything involving high vacuum, gas handling, electronic signal processing, computers, very high voltages, vacuum deposition, and too much else to name. This training produced very versatile scientist.
Graduate student Jim Lynch (today a famous oceanographer at Woods Hole) examines the controls of a gas target.

Graduate student Joe Bolger working on his experiment logbook while graduate student Dennis Matthews is working at the PDP 11 computer, during data taking.

Drs. C. Fred Moore, Charles E. Watson and S.A.A. Zaidi, October 1966 studying nuclear stripping reactions.

Maybe CNS graduate students or post-docs.

Maybe CNS graduate student or post-doc.

Maybe CNS graduate students or post-docs.

Maybe CNS graduate students or post-docs.

Professor Cary David and Post-doc Andrew Obst

Post-doc Andrew Obst and Unknown

Professor Rory Coker with PDP-7

Professor Rory Coker

Professor Gerry Hoffmann

Professor Peter Riley

Graduate Student Roger Liljestrand

Professor Taro Tamura

Tandem Accelerator

CNS Control Room, Bill Hodge facing camera.

Left to Right: Amir Zaidi, Klaus Peter Lieb, George Lock, Professor Tom Griffy and Professor C. Fred Moore

Left to Right: Reginald Curry, George Lock, Pete Shugart, Professor Tom Griffy, Rob Clarkson and Professor Amir Zaidi

Left to Right: Theodore Borelli, R. "Gil" Gilbert, Professor Tom Griffy and Professor C. Fred Moore

Left to Right: Til Hausmann (postdoc from Germany), Pete Shugart and Reginald Curry

Left to Right: Reginald Curry, Professor Fred Moore and Til Hausmann.

Rory Coker and post-doctoral student, Feodore Borelli

Left to Right: Jim McDonough, Jerry Hoffmann, Jack Ritchie and Peter Riley
McDonough was a post-doc of Jerry Hoffmann. He later worked at the University of Pennsylvannia Medical School. Jack Ritchie write about the picture, "It was taken at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in a building called the East Expermental Beam Area, which received proton beams from the accelerator known as the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron. When I came to UT I was working at BNL on an experiment that studied the very rare decays of kaons. When we upgraded the detector to do a second round experiment, Peter and Jerry joined the collaboration. I can't be sure off the top of my head, but date of those photos was probably around 1992. "

Top: Peter Riley and Jerry Hoffmann
Below: Jim McDonough and Jack Ritchie, location Brookhaven National Lab, 1992.


Robert Gillespie "Rob" Clarkson, PhD 1968.. His dissertation supervisors were Tom Griffy and C. Fred Moore. After graduating Rob did a two-year postdoc at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg. He worked some with John Fox from Florida State while there and later at the University of Oregon, He next went to Wits University in Johannesburg, where he was in the Physics Department for 10 years. He left there at the end of 1981 to do computer consulting and audio-visual production, which he did for nearly 20 years. He moved with his South African wife (of English background) and family to San Antonio in 2000 for his wife to do a residency in psychiatry, and he became a stay-at-home Dad for nearly 3 years. Rob returned to consulting and is now employed with LabWare, a software company that does Laboratory Information Management Systems software, based in Delaware. As he reported, “Although I'll be 70 later this year, I've no retirement plans, following in my Dad's footsteps in that regard.” Rob’s dad was Henry Neal Clarkson, a UT physics graduate. Sadly Rob died August 28, 2016. He was only 72.






Technical Support Staff

James William "Jim" Jagger, 92, of Austin, Texas, passed on October 17, 2017 surrounded by loving family members. Jim was born on August 25, 1925 in Surrey, England to Florence (Osborn) Jagger and Arthur James Jagger. He attended S .E Essex Technical College and graduated from Borough Polytechnic Institute, London England.

Jim is survived by his: son, Peter Jagger; daughters, June Patricia Jagger and Diane Elizabeth Jagger Bollmeier siblings, Honora Friday and Arthur Robert Jagger; grandchildren, Brittany Jagger, Christopher Jagger, Alison Kenyon, Megan Reneger, Joanna Kenyon, Kara Jagger-Miller, and Tammy De Los Santos; several great-grandchildren; and his dog, Jasper. Jim’s wife of 57 years, Eunice Irene Jagger, proceeded him in death on October 13, 2017. At right are Jim and Eunice at Peter Riley's retirement party.

Jim's first wife was Vera Mabbott. Jim and Vera had two children, June and Diane, both born in England. They moved from England to Deep River, Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada where Jim accepted a job with the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. In 1951, the family sailed from London to Halifax on the "Ascania." Their last address was in Wantage, Berkshire. Vera became ill and the family had to return to England aboard the Saxonia, arriving in Liverpool, October 19, 1954. Vera died in 1956.

Jim and Eunice Jagger,
Elson, Gosport, England,
August, 1960

For a short period of time while residing in England, Jim was a single father raising his two young daughters, Jim met his second wife, and the love of his life, Eunice Jagger, in Harwell, England, where they both worked for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Eunice was born February 11, 1937 in Gosport, England to Eva Violet (Sendall) Harrison and Fredrick Harrison. She graduated from Gosport County Grammar School, and later attended and graduated from the University of Texas School of Pharmacy. They were married in St. Thomas Church in Elson, Gosport, England in August of 1960 and shortly thereafter relocated to Austin, Texas so Jim could pursue a career with the University of Texas department of Physics/Engineering. He came to the US on September 14, 1960 on the M/V Woltersum to work in the new tandem accelerator laboratory. Lab director, Bernie Kinsey recruited him. They had worked together in England. Jim was naturalized on October 14, 1960. In addition to work in the nuclear lab, Jim later joined the Fusion Research Center as an engineer. Jim retired from the university in 1996. 

Jim was devoted to his family and enjoyed spending time watching and participating in his children and grandchildren’s activities. He was an avid swimmer and bicyclist, and enjoyed voraciously reading about everything, particularly theoretical mathematics. He is remembered as a storyteller with an epic sense of humor, and also as somebody who was kind and gentle to everyone he met.

Eunice enjoyed most traveling to the ocean, finishing the most challenging of crosswords, walking her dog in the evenings, lunching with her dear friends, and taking her family to Austin’s Wildflower Center. In her final years, Eunice fought an arduous battle with cancer, and impressed everyone with her determination and grace.

Eunice Irene Jagger, 80, of Austin, Texas, passed away on October 13, 2017, surrounded by loving family members and close friends. Jim passed away five days after Eunice, no doubt a testament to the enduring love they shared.






John Guy Page was born in West Hartlepool, Durham, England on September 11, 1924. He along with Jim Jagger, move from England to work in the new tandem accelerator laboratory to be directed by Bernie Kinsey. Kinsey recruited both to come to the University of Texas. Guy became a citizen in 1982. Guy died February 19, 2000.