LINK:  University of Chicago Magazine
About the Magazine | Advertising | Archives | Contact
 LINK:  August 2006LINK:  featuresLINK:  chicago journalLINK:  investigationsLINK:  peer reviewLINK:  in every issue

:: By Mary Ruth Yoe

:: Photography by Dan Dry

link:  e-mail this to a friend

Features ::

Argonne Almanac

Argonne Chronology

December 2. Enrico Fermi’s team produces first sustained nuclear chain reaction. By spring 1943 the rebuilt Chicago Pile-1, surrounded by a concrete radiation shield, is rebuilt at Argonne Forest Preserve.

July 1. A Manhattan Project legacy, the Metallurgical Laboratory becomes Argonne National Laboratory.

January 1. The Atomic Energy Commission approves an Idaho site for construction of the National Reactor Testing Station, soon known as Argonne–West.

December 20. The Experimental Breeder Reactor produces the world’s first usable amount of electricity from nuclear energy, powering four electric lightbulbs.
May 27. Ground is broken for the Experimental Boiling Water Reactor, the nation’s first reactor built for research on electrical-power generation.

April 17. Physicist W. Nelson Beck reports that “an ultrasonic scanner and recording system” has medical applications. While studying ultrasound as a nondestructive way to inspect nuclear-reactor fuel, Beck put his arm inside the scanner—creating the first ultrasound image.

December 12. U of C professor and Argonne scientist Maria Goeppert Mayer receives the Nobel Prize in physics for her theory of nuclear shell structure.

September 22. Moon rocks from the Apollo 11 mission arrive for analysis.

November 13. A photograph from the 12-foot bubble chamber at the Zero Gradient Synchrotron—a multibillion-volt proton accelerator for high-energy physics—provides the first observation of a neutrino particle track.

March 1. Argonne signs a contract to build the Center for Human Radiobiology. Its charge: to study the effects of radiation on people exposed through medical or industrial use or by Atomic Energy Commission experiments.

June 14. Research at the Zero Gradient Synchrotron shows that the proton is structured like a spinning onion, with the inner core spinning faster than the outer layer.

April 25. An ion beam successfully accelerates through the Argonne Tandem-Linac Accelerator System’s 500-foot-long accelerator—a sequence of machines where each accelerates charged atoms and then feeds the beam into the next section to gain more energy.

June 4. Ground is broken for the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a half-billion-dollar accelerator designed to produce high-energy X-rays for research in almost all scientific disciplines. Five year later, the project is up and running.

February 12. Actor Keanu Reeve arrives to film scenes for the 1996 action flick Chain Reaction, setting off another reaction: an episode of the TV drama ER, the 1998 Bruce Willis film Mercury Rising, and 2003’s The Hulk use lab locales.

January 23. Argonne runs its first experiment on the Gammasphere, a $20-million gamma-ray detector designed to help answer fundamental questions about the structure and behavior of atomic nuclei. The experiment is a success, producing new data on “isospin symmetry.”

Work done at the Advanced Photon Source by a Dana Farber Cancer Institute team produces the first detailed images of key immune cells locked onto fragments of a foreign substance.

April 13. The Heavy-Duty Truck Engine Test Cell, dedicated to reducing particulate emissions from diesel engines, begins operation.

October 30. A research team using the Advanced Photon Source announces its finding of extremely high lead levels in hair samples from Ludwig von Beethoven, possibly explaining the cause of the composer’s death.

November 10–16. A worldwide technical conference inaugurates Argonne’s Access Grid, a computer system that lets scientists from around the globe, including Antarctica, participate in seminars on computational science and high-end networking and computing.

July 29. The TeraGrid network, the world’s fastest dedicated optical-research network, forges its first link, connecting Argonne with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

October 6. The National Institutes of Health awards Chicago $17 million to build the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory, a regional biocontainment lab at Argonne.

October 7. Argonne scientist Alexei Abrikosov shares the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theories about the behavior of matter at temperatures near absolute zero.

February 1. Argonne–West is separated from Argonne National Laboratory and becomes part of the new Idaho National Laboratory.

August 31. The U.S. Department of Energy awards Argonne’s five-year, $2.5 billion operating contract to a University of Chicago team.

Intro | Interview | Research We Use | Facility Services | Argonne Numbers | Argonne Chronology