114. Princeton “Atom Smasher”


The Princeton Engineer began publication in January 1941 with a threefold purpose: to unite undergraduate engineers in a cooperative project; to keep alumni informed about developments at the school; and to bring about greater recognition for Princeton’s engineering program in the outside world.  This last aim could certainly be deemed successful by the time this issue was published in October 1956, when several subscribers lived in Moscow.  The cover story of this issue announced the construction of a new “atom smasher” at the Forrestal Research Center, funded by the Atomic Energy Commission and jointly operated by Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, known as the Princeton-Penn Accelerator.  The machine was an advanced cyclotron, 150 times more powerful than the earlier model housed in a basement room of Palmer Physical Laboratory (now the Frist Campus Center), and the experiments conducted with it made significant contributions to the study of nuclear physics.  By 1972, the accelerator was rendered obsolete by newer and larger models and was shut down, though the structure was not razed until 1988.   

  • To learn more about the history of science at Princeton, see icon #2, 5, 6, and 7, quotation #9, 27, 34, and 39, and Café Vivian picture #14, 15, 22, 25, 32, 35, 41, 43, 51, 64, 75, 78, 83, 87, 90, and 131.

  • To learn more about the Forrestal Research Center, see quotation #27 and Café Vivian picture #35, 122, and 131.

  • To learn more about the Frist Campus Center, see icon #5 and 8, quotation #5, 7, and 39, and Café Vivian picture #124.