[Neutron] IPNS History

Simine Short short at anl.gov
Fri Aug 15 19:45:10 CEST 2008

Hello, everyone on the Neutron mailing list:
As most of you probably know, Catherine Westphal is working on a book documenting the "History of Argonne."

The history of IPNS was her latest project, and it was finished just before its doors were shut. Her write-up covers the complex political events, surrounding the original development of the facility for the quarter century that it was an active user facility. If you have not seen her report, go to <http://www.library.anl.gov/>, select Advanced Search under Argonne Publications. Enter "anlhist5" in the Report Number box. The record and a link to the full-text should appear. If it doesn't work, let me know and I forward the anlhist5.pdf file.

Catherine did an excellent job on the political history, but she discusses very little the science part and the people involved.

Having worked at IPNS for more than a decade, I think there is more to tell. In her write-up I miss much of the excitement of the science, done at IPNS over the past 20+ years. The excitement of the people working at IPNS on a very low budget, but achieving optimum results, is missing. Stories about the users, stories about the experiments, stories about the equipment on either side, accelerator and neutron user facility (or beam dumps), instruments and the ancillary equipment, stories of the people having worked there, are what I call the "true" or cultural history of IPNS, something that many of us are not likely to forget. We should share this with other people and researchers!
In my opinion, we should record and document how one facility in the big Department of Energy worked and pushed ahead, always on a tight budget, but always pushing the limits of science — pushing further and deeper into the unknown, designing and improving whatever equipment was necessary to achieve an outstanding scientific result.
And to top things off, I believe we normally had fun working at IPNS, with the users and with the staff.

Such an informal history can not originate by one person. We all need to work on it and come up with stories to share.

Here are my two requests:

1] Please send me two stories (at least!), one which brings back "pleasant" memories and another one which brings back not so pleasant (or "painful") memories. And you be the judge which stories you would like to share with the rest of us — down the road.

2] Please forward the request for stories to whoever you know, who was involved at one time or another, and ask for his/her comments. We surely do not want to miss anyone who contributed, large and small!

And if you have photos to share, please send them along as well. This project will not be done in the next few months, but Jack Carpenter has agreed to help me get this project going.

I am open to suggestions! and  I look forward to hear from you!


Simine Short <short at anl.gov>
Senior Scientific Associate
Materials Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
and a former "IPNS Person"

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