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Tantalus

Measurements:
overall: 213 cm x 507 cm x 180 cm x 507 cm; 83 27/32 in x 199 19/32 in x 70 7/8 in x 199 19/32 in
Object Name:
radiation source
Credit Line:
Gift of the University of Wisconsin--Madison, Synchrotron Radiation Center.
ID Number:
1997.0078.01
Accession number:
1997.0078
1997.0079
Catalog number:
1997.0078.01
Nonaccession number:
1998.3048
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Modern Physics
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b2-5d3f-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1818084

"Tantalus" Synchrotron Radiation Source Collection

Creator:
Tantalus Project  Search this
Interviewee:
Rowe, Ednor "Ed"  Search this
Pruett, Charles  Search this
Olson, Cliff  Search this
Otte, Roger  Search this
Brown, Fred  Search this
Names:
Synchrotron Radiation Center  Search this
University of Wisconsin--Madison  Search this
Extent:
3.5 Cubic feet (11 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notebooks
Videotapes
Date:
1940-1995
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists primarily of notebooks, manuals, and other data and operational logbooks documenting the creation, building, and maintenance of Tantalus, and the experiments performed on the machine. Tantalus was the first dedicated synchrotron radiation laboratory and source. Series 5 and Series 6 include oral and video histories with Ednor Rowe, Fred Brown, Cliff Olson, Charles Pruett, and Roger Otte.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into six series.

Series 1, Notebooks and Logbooks, 1940-1986

Series 2, Data and Operational Logbooks, 1965-1995

Series 3, User Beam Schedule Sheets, 1968-1986

Series 4, Storage Ring Blueprints, 1966-1972

Series 5, Video Histories, 1995

Series 6, Oral History Cassettes, 1995
Biographical / Historical:
At the University of Wisconsin during 1965-1967, a team led by particle physicist Ednor Rowe built a machine designed to analyze what goes on inside high-energy particle accelerators. This was the big, exciting technology in physics at the time. But just as the apparatus neared completion, funding was cut off. Its creators, feeling teased by fate and their government backers, dubbed the machine "Tantalus."

Rowe knew, though, that a by-product of Tantalus's operation was intense "synchrotron radiation," a form of ultra violet light that is used to study the structure of matter. He quickly adapted the machine to make this radiation available for use and soon the facility was crowded with experimenters from all over the world. Tantalus not only pioneered the use of synchrotron radiation, but created a research facility where both scientists and graduate students could perform hands-on work.

Researchers shared information and the results of their experiments in a collegial environment. There was no "King of the Ring" among these goal-oriented scientists. Those working at the Synchrotron Radiation Center always sought ways to improve upon Tantalus, with the result that Tantalus remained an important research tool until 1987, when it was retired and replaced by a newer machine, "Aladdin."
Related Materials:
The Division of Information, Technology, and Society (now the Division of Medicine and Science) collected part of the Tantalus synchrotron radiation ring. See accession 1997.0078.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Ednor M. Rowe, Associate Director for Accelerator Development, Synchrotron Radiation Center, University of Wisconsin on November 20, 1995.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Physics -- Experiments -- 1940-2000  Search this
Synchrotron radiation  Search this
Physicists -- 1940-2000  Search this
Laboratories -- 1940-2000  Search this
Radiation -- 1960-1990  Search this
Genre/Form:
Notebooks
Videotapes
Citation:
"Tantalus" Synchrotron Radiation Source Collection, 1940-1995, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0532
See more items in:
"Tantalus" Synchrotron Radiation Source Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89dd7d79e-a4ee-4dc2-a5a3-1f2b20609c99
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0532

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