My reason_for_request: Area History Project
request: Adrienne, it has recently been brought to my attention that Purdue and the State of Indiana originally proposed a site for your facility in central Indiana in the 1950s. This is chronicled in R.B. Stewart and the History of Purdue University and I have written about it at http://www.historictraderspoint.org. Do you know how/why sites were considered, evaluated, and chosen? I am interested in knowing more about the procedures leading up to the selection of Batavia (and the elimination of Indiana). Thanks so much.
Thanks for your inquiry. Your blog entry was quite enjoyable and interesting to read. I’ll try to answer your question briefly. I don’t have the Indiana proposal for the 200 BeV accelerator (that ultimately became Fermilab) so I don’t know much about the Indiana site that was submitted in the proposal. Your local library or state archives might have newspaper articles about the subject c1965-66. There are a few books that deal with the site selection: Poliscide (Lowi and Ginsberg), Science Policy Making in the US and the Batavia Accelerator (Jachim), and The Politics of Pure Science (Greenberg). I have also co-authored a recent book entitled Fermilab, which has a chapter about the site selection issue. The Atomic Energy Commission prepared a press release explaining the selection of the Weston site in Illinois in late 1966. I could send you a copy of the press release but it might not mention Indiana since that site didn’t make it into the finals. Some of the selection criteria were: a sufficient amount of land, a large enough airport located close enough to the selected site for physicists from around the world to reach it in a reasonable time, good/stable geology, necessary water sources, etc. I think proximity to Chicago was a plus, even though Argonne National Lab was already here. The MURA effort did make a difference. The chapter in our book explains much more. You’ll be glad to know that Purdue physicists have conducted research at Fermilab since the 1970s.
Please let me know if you’d like more info,