Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

Robert Rathbun Wilson (Director from 1967 - 1978)

"It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things. It has to do with, are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending."

— Robert R. Wilson, answering Congress' question on how the new accelerator will affect the nation's security.

The Robert R. Wilson Collection contains the written and audio-visual records of the personal history (1914-2000) and professional history (1967-1978) of Fermilab's first director. Wilson's western roots and Berkeley training prepared him for his frontier work on the Manhattan Project and pioneering developments at Cornell University's Newman Laboratory for Nuclear Studies. In 1967 he was selected to create the National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Under Wilson's supervision the Main Ring accelerator became the highest energy proton synchrotron in the world. Wilson's creativity extended from accelerators to the entire visual aesthetic of Fermilab, enhancing the site's natural beauty with his artistic touch in sculpture and architecture.

Please contact the archivist to access archival resources on the Wilson era.

Robert R. Wilson Content


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