Fermilab History and Archives Project

Robert Rathbun Wilson

| The Directors > Robert R. Wilson | Leon M. Lederman | John Peoples | Michael S. Witherell |

Roberth R. Wilson

"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 (1967-78) 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 aestheticism of Fermilab, enhancing the site's natural beauty with his artistic touch in sculpture and architecture.

To know more about Wilson, look through the Golden Book, "Starting Fermilab," online.

NAL: From Oak Brook to Weston and Wilson Hall

Edwin L. Goldwasser, Wilson's deputy director from 1967 to 1978, recalled his reminiscences of the early years of Fermilab in 1979 at the Robert R. Wilson retirement celebration, "Aesthetics and Science."

Please contact the archivist about this memoir and other resources on the Wilson era.

Additional information on Robert R. Wilson:

Wilson's Congressional Testimony, April 1969
Wilson photo album
Jane Wilson photo album