Jacob Bigeleisen on the Chemistry Building
Part 2/6

   Dodson and I arranged for a visit with Haworth. We expressed our concern about Tucker's document and his procedure. We arranged for Haworth and Tucker to visit the old chemistry building. Haworth complimented me on the way I had organized and orchestrated the visit. The order was out. Do not tidy up too much. After the visit Haworth agreed to move us from spot 10 to spot 3. Spot 1 went to Physics; spot 2 went to something related to accelerators. After we were placed in position 3, I told Haworth we could not wait for the construction of a new building, which would take a minimum of five years. We needed space now. Haworth brought in his deputy, Dr. Gerald F. Tape, and worked out a plan whereby we could make "modifications" to existing structures at a cost of $99.999.00 without AEC approval. That year we moved the old morgue building from the old Medical Center to the street across from the chemistry building, gutted it, put on a new roof and outside siding and built laboratories and offices. That building was occupied by Oliver Schaeffer and someone else. The next year we renovated a second shack and equipped laboratory space for Radiation Chemistry and Mass Spectrometry. Of course the Van de Graaff accelerator stayed in its old shielded location.

   At our meeting with Haworth and Tape I asked about the process of requesting funds, planning and design of a new building. Haworth told us that planning of the Physics Building was practically complete. It was his desire to have the permanent Chemistry Building adjacent to Physics. We were to share the seminar room and build intellectual bridges between the two disciplines. The Chairman of the Physics Building Committee was Dr. G. Norris Glasoe. I was asked to cooperate with Glasoe in the planning. Glasoe did not believe in consultation and he did most of the planning of the Physics Building with little input from members of the Department. He took the same approach to our relationship. He had his views about the seminar room and this was and is the way it was designed and built. After study of the Physics plan, I met with Haworth and told him that the site selected for Chemistry was flawed. There would not be enough room for expansion for the Physics Department and the Chemistry Department would be constrained (see the siting plan of July 1959. This came as a complete disappointment to Haworth, who saw the merits of my argument). The work on the Physics Building was underway. I also pointed out to Haworth that the way the Laboratory went about planning was a disaster. He called in Tape to join in the discussion. I pointed out that BNL architectural planning, reporting to Tucker, prepared a proposal to AEC, with a justification of need, a schedule of spaces and facilities, a conceptual design of the building and a cost estimate. Eventually all of this ended up in the Congressional Authorization. You were fixed. You had to build the amount of space requested within the budget. No space could be left unfinished for future development. If there was money left over, it reverted to the U.S. Treasury. For additional money. you had to seek Congressional appropriation.

 

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Last Modified: June 28, 2012