The Brookhaven Chemistry Building

The photograph above is a picture taken during the construction of the main building occupied by the Chemistry Department, BNL Building 555. Between the founding of the Laboratory and 1966, before Building 555 opened, the Chemistry Department (and other scientific Departments as well) were housed in Camp Upton wooden "temporary" buildings left over from World War II (and prior). Conditions were primitive, at best. The Chemistry Department exerted considerable pressure for a "permanent" building, and the Laboratory pushed back. The ultimately successful quest for a new building led to a building so impressive that Robert Crease, in his history of Brookhaven National Laboratory relates that it was described as "The Palazzo". Jacob Bigeleisen was the chairman of the Building Committee during the planning and construction. He was asked to describe his experience in 1998 by the then-chair of the Chemistry Department, Carol Creutz. The following link leads to  the letter he wrote in response.

J. Bigeleisen to C. Creutz, 1998

   Building 555 opened with much fanfare during 1966. A formal dedication took place on October 14, 1966. The chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg,  previously a member of the Department's Visiting committee, gave the keynote speech. It is a window into the research conducted in the Chemistry Department from its beginning until 1966.

Remarks by Glenn T. Seaborg
Dedication of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Chemistry Building
October 14, 1966

As Chairman of the Building Committee, Dr. Bigeleisen delivered some remarks:

Remarks by Jacob Bigeleisen
Dedication of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Chemistry Building
October 14, 1966

   The Chemistry Department was justifiably proud of its new building, and published a Guide to the Chemistry Building describing the edifice and how it was to be treated. In view of the more recent regulatory climate, some of the guidelines seem almost quaint.

Guide to the Chemistry Building

Top of Page

Last Modified: June 28, 2012