Mailed 11/24/98

Contact: Diane Greenberg, (516) 344-2347
or Mona S. Rowe, (516) 344-5056




Upton, NY - Robert P. Crease, Brookhaven National Laboratory's historian, will give a lecture titled "Breakdown at Brookhaven National Laboratory: The Events of 1997," at the Lab's Berkner Hall on Wednesday, December 16, at 4 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In his talk, Dr. Crease will review the events that made 1997 the Laboratory's most tumultuous year. Dr. Crease believes the story of Brookhaven Lab's fateful year embodies important lessons about the connection between science and society.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Lab's founding was celebrated in 1997. Other, more dramatic events included the announcement of a leak of tritium-containing water from the spent fuel pool of the Laboratory's High Flux Beam Reactor, the resignation of BNL's director, the U.S. Department of Energy's cancellation of the contract to manage Brookhaven Lab, and the selection of a new manager.

Dr. Crease will review these events, their intense coverage by the media, and their impact on the Lab. In addition, he will discuss the forefront research programs that continued to flourish at Brookhaven and the important scientific discoveries that were made at the Lab during that momentous year.

With a Ph.D. from Columbia University, Crease joined the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1987, and, in 1989, began working part-time as Brookhaven Lab's historian. He is currently an associate professor and director of the graduate program in philosophy at
SUNY Stony Brook.

Dr. Crease is the author of the book Making Physics: A Biography of Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1946-1972, which is due to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 1999. Other books that Crease has authored or co-authored include Peace and War: Reflections on a Life at the Frontiers of Science, with the late theoretical physicist Robert Serber; The Play of Nature: Experimentation as Performance, and The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics, with Charles C. Mann. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the American National Biography, and he is a former contributing correspondent for the magazine Science.

For more information about the lecture, call Brookhaven's Public Affairs Office at (516) 344-2345. The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway.