AN ATOMIC CENTER IN EUROPE IS URGED
Prof. Rabi of U. S. at Unesco Parley Asks Setting Up of Nuclear Laboratory
FLORENCE, Italy, June 7—The establishment of a nuclear physics laboratory, complete with cyclotron, in Western Europe was proposed today to members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization by Prof. Isidor I. Rabi, United States representative.
The United States Nobel prize winner suggested the nuclear science
center as the first of several pure research laboratories to which
Unesco could give an initial push leaving financing and operation to
the joint action of the states that would take part in regional
enterprise. Provisionally, Unesco's program committee gave its
blessings to the recommendation, which without mentioning the physics
center as a pilot operation, simple called for the creation of regional
laboratories to promote “international collaboration of scientists.”
The idea of starting with a. nuclear project, however, was quickly taken up by Britain. Prof. George Thomson, British physicist. Proposed, moreover, that the cost of construction be met by counterpart funds available in the Marshal Plan countries of Western Europe. Warm support came also from Italy, Switzerland, Brazil and the Netherlands.
The immediate reaction of some delegates was that, ideally, such a
center should be set up in Switzerland and that its cost should be
equivalent to more than $3,000,000.
In submitting his suggestion Professor Rabi told the conference he had in mind the “construction of a large instrument at a suitable place on the continent of Europe of the kind which is being built in many parts of the United States and Britain.” He elaborated on this after the session, saying he referred to a cyclotron of the type in several American universities, including Columbia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell.
Professor Rabi assured the conference the project would have the support of Belgian, Dutch, West German, French, Italian and Swiss scientists and added that he had already discussed the idea with many of them.
From the point of view of simplicity, he said, Europe is the best
place to begin since it is the cradle of science, while its experts now
are without facilities.
“If such an initial project were to succeed, its organization would be an impetus and model for other projects of this type in other fields." Professor Rabi said. “It would also be a great victory for Unesco if it were able to show a visible and tangible result of its efforts as a catalytic agent in obtaining the practical collaboration of scientists from various countries in the region.”
He said he envisaged a modest beginning for Unesco with a sum of about $5,000 to cover the cost of selecting the site and taking construction estimates. Unesco, he emphasized, should not contribute to the building or maintenance out of its regular budget.
- Today in Science History event descriptions for 12 Dec 1949, 7 Jun 1950, 17 May 1954, 29 Sep 1954.
- An Atom Institute Urged for Europe from New York Times,13 Dec 1949.