“Tantalus” synchrotron radiation source records (1940-1995) :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
About Us

Oral & video history documentation

The Lemelson Center's oral and video history projects increase historical documentation on invention and innovation in the United States.
Above: Guitarist G.E. Smith is featured in the Electric Guitar Video Documentation Project. Smithsonian photo by Jeff Tinsley.

Full descriptions of the following collections may be found by searching the archives and manuscripts section of SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Unless otherwise noted, all collections are housed in the NMAH Archives Center. For further information, contact the Archives Center Reference Desk.

Oral & video history documentation is listed in alphabetical order by subject of interview. Date of interview is in parentheses.


“Tantalus” synchrotron radiation source records (1940-1995)

At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, from 1965-1967, a team led by particle physicist Ednor Rowe began constructing a machine designed to analyze high-energy particle accelerators. But as the apparatus came tantalizingly close to completion, the project lost its funding, which led the scientists to nickname their machine "Tantalus." Tantalus was the first dedicated synchrotron radiation laboratory and source. In addition to oral and video history interviews, this collection contains notebooks, manuals, and other data and operational logbooks documenting the creation, building, and maintenance of Tantalus, and the experiments performed on the machine. Part of the Tantalus ring is in the Museum’s Division of Information, Technology, and Society collections.

3.5 cu. ft.: 11 boxes containing notebooks, manuals, data and operational logbooks, photographs, maser beam schedule sheets, storage ring blueprints, and oral and video histories. Series 5 includes interviews with Ednor Rowe, Fred Brown, Cliff Olson, Charles Pruett, and Roger Otte. Go to Tantalus collection finding aid.

See related article »

:: Home :: About Us :: Centerpieces :: Events :: Resources :: Video & Audio ::
:: Press Room :: Blog :: Newsletter :: Site Map :: Facebook :: Flickr :: Twitter ::