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Archives & History Office

Hours: By appointment Monday-Friday during regular work hours.


  • E-mail: slacarc[@]
  • Phone: (650)926-3091
  • Post: SLAC Archives and History Office, M/S 97, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Office Location: Bldg.50, Rm.370

Histories of SLAC

The idea for a two-mile linear accelerator at Stanford University was conceived in 1956, proposed in 1957, and authorized by Congress in 1961. Initially called "Project M," the venture was renamed "The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center" (SLAC) in August of 1960, and again renamed " SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory" in October 2008. The initial contract between Stanford University and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission was signed on April 30, 1962: construction began the following July and was completed February 10, 1966. SLAC's official dedication occurred on September 9, 1967.

Publications are listed in reverse chronological order (i.e. newest listed first).

Note: Some links on this page open pdf files, which require the free Acrobat Reader.

The Parasites: Synchrotron Radiation at SLAC, 1972-1992. Olof Hallonsten, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, V 45 N 2, 2015 The Parasites
The Physics of the B Factories. Ed. A.J. Bevan, B. Golob, Th. Mannel, S. Prell, and B.D. Yabsley, submitted to EPJC, SLAC-PUB-15968, KEK Preprint 2014-3 Physics of the B Factories
LCLS early history: Groundbreaking Science with the World’s Brightest X-Rays . Also, William H. Goldstein, LLNL Associate Director for Physical and Life Sciences, Commentary: World’s Most Intense X-Ray Laser Focuses on Livermore Science . Science & Technology Review, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, January/February 2011 Groundbreaking Science
Hallonsten, Olof. Small science on big machines: Politics and practices of synchrotron radiation laboratories. Lund: Lund Studies in Research Policy 1, Research Policy Institute, Lund, 2009. (Esp. Chapter 4: Synchrotron radiation at Stanford -- from parasitic to symbiotic and back. 109-154) Small science on big machines
Hodgson, Keith. Photon Science at SLAC--What, Why and Where To? SLAC Today, April 4, 2008 Photon Science at SLAC
Panofsky, Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky on Physics, Politics and Peace: Pief Remembers. New York: Springer, 2007. Panofsky on 
Loew, Gregory. "We have accelerated electrons” The history of our beginnings at Stanford . Presentation at Celebration of Sixty Years of Accelerated Electrons at Stanford and in the UK. Wednesday, 23 May 2007 (video: requires player to view) View video
Deken, Jean Marie. The SLAC Blue Book: A Brief History, March 2007. (The Blue Book is the common name of the 1968 volume, The Stanford Two Mile Accelerator) The SLAC Blue Book Dust Jacket
Etchemendy, John. Illuminating the Possible. (Remarks made at the October 20, 2006 groundbreaking of the LCLS). Stanford Historical Society, Sandstone and Tile Volume 31, no 1 (Winter 2006-2007) p. 14-16. Illuminating the Possible
Cottrell, Les. Bringing the Internet to China. Symmetry: Dimensions of Particle Physics, Volume 2 Issue 9 November 2005. Symmetry Volume 2 No. 9 November 2005
Bienenstock, Arthur. Initiatives and Think Tanks. (Stanford University: Interactions, Fall Issue, 2005, page 8) Interaction Issue 1 Fall 2005 (Multidisciplinary News: Stanford News Service)
Deken, Jean Marie. Gallery: Early Linacs. Symmetry: Dimensions of Particle Physics, Volume 2 Issue 6 August 2005 Symmetry Volume 2 No. 6 August 2005
Stevens, Hallam. Fundamental physics and its justifications, 1945-1993 Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences. Sept. 2003, Vol. 34, No. 1: 151-197. Copyright University of California Press.
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Celebrating 40 Years: A Photo History. Jean Marie Deken, Senior Editor. SLAC, 2002 (SLAC-R-605). Celebrating 40 Years..
Moulton, Robert. Physics, Power and Politics--Fear and Loathing on the Electron Trail: An Eyewitness Account of the Campaign for Congressional Approval of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1959-1961Stanford Historical Society, Sandstone and Tile Volume 25, no 1 (Winter 2001) p. 3-13. Physics, Power and Politics
Doniach, Sebastian and K. Hodgson, I. Lindau, P. Pianetta, H. Winick. Early Work with Synchrotron Radiation at Stanford. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (1997) 4, 380-395. Note: This article is from a Special Issue of Journal of Synchrotron Radiation that marked the 50th anniversary of the first observation of synchrotron radiation light. Early Work with Synchrotron
Butcher, Bernard. "The Making of Project M," Stanford Magazine (May/June 1997). The Making of Project M
Zuoyue Wang. "The Politics of Big Science in the Cold War: PSAC [President's Science Advisory Committee] and the Funding of SLAC [Stanford Linear Accelerator Center]." Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 25, pt. 2 (1995): 329-356. Copyright University of California Press.  
Jenkins, T.M. and McCall, R.C.. History of SLAC health physics. 1995. In Patterson, H.W. (ed.), Thomas, R.H. (ed.): The history of accelerator radiological protection, p. 185-206.  

Nilan, Roxanne. "Listening to Physics: The Use of Oral History in Documenting Modern Science", Sandstone & Tile, 14:3 (Summer 1990,) pp. 8-12.
Panofsky, W. K. H. Big Physics and Small Physics at Stanford. Stanford Historical Society, Sandstone and Tile Volume 14, no. 3 (Summer 1990) p. 1-10. Big Physics and Small
Riordan, Michael. The Hunting of the Quark: A True Story of Modern Physics. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1987. 399pp. (Copy available in the SLAC library)  
Rees, John. Colliding Beam Storage Rings: A Brief History. SLAC Beam Line Special Issue Number 9, March 1986. Colliding Beam Storage Rings
Richter, Burton. An Informal History of SLAC Part Three: Colliding Beams at Stanford. SLAC Beam Line Special Issue Number 7, November 1984. Informal History, Part 3
Ash, W. W. and H.A. Weidner. Stanford Linear Accelerator Center: A National Historic Engineering Landmark, Designated 1984, Stanford, California. (Sections include Engineering the Subatomic Machines, The Two-Mile Accelerator, Magnetic Spectrometers, Colliding-Beam Machines, and SLAC-A Brief History) SLAC: A National Historic Engineering Landmark
Panofsky, W. K. H. An Informal History of SLAC Part Two: The Evolution of SLAC and Its Program. SLAC Beam Line Special Issue Number 3, May 1983. Informal History, Part 2
Ginzton, Edward L. An Informal History of SLAC Part One: Early Accelerator Work at Stanford. SLAC Beam Line Special Issue Number 2, April 1983 Informal History, Part 1
Allen, Peter C. Deeper and Deeper into the Atom. Stanford Historical Society, Sandstone and Tile Volume 4, no. 2 (Winter 1980) p. 2-8. Deeper and Deeper into the Atom
Forman, Paul. Atom Smashers: Fifty Years Preview of An Exhibit on the History of High Energy Accelerators. Curator of Modern Physics, The National Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution. (IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol NS-24, No. 3, June 1977, p. 1896-1899) Atom
Neal, Richard B. Editor. The Stanford Two Mile Accelerator. New York: W. A. Benjamin, 1968. 1169pp. The SLAC Blue Book
[Kirk, William] An Informal History of SLAC. SLAC, [1967-1968] (26-page black and white illustrated booklet)An Informal History of SLAC
Dupen, Douglas W. The Story of Stanford's 2-Mile Long Accelerator. SLAC-R-062, May 1966. 118pp. Dupen: 1966

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Last Updated: 04/15/2015