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ORAU History - 1948

On June 28, 1948, the Board authorized a contest to obtain an emblem or seal for the ORINS corporation. More than 50 logo designs were submitted from art classes at member universities. The winner, Myron Hawkins, an AEC engineer from Berkeley, Calif., won the $25 prize.

In February of 1948, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) asked the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (ORINS) to assume primary responsibility for initiation of a clinical research program to study the use of radioactive materials in treating and diagnosing diseases. Twenty southern medical schools met to discuss the program, and approved the establishment of the ORINS Medical Division. Dr. Marshall Brucer, of the University of Texas Department of Physiology, assumed the position of division chairman on Dec. 30, 1948.

In March of 1948, the Board instituted a Science Research Awards program to honor outstanding research in the basic sciences from faculty or staff at member universities. The first three winners of the $500 awards were Dr. Alfred Brauer, University of North Carolina; Dr. Walter Gordy, Duke University; and Dr. Allan Gwathmey, University of Virginia.

The Special Training Division was organized in 1948 to provide training to professional personnel in the use of radioactive isotopes, which had become available in quantity during the postwar period. On March 13, 1948, Dr. Ralph Overman was named Acting Head of the new division. ORINS conducted the first of its courses during the summer of 1948 in three, four-week sessions.

Today, ORAU continues this mission and offers specialized health physics training with courses in Applied Health Physics, Environmental Monitoring, Gamma Spectroscopy, and Radiation Safety Officer Training.

On May 3, 1948, the first graduate fellow, Leighton A. Nutting, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, reported to the Biology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to begin thesis research as part of ORINS’ Graduate Training Program, designed to open the doors of the national laboratory to graduate students. This program was renamed the Oak Ridge Graduate Program in 1950. ORNL remains a strong partner with ORAU even today, and each year hosts close to 900 participants in specialized education programs at the lab.

The Oak Ridge Research Participation Program, which was conducted informally in 1947, was initiated in 1948. This program enabled university faculty members to conduct research at ORNL. In the summer of 1948, nine member universities were represented at ORNL through the program.

By 1950, the Research Participation Program had 77 research participants coming to Oak Ridge. In recent years, ORAU has helped facilitate the placement of more than 1,000 university faculty members into collaborative projects with ORNL researchers each year.

(from left) H.M. Roth of the Atomic Energy Commission, William G. Pollard of ORINS, and John C. Franklin of the AEC sign ORINS’ first long-term contract with the AEC on May 24, 1948.