Skip Navigation

ORAU History - 1956

In June of 1956, the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies’ (ORINS) Traveling Science Demonstration Lecture Program was initiated. Following a three-month period of training and preparation in Oak Ridge, the seven secondary school teachers spent the 1956-57 academic year visiting 197 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each teacher spent a week at a school, presenting lecture demonstrations to science classes and exchanging ideas on how to improve science education. Ford Motor Company furnished the vehicles, and Gulf Oil provided the motor fuel.

On Oct. 15, 1956, at ORINS’ 10th anniversary celebration, S.R. Sapirie, manager of the AEC’s Oak Ridge Operations, congratulated Paul M. Gross (far right), ORINS president, on the Institute’s purchase of a 38-acre tract of land that would soon house the organization's permanent headquarters. Looking on are (from left) Frank Graham, first president of ORINS; Marten Hoor, chairman of the ORINS council; William Pollard, executive director of ORINS; and H.M. Roth, director of the AEC Research and Development Division.

In the fall of 1956, the Southern Regional Accelerator Committee formed to support the construction of a proton accelerator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

On Oct.r 15, 1956, ORINS celebrated its 10th anniversary by receiving from the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) the deed for 38 acres of land on which the organization’s permanent headquarters were built. Today, this land houses the organization's Central Administration Building, Energy Building, and Pollard Technology Conference Center. The Doubletree Hotel and Enrichment Federal Credit Union are also located on the original ORINS property.

In November of 1956, the University Relations Division (now known as the University Partnerships Office) initiated, at the request of the AEC, a program to provide high school and college student groups with tours of the American Museum of Atomic Energy and of four unclassified areas of ORNL. The first tour was conducted on Saturday, Jan. 5, 1957, for 200 students.

ORINS and ORNL established a program to make available to university research personnel access to computing on ORACLE, Oak Ridge Automatic Computer & Logical Engine, the high-speed electronic digital computer.

In February of 1956, the AEC announced significant expansion of the Museum Division traveling exhibits program as part of President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. Plans began for developing three 7,000-square-foot exhibits, five smaller walk-through exhibits, and a special booth-type exhibit. These exhibits—all embodying the theme of “Atoms for Peace”—were established to travel to state fairs, conventions, etc.

The AEC made traveling atomic-energy exhibits offered to qualified exhibitors free of transportation, rental, and personnel fees.