Skip Navigation

ORAU History - 1970

In February of 1970, Paul Gross retired as president of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a position he had held since 1949. Succeeding him was William Davis, a chemistry professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Davis had come to Oak Ridge earlier in his career under ORAU’s faculty research participation program (now a part of Science Education and Workforce Development Programs).

Hymn to Life

The mural “Hymn to Life” was commissioned in 1970 in honor of the patients treated by the staff of the Medical Division. Patients, their relatives, and friends of the division collected the funds for the mural, which was designed and created by Oak Ridge artist Charles Counts. The 12-foot-tall mural, which today can be found in the lobby of the Pollard Technology Conference Center on the ORAU main campus, consists of thousands of one-inch pieces of handmade ceramic tile.

The initial 1969 engineering workshop for historically black institutions was expanded greatly for the second workshop held in the summer of 1970. Representatives from 93 black institutions—from two-year and community colleges to graduate and professional schools—were invited to Oak Ridge. The 1969 and 1970 workshops cost less than $150,000 to administer and resulted in the participating institutions finding financial assistance in excess of $1.1 million.

In June of 1970, representatives of 12 ORAU-member medical schools met in Oak Ridge to form plans for a Cooperative Group to Study Tumor-Localizing Radioindicators, based on the discovery of gallium-67 localization in soft-tissue tumors. The group was sponsored by ORAU with joint support from the National Cancer Institute and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

The University Isotope Separator at Oak Ridge (UNISOR), established to further fundamental research on nuclear structure, was formally organized in July of 1970 by ORAU and 11 universities, 8 of which were ORAU member institutions, in cooperation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). This was believed to be the first time a group of public and private universities and state government proposed to buy and provide support for a major piece of experimental equipment for installation at an AEC lab. The establishment of UNISOR involved the addition of an on-line electromagnetic isotope separator to the Oak Ridge Isochronous Cyclotron.

The first environmental assessment course was offered by the Special Training Division (now referred to as Radiation Sciences Training) in August of 1970. Through field, laboratory, and classroom experience, 23 participants were introduced to analytical techniques for monitoring, measuring, and evaluating air and water quality.

ORAU and Tufts University teamed together in the fall of 1970 and winter of 1971 to offer the first tutorial conferences for women students and community leaders. Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, these conferences were organized around the theme of “Science, Society, and Our World.” The two-week sessions addressed the interrelationship of science and contemporary society and were designed to help those women without scientific backgrounds to understand problems resulting from scientific and technologic development.

As a result of an initiative to update training capabilities, the Special Training Division acquired a small-scale time-sharing computer for use in computer-assisted instruction. The computer was placed into service in April 1970 along with eight remote terminals.

In 1970, ORAU began offering special courses in radiation protection for state radiation control officers. The need for such courses arose because the AEC began to transfer to the states the responsibility for licensing and regulating the users of radioactive materials. The courses, which included field exercises, addressed fundamental health physics principles and applied aspects of radiation control.