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ORAU History - 1969

The Atomic Industrial Forum’s 1969 “Forum Award” for significant contributions to public understanding of atomic energy was presented to ORAU in recognition of the “This Atomic World” traveling lecture-demonstration program for high schools. ORAU was cited for “entertainingly informing millions of high school students each year about the development of atomic energy.”

In February 1969, the Training and Technology (TAT) Program began a satellite project in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission’s National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. TAT provided job training for 24 disadvantaged Chicago African-Americans who would return to jobs at the lab. Twenty-one of the 24 completed the training and began work in late summer 1969.

A week-long celebration in March 1969 marked the 20th anniversary of the American Museum of Atomic Energy—Oak Ridge Hall of Science. On April 10, 1969, Mrs. Anthony Ondrik of Kokomo, Ind., became the museum’s two millionth visitor. She was accompanied by her husband, two sons, and the family’s American Field Service exchange student from Germany.

On July 1, 1969, the Special Training Division (now referred to as Radiation Sciences Training) began operating its first full-year institute for physical sciences teachers from developing and disadvantaged two- and four-year colleges. Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) staff provided the instruction, and participants received graduate credit toward a master’s in education at the University of Tennessee. Thesis research was conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in physics, chemistry, or biology. The institute emphasized effective, imaginative teaching methods that the participants could take into their own classrooms.

In August 1969, ORAU’s Engineering Education Committee hosted a four-week workshop involving the six historically black universities that offered undergraduate degrees in engineering: Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M College, Southern University, Tennessee State University, and Tuskegee Institute. The goal of the workshop was to educate these institutions on the benefit of funding provided by the AEC, its contractors, and other federal agencies. Presentations addressed education and training programs as well as research and development activities.

Photo, right: ORAU was represented at the 1969 National Boy Scout Jamboree by one of its teacher-demonstrators, who developed active nuclear education programs in schools and for other groups in the cities visited with the traveling exhibits. ORAU’s teacher-demonstrators were very active with Boy Scout programs nationwide, helping the scouts to fulfill the requirements for the Merit Badge in Atomic Energy.

In the fall of 1969, the AEC’s “Atoms in Action” program went to Sao Paulo, Brazil. As with past Latin American appearances, ORAU contributed to both the public portion of the exhibit as well as the training of foreign nationals in radioisotope techniques, including the medical and research applications. Six courses were conducted for more than 250 Brazilian professors and university science students by Special Training Division staff, who prepared themselves to teach in Portuguese.

On Nov. 23, 1969, more than 4,300 visitors—an attendance record for a single day—came to the American Museum of Atomic Energy (later renamed the American Museum of Science and Energy)—Oak Ridge Hall of Science to view the first Oak Ridge showing of a moon sample returned to earth from the Apollo 11 mission. Other Apollo program features included the “rock box” and other hardware for lunar-landing mission designed and fabricated at ORNL and the AEC’s Y-12 Plant.

In December of 1969, ORAU staff participated in an AEC-sponsored seminar on Medical Planning and Care in Radiation Accidents. Staff members demonstrated to the participating physicians the principles of basic nuclear science and health physics, as well as manned stations that illustrated aspects related to the handling of radiation accidents.

Through the university-AEC laboratory programs, ORAU began an increased effort to recruit black students. During the summer of 1969, the first of these students—from Miles College, Stillman College, and Tuskegee Institute—worked in the AEC laboratories in Oak Ridge as summer student trainees, carrying out a research project under the guidance of a laboratory scientist.

In 1969, staff from the Medical Division began connecting their research instruments to a central IBM 1800 on-line computer, allowing research data to be transmitted directly from the instruments to the computer. This resulted in a significant time savings in recording and calculating data.