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Archives, History & Records Office

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


Archives E-mail: slacarc[@]
RM E-mail: recordsmgt[@]
Phone: (650)926-3091
Post: SLAC Archives and History Office, M/S 82, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Office Location: Bldg.50, Rm.122

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A story from Herman Winick

I came to Stanford, not SLAC, in 1973 with a two-year contract to take charge of the technical design, construction, and commissioning of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP), a parasitic activity undertaken to exploit the radiation emitted when SPEAR operated for high energy physics research. SSRP was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore whether synchrotron radiation from a multi-GeV storage ring would be useful scientifically. Since this had never been tried, it was considered a risky venture, and NSF limited its commitment to two years and $1.2M. Having spent 14 years as an accelerator physicist at the Cambridge Electron Accelerator laboratory at Harvard University, I wrote to Pief asking if SLAC would take me on if SSRP was not successful. Pief's response, included below, was masterful in its encouragement for me to come to Stanford, without making a real commitment by SLAC. The warmth that came through in this letter helped me make the decision to come. Shortly after I arrived, Pief invited me and my wife, Renee, to his home and to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with him and Adele. This led to a growing relationship, strengthened when we both began activities relating to the Middle East; Pief's involvement with arms control issues and my involvement with the SESAME Project (, which is building a synchrotron radiation facility in the Middle East. I benefited greatly from Pief's insights and advice in our many discussions in his office up to his last week at SLAC. I regarded him as a friend and a Stanford, SLAC, and national treasure.

... Response from Pief ...

June 7, 1973 ...
I am glad to hear through Sebastian Doniach and from you directly that you are now considering the offer to join SSRP, extended by Professor Doniach, most seriously. This letter is to indicate SLAC's intent to offer you a position similar to the one offered to you at SSRP, should the SSRP contract terminate. Naturally such an offer on our part cannot be binding since financial support of SSRP is now assured for about two years and continuing extensions are anticipated; therefore the financial situation at SLAC is difficult to predict at the time at which this "backup" offer might become relevant. Therefore I can only assure you of our "best efforts" to secure such a suitable position of equivalent duties and salary as you are now being offered at SSRP. I hope, however, that this letter will help you make a favorable decision towards joining SSRP, and it certifies to the high opinion which everyone at SLAC has as to the important contributions you can make, both to SSRP and SLAC.

With best personal regards,
W. K. H. Panofsky


- Herman Winick

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Last Updated: 03/29/2022