ABSTRACT

The University of California had at its UC Berkeley campus an insuperable advantage over other institutions in the person of E. O. Lawrence and in the makings for the world's largest particle accelerator. The university's policy from the beginning of the postwar era was to encourage basic research intended to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and to eschew, insofar as possible, applied or developmental work. Atomic physics was far and away the most exciting scientific field in the postwar era, and Berkeley was the indisputable leader. The initial advantage in nuclear physics, the relative abundance of resources during the postwar era, and the consistent academic leadership of Sproul and then Kerr, backed by the Berkeley faculty—all provided an incomparable base for Berkeley's rise to preeminence in the post-Sputnik years. Leading Yale in the postwar era meant striving for academic eminence and serving the crucial alumni/undergraduate constituency.