I could never remember whether it was fission or fusion that my father was working on. His engineering division at Kodak was lent out to the UR Laboratory for Laser Energetics in the mid seventies and one of his first projects was designing the mural pictured in the photo above. He was responsible for painting it too and he enlisted help from my brother’s and sisters and their friends. The room was empty at the time. Peggi and I pitched in and I remember Duane Sherwood up on a ladder with a bucket of blue paint. My father hired Refrigerator artist, Chris Schepp to create a large, air-brushed illustration of the UR laser process.
My father met Moshe Lubin there, the founding director, and would continue to work freelance for him into the nineties. Lubin started his own company, Hampshire Instruments, in the old Stromberg Carlson building (where Radio Social is now.) Every year my father and I worked on a slideshow for Hampshire, a crazy high pressure, last minute affair as Hampshire did battle to win the X-Ray lithography race to etch semiconductors. The business eventually failed and Lubin was said to have committed suicide. Before my father passed he sent me links to online speculation that Lubin was murdered so someone could make off with the technology.
My father loved his work at UR and took another off campus job at Los Alamos Laboratory in the early eighties, still officially working for Kodak. He had to wear a badge there, one that would light up if he exceeded his maximum dose of radiation exposure. Peggi, Steve Hoy and I drove out to visit my parents in New Mexico while my father was working at the famous lab, the one where the world’s first nuclear explosion occurred in 1945.
These projects that my father was involved with were fusion related, the cleaner (no nuclear waste) of the two f words. Leo would have been so happy with the recent news. Although clean energy from fusion is a long way off they finally were able to generate a greater amount of energy than they put in.Leave a comment