History

1961 D. Allan Bromley initiates design of the first MP (Emperor) tandem electrostatic accelerator.
1962 Yale submits a proposal for construction of Emperor accelerator to Atomic energy Commission: Construction contract signed with High Voltage Engineering, Dec. 27, 1962.
1964-66 A. W. Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory and the first MP tandem accelerator at Yale were constructed. Dedication October 5, 1966.
1965-67 Joint Study program involving Wright Laboratory at Yale and T.J. Watson Laboratory of IBM results in state-of-the-art data acquisition and control system at Wright Laboratory.
1974 The performance of MP tandem accelerator was upgraded through installation of new stainless steel acceleration tubes.
1978 A proposal for conversion of Yale MP tandem accelerator to STU status was submitted to Department of Energy.
1982 DOE approves MP-ESTU conversion on July, 1982.
1985 Research activity with MP tandem accelerator was terminated May 29, 1985 and conversion program was initiated.
1987 Terminal potential of 22.4 million volts was reached on July 4, 1987. Dedication of ESTU-1 accelerator facility, August 7, 1987.
2011 Operation of the ESTU tandem ends.
2013 Decommissioning of the ESTU and associated equipment begins. The Wright Lab’s new Director, Karsten Heeger, begins renovations of the facility as well as a new research program in neutrinoless double beta decay and on precision studies of neutrino oscillation with reactor antineutrinos.

A.W. Wright

Arthur Williams Wright, for whom the Nuclear Structure Laboratory is named, held the first Ph.D. in science awarded in the New World. His doctoral dissertation–on satellite mechanics–was one of three, in different fields, accepted by Yale University for the degree in 1861.

Dr. Wright was born in 1836 in Lebanon, Connecticut and entered Yale after preparation at Bacon Academy in Colchester and at a private school in Canterbury. He received his B.A. degree in 1859. Both as an undergraduate and graduate student he studied mathematics, mineralogy, botany and modern languages in addition to physics. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar.

From 1863 to 1868 he was a member of the Yale faculty, teaching first Latin and then Physics in the Scientific School. This was followed by postgraduate study at Heidelberg and Berlin and a brief period as Professor of Physics and Chemistry at Williams College before his return to the Yale faculty in 1872 as Professor of Molecular Physics and Chemistry. He held this professorship, later changed to that of Experimental Physics, until his retirement in 1906. Yale’s original Sloane Physics Laboratory was built after his plans and under his direction.

Dr. Wright pioneered in many different areas of research in physics and astronomy. He developed the glow discharge preparation of reflecting optics and used these extensively in the first studies of polarization of the solar corona. He first discovered the occurrence of gases in stony meteorites and subjected them to extensive chemical and spectroscopic investigation. Immediately following the discovery of X-radiation, he was the first American to produce and the first to utilize this radiation in his analytic studies.

Dr. Wright was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He became Professor Emeritus at Yale in 1906 and died, in New Haven, in 1915.