Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Szilard / Novick Research Files,
Date (inclusive): 1948 - 1969
0.40 linear feet
(1 archive box)
Abstract: Laboratory notebooks (1948-1953) of Leo Szilard and Aaron Novick. Szilard, a nuclear physicist, biologist and advocate of
global arms control, held an appointment (1948-1955) as a professor of biophysics at the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics,
University of Chicago, and, with Aaron Novick, he studied bacteria using a device called the chemostat. The materials also
include correspondence (1948-1964) between Szilard and Novick and photographs. The collection is arranged in three series:
1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS and 3) PHOTOGRAPHS.
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0196
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Szilard / Novick Research Files, MSS 0196. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Leo Szilard held a halftime appointment (1948-1952) as professor of biophysics at the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics,
University of Chicago. Aaron Novick participated in the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago (1943-1946) and later
worked as an assistant professor of biophysics (1948-1955) at the Institute. Together they studied bacterial and viral populations
under controlled physical and chemical conditions using a device called the chemostat. Novick was interested in the study
of mutations and adaptive enzyme formation.
Between November 1949 and June 1950, Szilard arranged a series of meetings of researchers in the Midwest to present research
on the genetics and physiology of bacteria and viruses. The participants included S. E. Luria, Joshua Lederberg, A. D. Hershey,
S. Spiegelman, and James Watson. The meetings focused on pioneering research which formed the basis of early molecular biology.
In 1954 the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics was dissolved and a joint department of Biophysics and Biochemistry was
established. During the reorganization process, Szilard took a leave of absence and accepted a visiting professorship at
Brandeis University. Novick left for the Biological Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, and later he accepted a position at
the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Novick and Szilard continued to correspond until
Szilard's death in 1964.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Szilard / Novick Research Files document experiments on bacterial populations performed jointly by Leo Szilard and Aaron
Novick at the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics, University of Chicago. The materials are arranged in three series: 1)
CORRESPONDENCE, 2) LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS and 3) PHOTOGRAPHS.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters (1948-1964) between Szilard and Novick about the results of experiments using the
chemostat, the reorganization of the Institute of Radiology and Biophysics, patents, research projects, and Szilard's interest
in nuclear arms control. In addition, there are occasional letters about Szilard and enclosures of Szilard's writings and
reports filed with the correspondence. The materials are arranged chronologically.
The CORRESPONDENCE series also documents a series of meetings (1949-1950) Szilard arranged in the Chicago area to present
and discuss research on the genetics and physiology of bacteria and viruses. Meeting participants included S. E. Luria, Joshua
Lederberg, S. Spiegelman, A. D. Hershey, and James Watson. Novick coordinated travel arrangements and administrative housekeeping
for the meetings. The materials are arranged chronologically.
SERIES 2: LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS
The LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS series contains seven bound notebooks (1948-1953) for experiments on bacterial populations using
SERIES 3: PHOTOGRAPHS
The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains images of the chemostat and a program from the Lactose Operon Meeting with Szilard's photograph
on the cover.
The Leo Szilard Papers are held by the Mandeville Special Collections Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Szilard, Leo -- Archives
Novick, Aaron -- Archives
University of Chicago. -- Institute of Radiology and Biophysics
Bacteria -- Morphology
Bacteria -- Reproduction
Bacteria -- Research -- History
Bacteria -- Physiology
Viruses -- Morphology
Viruses -- Reproduction
Viruses -- Research -- History
Viruses -- Physiology
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Biochemistry -- Instruments
Microbiology -- Instruments
Novick, Aaron, -- correspondent
Szilard, Leo, -- correspondent