Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Szilard / Novick Research Files
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 196
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material:
0.4 Linear feet
(1 archives box)
Date (inclusive): 1948 - 1969
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.
For more information on Leo Szilard, please see MSS 32, the Leo Szilard Papers, in Special Collections & Archives, UC San
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.
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
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Szilard / Novick Research Files, MSS 196. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
University of Chicago. Institute of Radiology and Biophysics.
Microbiology -- Instruments
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Viruses -- Morphology
Viruses -- Physiology
Viruses -- Reproduction
Viruses -- Research -- History