Szilard / Novick Research Files

Finding aid prepared by Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
858-534-2533
spcoll@ucsd.edu
Copyright 2005


Descriptive Summary

Title: Szilard / Novick Research Files
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 196
Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.4 Linear feet (1 archives box)
Date (inclusive): 1948 - 1969
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.
Creator: Novick, Aaron
Creator: Szilard, Leo

Related Materials

For more information on Leo Szilard, please see MSS 32, the Leo Szilard Papers, in Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.

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 the chemostat.
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.

Historical Background

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.

Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

Preferred Citation

Szilard / Novick Research Files, MSS 196. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Acquisition Information

Not Available

Subjects and Indexing Terms

University of Chicago. Institute of Radiology and Biophysics.
Bacteria
Bacteria--Morphology
Bacteria--Physiology
Bacteria--Reproduction
Bacteria--Research--History
Bacterial genetics
Biochemistry--Instruments
Chemostat
Microbiology -- Instruments
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Viral genetics
Viruses
Viruses -- Morphology
Viruses -- Physiology
Viruses -- Reproduction
Viruses -- Research -- History

 

CORRESPONDENCE

Box 1, Folder 1

Szilard / Novick 1948 - 1954

Box 1, Folder 2

Szilard / Novick 1956 - 1964

Box 1, Folder 3

Chicago Special Virus Seminar 1949 - 1950

General note

Correspondence related to the planning of the seminar.
 

LABORATORY NOTEBOOKS

Box 1, Folder 4

"S. I. - Jan 48" January 23 - November 18, 1948

Box 1, Folder 5

"Szilard II" November 18, 1948 - April 5, 1949

General note

Includes diagrams and sketches for the Chemostat.
Box 1, Folder 6

"Szilard III" April 5 - June 9, 1949

Box 1, Folder 7

"Novick (Beckmann)" July 14, 1950 - June 3, 1951

General note

Includes entries by Novick and Szilard.
Box 1, Folder 8

"Szilard - 1951 - Febr.-June"

General note

Contains a single entry for 1 March 1951.
Box 1, Folder 9

"Novick - October 1951" October 6, 1951 - December 29, 1951

General note

Contains entries by Novick and Szilard.
Box 1, Folder 10

"Jan 52" January 3, 1952 - June 18, 1953

 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Box 1, Folder 11

Chemostat

Box 1, Folder 12

Lactose Operon Meeting - Cold Spring Harbor, New York 1969

General note

Abstracts of papers (Novick's copy). Photograph of Leo Szilard on cover.