Guide to Burton Richter Papers, 1952-1999

Finding aid created by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Archives, History and Records Office) staff using RecordEXPRESS
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Archives, History and Records Office)
2575 Sand Hill Road M/S 97
Menlo Park, California 94025
(650) 926-5376

Descriptive Summary

Title: Guide to Burton Richter Papers, 1952-1999
Dates: 1952-1999
Collection Number: SLAC002
Extent: 141 cubic feet
Online items available
Repository: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Archives, History and Records Office)
Menlo Park, California 94025
Abstract: The Richter papers document Burton Richter’s role in modern physics as a scientist, administrator, and advisor. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, memoranda, clippings, reports, minutes, research notes, presentations, proposals, publications, reprints, and photographs relating to Dr. Richter's career at Stanford including his involvement with and participation in Stanford University governance; his work as an administrator and scientist at SLAC particularly administration of the lab’s research, technical, and business affairs; his involvement in science policy development and review in the United States and abroad; and his participation in the development of storage ring physics at Stanford University and in the design and development of the SPEAR storage ring at SLAC. Also included are materials regarding the Nobel Prize lecture and publicity.
Language of Material: English


The US government materials are restricted until they are 30 years old; Stanford administrative records are restricted until 20 years old. Portions of this collection are open for research; materials must be requested at least 5 working days in advance of intended use. Unprocessed records are open only to the records creators. Other restrictions on access may apply to records of a sensitive or confidential nature, or to records relating to ongoing research programs and activities.

Publication Rights

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Archivist, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2575 Sand Hill Road MS97, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Consent is given on behalf of the SLAC Archives, History & Records Office as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner, if the material is copyrighted. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: and also

Preferred Citation

Guide to Burton Richter Papers, 1952-1999. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Archives, History and Records Office)

Acquisition Information

Accessions were transferred to the SLAC Archives by Richter’s office staff over a period of approximately ten years.

Biography/Administrative History

Burton Richter was the Paul Pigott Professor in the Physical Sciences Emeritus at Stanford University and Director Emeritus of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Dr. Richter's honors and awards include the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics, the E. O. Lawrence Medal of the U. S. Department of Energy, the 2007 Phillip Hauge Abelson Prize by the AAAS, and the 2011 Fermi Award, a Presidential award for lifetime achievement. Dr. Richter received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career at Stanford in 1956 as a Research Associate in the High Energy Physics Laboratory. He became a full professor in 1967 and was given an endowed Chair in 1980. He became Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, as it was known then, in 1984 and served in that position until 1999. He retired from the University faculty in 2006. As SLAC Director, he oversaw the transformation of the laboratory from a single-purpose High-Energy Physics lab to a multiprogram laboratory in HEP, synchrotron-radiation based photon science, and space-based astro-particle physics. During the course of his career, Richter served on several advisory boards and committees for the Department of Energy and professional science organizations. After stepping down as Director at SLAC, he turned his attention to energy and climate issues, serving as Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies, the Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Woods Environmental Institute, and authoring the book, Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate and Energy in the 21st Century, winner of the 2011 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book of the Year award. Richter has written more than 300 publications in high energy physics, accelerators, and colliding beam systems, as well as environmental topics.

Scope and Content of Collection

Administrative topics include SLAC’s relationship with the Department of Energy and with other U.S. and foreign high-energy physics efforts (particularly accelerator labs), High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP), international committees and cooperation, the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), the SLAC Experimental Program Advisory Committee (EPAC) and the SLAC/Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Users Organization (SLUO), Stanford University relations, and files relating to Richter’s faculty responsibilities. Professional files regarding more general professional societies and consulting work include organization and committee files, travel, talks, and publications. Scientific topics include background and technical information on experimental program and projects, including SLAC accelerator facilities: the linear accelerator or linac, Stanford Linear Collider (SLC), Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring (SPEAR), Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP) later Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), PEP Positron Electron Project (PEP), PEP-II, BaBar, and Next Linear Collider (NLC).