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They Really Did Dress Like That March 15, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.

My Dad is also an experimental particle physicist. Here is a picture from 1961 – about 5 years before I was born – when he was a graduate student at Yale:


My dad is the guy in the middle. Check out the lack of tie! That is like going to work in a tee shirt these days! And that was a complete experiment – a small scattering chamber (on the left), a pumping station with sample collector (middle, Dad built that), and then the controls on the right. Nice dial.

If you look around the flickr stream that clicking on that picture above sends you to you’ll see several other pictures like that from the time (along with ones of me when I was really young!). The look so NASA, don’t they? The other thing that impresses you (or me) is how small the experiments are. For scale, here is one of my current ones:

atlas_600[1]Note the tiny little person standing in the middle there. Of course there is no way I could every have built 1/3 of the experiment there!

The Good Olde Days!



1. Gordon Stangler - March 18, 2009

Amazing how much physics has grown in the last 100 years, eh?

2. Gordon Watts - March 18, 2009

Ha! That was, what, about 50 years ago. 🙂 What will it look like in another 50!?

3. Aleksie - March 22, 2009

Impressive that got us to the second picture.

Then again, my current research (fluids) is still very much table top.

4. Gordon Watts - March 23, 2009

Indeed — and there is still plenty of table top going on! Thought in that particular case there isn’t an obvious direct line from the first picture to work in fluids! But some more traditional table-top has migrated to large machines — think x-ray sources!

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