UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Collaboration Began
UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory forged a collaboration during World War II and continued afterward. In 1942, the Army Corps of Engineers established the town of Oak Ridge as the home of the Clinton Engineer Works (CEW, later renamed Oak Ridge National Laboratory). During the Manhattan Project, CEW produced enriched uranium used in the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. A number of UT faculty were involved with the Manhattan Project in a variety of ways. Some taught courses in a safety program organized in the summer of 1943 at UT for training Manhattan Project personnel; some continued to serve in this capacity when a separate school for that purpose was established at Oak Ridge. Among the faculty who were granted leave or who resigned to work at the Clinton Engineer Works, were four engineering professors: Julian R. Fleming, Francis R. O’Brien, Clayton R. Plummer, and Elwood D. Shipley; two engineering instructors: Ernest C. Holdredge and Charles L. Segaser; and a physics instructor: E.T. Jurney. Just what specific roles these faculty members played in the making of the atomic bomb is unknown. After the war ended, the UT Board of Trustees responded to the increased enrollment of veterans and Oak Ridge workers who had interrupted their graduate studies by offering new PhD programs in chemistry, physics, and English. UT established a program to teach graduate courses at the Knoxville campus and in Oak Ridge. In 1982, the two institutions formed the Science Alliance, a formal organization that linked UT science operations and ORNL. In 2006, UT and ORNL established the Governor’s Chair Program which brings exceptionally accomplished researchers from around the world to Tennessee.