Former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory director Bruce Tarter will discuss his recently published book on LLNL history in a presentation at Livermore’s Civic Center Library tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m.
The book, titled “The American Lab,” came out earlier this year. It is the most comprehensive picture published to date of the growth of LLNL from a small weapons-focused site in 1952 to one of the nation’s largest and most diverse scientific laboratories today.
As told by Tarter, the Laboratory’s history reflects much of the scientific history of the U.S. over more than six decades.
The book is rich in human and technical detail, with stories of brilliant technological achievements and acknowledged failures -- larger than life personalities locally, Washington decisions that altered the direction of research programs, and the often cutthroat competition between the weapons laboratories.
Topics discussed range widely across the research landscape, from nuclear weapons to the human genome project, from developments in astronomy to strategic defense, from international treaty negotiations to the contractual arrangements for operating the Laboratory.
The book concludes with a worrisome epilogue in which Tarter expresses a view held by many other senior managers at Livermore and elsewhere in the scientific community: that ever-tightening governmental controls have left the Laboratory with little freedom for the scientific creativity that the nation needs.
Tarter’s talk is part of the library’s Authors and Arts Series, supported by the Friends of the Livermore Library. It will take place in the Community Room, 1188 S. Livermore Ave., Livermore. Admission is free.