Former Condensed Matter Sciences Division History 1952—1995
The Solid State Division actually had its beginning in November 1950, as the Physics of Solids Institute. This institute, with Doug Billington as Acting Director, was formed as a Section in the Metallurgy Division. It had a lifetime of slightly more than one year, becoming the Solid State Division on January 11, 1952, with Billington as the Division Director. Jim Crawford, Jr., was appointed Assistant Division Director in early 1953 and Associate Division Director in 1960. Hal Mate was the first division Administrative Assistant, and Frank Kocur was appointed to this position in 1961. The Solid State Division was established with the primary mission of obtaining an understanding of the behavior of materials in an environment of nuclear radiation. It was known that radiation could markedly alter the physical properties of materials, frequently in a deleterious fashion, but almost nothing was known about the fundamental nature of the process. In order to protect materials from the effects of radiation and to develop radiation-resistant materials, an understanding of these effects was essential. Moreover, radiation damage experiments frequently yield significant information about the fundamental behavior of materials in the absence of radiation, and radiation can be used as a tool to study many physical properties of materials.