Former Metals & Ceramics Division History 1946—1996
The division was formed in 1946 at the suggestion of Dr. Eugene P. Wigner to attack the problem of the distortion of graphite in the early reactors due to exposure to reactor neutrons, and the consequent radiation damage. It was called the Metallurgy Division and assembled the metallurgical and solid state physics activities of the time which were not directly related to nuclear weapons production. William A. Johnson, a Westinghouse employee, was named Division Director in 1946. In 1949 he was replaced by John H. Frye Jr. when the Division consisted of 45 people. He was director during most of what is called the Reactor Project Years until 1973 and his retirement. During this period the Division evolved into three organizational areas: basic research, applied research in nuclear reactor materials, and reactor programs directly related to a specific reactor(s) being designed or built. The Division (Metals and Ceramics) consisted of 204 staff members in 1973 when James R. Weir, Jr., became Director. This was the period of the oil embargo,the formation of the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) by combining the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) with the Office of Coal Research, and subsequent formation of the Department of Energy (DOE). The diversification process continued when James 0. Stiegler became Director in 1984, partially as a result of the pressure of legislation encouraging the national laboratories to work with U.S. industries on their problems. During that time the Division staff grew from 265 to 330. Douglas F. Craig became Director in 1992.