Establishing KEK in Japan and Fermilab in the US: Internationalism, Nationalism and High Energy Accelerators

Lillian Hoddeson

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Comparison of the prehistories of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in the US, and Kō Enerugii Butsurigaku Kenkyusho (KEK) in Japan, reveals the working of both internationalism and nationalism in high energy physics. International communication and competition helped to create a number of structural parallels from the 1930s to the 1960s; for example, in the postwar period both countries formed their first inter-university government-supported accelerator laboratories; at the turn of the 1960s nuclear physicists in both countries debated about the choice of design for their next higher energy accelerator; and both chose proton synchrotron designs traceable to a common conceptual root. Although Fermilab and KEK progressed through analogous stages in 1960-65, national circumstances caused these developments to diverge in the late 1960s, resulting in a sizeable cut in scale and costly delays in the establishment of KEK.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-48
Number of pages48
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • General Social Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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