Adventures of a skiing instructor at a nuclear weapons laboratory








Manfred Drosg


Institut für Experimentalphysik

der Universität Wien










DISCLAIMER: The following write-up is a piece of literature. Any similarity with real events or with persons, living or dead, is circumstantial.




I finished my memories of my American adventures just in time for the 50th Anniversary of my arrival in Los Alamos which became my second home. Instead of inviting all my American friends from the Lab at this occasion I am dedicating these memories to my colleagues and professional friends. Although there is the danger of omitting some names I dare to list them in some rather arbitrary order. The person I mention first was the one welcoming me on November 1st, 1969 in Los Alamos, namely John D. Seagrave. He was one of my team, consisting in addition of the team leader John C. Hopkins, the senior post doc Andrus Niiler, the secretary Judy Elder and the technician Jim Martin. The head of Physics Division was Richard F. Taschek, to whom I am in particular indebted for making my stay at then LASL possible. Also the Alternate Division Leader, Hank Motz was very kind to me. The highest scientific impact on me was through Nelson Jarmie, known for the accurateness of his charged particle measurements. Jim Jett used to work with him. In the Van-de-Graaff area I remember best the group leaders Richard Henkel, Dick Woods, and Larry Rowton and the old-timer Kirk Smith. Besides I coworked with R.A. Hardekopf, Lynn Veeser, and Gary Jensen, and in addition with Paul Lisowski and George F. Auchampaugh. My interaction with Phil G. Young and Jerry Ohlsen was not very intense. P. W. Keaton had a similar curriculum to mine, as his thesis also dealt with the Moessbauer effect and he, too, has authored a book on electronics. The latter qualified him to become the first Division Leader of the newly formed  Electronis Division. I was guest at the group P-3 with Ben Diven as group leader. There I became very good friend of Darrell M. Drake, another fast neutron physicist. One other exceptional person there was G. A. Keyworth.

From my time at Space Science Division I remember best Gary Feldman, R.C. Byrd, Robert C. Reedy, and Ed Shunk. At my work at LANSCE I coworked with Ron O. Nelson and Stephen A. Wender.

Dave Madland, as secretary, coined the „firm” with members Darrell M. Drake, Manfred Drosg, Gerry M. Hale and Bob C. Haight.


Adventures of a skiing instructor at a nuclear weapons laboratory......................... 1

First encounters with reality........................................................................................ 3

Junior scientist at the Austrian Nuclear Research Center at Seibersdorf............. 4

Skiing instructor at a nuclear weapons lab?.............................................................. 5

A greenhorn in the New World................................................................................... 6

Driving past New York City......................................................................................... 7

On my way to Los Alamos........................................................................................... 7

What kind of English (or other language)?............................................................... 9

Hail the University of California................................................................................ 12

American medical doctors at work............................................................................ 13

Dealing with bureaucracy of LANL.......................................................................... 15

Housing in Los Alamos.............................................................................................. 17

The drawback of affirmative action........................................................................... 19

Encounters with local, state and federal bureaucracy........................................... 20

Cherchez les femmes!.................................................................................................. 22

Why did you have to turn left?................................................................................. 25

Outsourcing of know-how......................................................................................... 27

Found out in Taos....................................................................................................... 29

First visitor from home................................................................................................ 30

Fahrenheit meets Celsius............................................................................................ 33

Another visitor from home......................................................................................... 34

A rookie on travel........................................................................................................ 36

Seeing Grand Canyon................................................................................................. 37

Greenhorns on horseback.......................................................................................... 39

Testing Mountain School in Los Alamos................................................................ 40

Breaching Security Regulations involuntarily........................................................ 41

Found out as member of the establishment............................................................. 42

No interest in nuclear weaponry?............................................................................. 43

An experimentalist outshines computer experts..................................................... 45

Working in a land of plenty....................................................................................... 45

The “devilish” tritium.................................................................................................. 46

Electronics in aid of experimental physics............................................................... 48

Quality control is left to the customer...................................................................... 49

Manfred, the exact....................................................................................................... 50

On the reliability of experimental data...................................................................... 51

The importance of experience in experimental work............................................... 52

Are there scientific instincts?.................................................................................... 53

Lowlanders at high altitude........................................................................................ 54

Meeting other foreign scientists............................................................................... 55

Nikola Cindro, a Yugoslav spy?................................................................................ 58

At the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center........................................................... 60

Inevitable short cuts to beat the bureaucracy........................................................ 60

An experiment at WNR that originated in Austria................................................. 62

Too much radiation on my dosimeter?..................................................................... 63

Is also NASA in need of the skiing instructor?...................................................... 64

The Mars Sand Experiment........................................................................................ 64

What kind of ghost was there in the Blue Room?.................................................. 67

Not a Radiation Worker after all these years?......................................................... 68

Who unscrewed the bulb in a lamp of the WNR building?.................................. 68

Other examples of American labor unions’ blatant foolery................................... 69


First encounters with reality

I was born in Klagenfurt, then inside the German Third Reich. When I cried as a baby, possibly, because I demanded to meet the Führer. On the other hand, according to my mother I was drinking milk for two. Had this become known to the authorities, they might have considered this as sabotage of the milk supply in the Reich.

Aside from the bombing - there were 60 bombing attacks on my hometown, destroying 50% of its houses - one of my first experiences was that being a member (of the Nazi party) had bad consequences. Thus, all my life I shied at being a member of whatsoever, unless inevitable. Some time later this attitude spared me some work.

After the war my home state Carinthia was occupied by the British who rigorously searched for Party members to punish them indiscriminately. At that time I was at primary school and I remember the doctor to state that my nutritional condition was “two”. My parents had a difficult time to feed their four children. To survive my father worked until late in the night teaching English. He (with the unsurpassed help of my mother) managed to send three of his four children to the University in Vienna. This was, partly, made possible because all three of us had scholarships due to our excellent success in our fields.

Junior scientist at the Austrian Nuclear Research Center at Seibersdorf

Even in the sixties experimental physics research at Austrian universities still suffered from lack of equipment and financial resources. Therefore, I was very lucky when my thesis could be done at the newly built Nuclear Research Center which had much better resources. There, quite a few diploma and thesis students in physics of various Austrian universities came together, more or less working on their own. To avoid the daily time loss travelling to and from this Center to Vienna, we students used to stay over night, from Monday through Friday, having in the evening a jolly time together. In my case, the assistant professor who was supposed to advise me, was an alcoholic. This I found out after having received several times ill advice. From then on, I worked completely independently which was a good training for my later life.

Prof. Weinzierl, the responsible supervisor soon hired me to be his assistant professor at the Technical University in Vienna. After graduation he asked me to coauthor a book on nuclear electronics on equal terms. At that time I had plenty of experience in inventing, designing and building electronic instruments so advanced that one could not buy them. I spent about one year in the period 1968/69 in writing this textbook on nuclear electronics. It has about 500 pages and was up-to-date using latest electronic research results and recent manuals of electronic manufacturers as reference. For instance, whenever possible, the general properties of circuits were stressed so that the type of active element did not really matter.

At my age physicists would try to gain experience abroad by going west. Austrians often would go to Germany and Germans to the United States. I planned to go straight to North America. Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately - there was a surplus of young physicists not only in Austria, but also in the USA. Thus, none of my application letters to American Universities was even answered, except my application for a Canadian Fellowship in Chalk River. I was told to be the third on the list of which the first two would be accepted. At this stage my boss, Prof. Weinzierl, then chairman of the International Nuclear Data Committee, asked two of his American colleagues whether they were willing to accept me as post doc. Soon I learnt that the leader of Physics Division of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the renowned Dr. R.F. Taschek has succeeded in having me as the first foreign post doc in his division. For him it was like buying a pig in a poke because, quite obviously, I could not come for an interview beforehand. Obviously, Prof. Weinzierl, was so much taken in by me that he recommended me so warmly that this replaced the interview.

At about the same time I received a letter from Canada informing me that I was now the second on the list. Thus, I had the choice of two institutions in North America I could go to. I followed the advice of Prof. Weinzierl and decided to go to Los Alamos “into the desert”, rather than to Chalk River “into the Canadian woods” which is said to be very cold and humid in winter.

Skiing instructor at a nuclear weapons lab?

Quite obviously it was not straightforward for a foreigner to work in the Physics Division of a Nuclear Weapons Laboratory, even if no secret work is involved. The first step is to fill out a form called Personal History Statement. Except for expected questions it asked for affiliations with any Nazi organization. In good faith I could negate that, even if I was not completely sure how it was in my babyhood. When it came to other memberships, I had only one to recount, namely my position as oarsman in a rowing club. So my shyness to become member of anything paid off.

One day, in 1969 I received a call from the American Embassy asking for an interview at my working place. When this gentleman came to see me, he inquired whether I am a ghost or what because when he came to see me at my living address, neither the concierge nor any one else he contacted appeared to know me, although, supposedly, I claim to have been living there for more than eight years. The explanation was simple: during the week I used to leave very early and to return rather late from work, or in more recent years I was working all week in the Nuclear Research Center at Seibersdorf. After that he asked a few stupid questions which I had already answered in the Personal History Statement, as where do my two brothers and three sisters live. Easily, I corrected him by saying that I have only one brother and two sisters. After some more questions which I answered the same way as I had done in writing, he was satisfied and left. Obviously, he was from CIA checking me out. I was not important enough to send somebody brighter for this interview.

After a while I received a letter from the American Consulate stating that my visa to work as skiing instructor in the USA has arrived. Happily, I did not have to work as skiing instructor which had been outside my qualification, but as a physics post doc in Los Alamos. Ostensibly, the consulate has used some printed text they had available because Austrians would, usually, work as skiing instructors in the USA.

A greenhorn in the New World

In Vienna I participated in a research project supported by the US Air Force. Consequently I was eligible for some benefits when buying a PanAm air ticket from Vienna to New York. Some document I had, said that I was travelling for the US Air Force.

It was the first flight of my life. During the landing procedure for a stopover in Munich I could see the tips of some poles appearing in the dense fog. The pilot had another try and succeeded in landing safely despite the really dense fog.

The landing at JFK airport was uneventful. My next step was to secure my car, a Beetle convertible that has been shipped from the factory in Germany. I was supposed to pick it up at Pier 3 of the harbor in Newark. However, the shipping agent in New York City said that on this specific ship with the name Sansted there was no car for me. Even after having heard from the dispatcher in Europe that my car was on this ship, he said there is none. Having learnt of cars vanishing in harbors at the East Coast I suspected already to be a victim of American thieves. Now, I took my Air Force document to use it on the shipping agent. Suddenly, they found my car. Their excuse was that on the car documents the letter B instead of D was used as first letter of my last name, so that the documents were filed wrongly.

Driving past New York City

Late October, having really sunny weather, I set out to get my car. As described by the shipping agent, I took the bus to Newark harbor and then a taxi to Pier 3. Being warned that taxi driver frequently cheated, I cautiously asked beforehand how much the fare would be. The driver said it would be three dollars which seemed adequate to me. After driving about 100 meters he announced our arrival at Pier 3. Of course, I could have easily walked this distance if I had only known where Pier 3 was located.

After surprisingly little paperwork my car was handed over to me. The car had German customs license plates allowing me to drive inside the USA for ninety days. Only then, it began to dawn on me that I had no liability insurance for my car. Naturally, I could not get one because there was no record of my driving history. I even called Los Alamos for help, but they could not help me either. Thus, I had to drive to New York City without being insured. Besides I had no road maps. Orienting myself by means of the sun I started out driving north. After having driven for a while without encountering any sign directing to New York City I concluded that I must have missed it. This was rather fortunate because it was late October and the woods of New York State were full of colors. Thus, I had an overwhelming sight which I had missed if I had driven straight to New York City. I was sure that I was west of the Hudson River so all I had to do, was to turn right and to drive until I came to the bank of a river. Following this river downstream, i.e., going south, I came to Washington Bride leading to New York City. West of Washington Bridge there is a place called Englewood Cliffs. At this place Volkswagen of America was located, having a parking lot full of Beetles. Thus, I felt save leaving my car on this lot.

On my way to Los Alamos

I contacted triple A, the American Automobile Association, for their advice in my insurance misery. Since summer I had been a member of the French automobile club[1] and, thus, was an associated member of the American Automobile Association. Luckily they could offer me a three months liability car insurance designed specifically for foreign tourists. Thus, from now on I could travel with my insured car. Having a brand-new European car in New York City was quite risky, so having the car over night at a safe place was more expensive than my accommodation. Driving in New York City proved to be no challenge at all, but using the subway was a better way of moving around. After having realized that, originally, there had been three independent subway systems, the layout of the subways was no secret any more.

Having obtained my car, and insurance for it, there was nothing to keep me longer in this city. So I started my 2800 miles long trip to Los Alamos, the place of my future activities. On the way there I tried to see as much of the country as possible. I went through Philadelphia to Baltimore and Washington, then to Roanoke in West Virginia, Chattanooga in Tennessee and south to Birmingham and New Orleans. Going northwest I came through Texarkana and Paris in Texas, and Amarillo on Old Santa Fe Trail which leads into New Mexico, my future home state.

It took me a while before I realized that using British expressions was out of place. In particular, at each motel they inquired of me the license plate number of my car. Having German customs license plates the number contained a “Z” (which stands for Zoll which is German for customs). After receiving dumb looks in the reception several times I realized that the British “zet” was a “ze” in American English.

Entering Santa Fe by way of the Old Santa Fe Trail bypasses the business district, so that I looked in vain for a suitable short term accommodation. The first hotel that I encountered in Santa Fe was La Fonda, the most fashionable place in town, looking rather expensive. The second hotel I came by was La Fonda again, due to the one-way circus of this town. Thus, I decided to inquire the price of staying overnight. As I had a tight budget I always had found a room for less than $10 per night. To avoid embarrassment I asked for a room without bath. To my surprise they offered me one for $10 per night. Thus, I came to stay in one of the finest hotels in Santa Fe.

I had adhered to my time schedule very well so that I could start my work at Los Alamos as planned the next day, i.e. November 1st. I called the Laboratory announcing my arrival before I drove there. To my great surprise, Los Alamos received me with about one foot of snow. I had not been told that they have winter in Los Alamos.

What kind of English (or other language)?

In fifth grade I started learning English in a class of 49 students with a very efficient teacher, named Günter Nagy. Of course, all he could do was forcing us to widen our vocabulary by frequent examinations. This teacher I had through eighth grade. He provided the base of my knowledge in English, even if, under these circumstances, speaking English was not trained much. The new, inexperienced English teacher in ninth grade was a complete failure. The teacher I had from tenth grade through twelfth grade did not add much to my knowledge in English. At least I could maintain it. Before I went to the United States I had no chance to practice English in an English speaking country. Nevertheless, I was optimistic enough to succeed in communicating. The first time I felt a little lost was when I ordered tea in a restaurant in Washington, DC. The waitress brought iced tea and did not understand my wish to have "hot tea". It took the manager to make me understood. Shortly after, in Roanoke, West Virginia, I ordered some milk as beverage. I had to settle to something else because there was no way to make me understood. The only other language problems I had on my long trip with my car from New York City to Los Alamos was that it took me several days to remember that the last letter in the alphabet is pronounced "ze" and not "zet" as in British English.

Soon after my arrival in Los Alamos I wrote my first publication in English as sole author. It was accepted without the need of any revision. However, one reviewer remarked that I am using English in a "turgid" way. None of my colleagues could tell me what this meant. He meant that my English was not to the point but flowery. I am afraid this still is so to some regard.

At the beginning I was a little insecure so that I did my arithmetic in German to be sure of the correctness. I stopped doing so after some months which was for me an indication to be quite fit in this language. When my colleague John Seagrave asked me to translate some German text into English I agreed under the precondition that he would correct my English. To my surprise he saw no need of a single correction. Possibly he was just lazy. He gave the most devastating judgement on my English: "You can say it the way you do it, too." This actually meant that nobody would say it my way although it was grammatically correct. To my surprise, it was me to write the scientific papers even if I had several American coauthors. Their contribution, e.g., corrections of these papers was minimal. Even the editors of the Lab did not really improve my written English, their main contribution was: never to say "in order to" but simply "to". Whenever they made real changes in the text, the meaning was so distorted that we could not accept these changes. Much later, when writing the book "Dealing with Uncertainties", Springer Verlag in Germany felt it necessary to have an English language editor going over the text. His main corrections were many dozens cases of "e.g."-s that needed a comma in front and one after it. Otherwise there were only minor corrections, partly due to the fact that a good friend, an American Librarian, Mrs. Alice Wynne, has had the kindness to proof-read the text beforehand. According to some code in Internet I was using about 8000 different English words in this text. This compares to about 10000 different words in the German version. My next book written in English, "Dealing with Electronics" did not receive any language corrections from outside at all.

Once, I learnt that giving the impression of being firm in a language can lead to severe misunderstandings which would never have surfaced if the speaker was recognized to be a language rookie. Around 1970 the (educated) population of the United States - at least those with whom I had contact - was rather excited about the prospect of "going metric", i.e., to abandon the American measures and to switch entirely to the metric ones. (Both were and are allowed by law, however, only the American ones were in practical use.) Thus, I was invited by a club of housewives to speak about the practical aspects of the conversion. I pointed out that when shopping one would in most cases buy food stuff by the amount of it, independent of its numerical value. Or it would hardly matter whether on a package of milk is printed one liter or one quart. "However," I continued "I foresee problems with the screws." This remark was cause to some merriment among the ladies present to listen to the talk. Of course, I was not aware of the reason. I should have said "bolts and nuts" and not "screws". Such problems arose for all American cars having European engines, because these needed both American and metric tools in the work shops. The idea of going metric was soon aborted. However, there is still one strong indication of this effort. The distances inside American National Parks are given in kilometers and not in miles!

After many stays in the USA I started having an ear for the local idiom and acquired so much of an American accent that in Britain I was even mistaken for an American. However, my ambition to erase my German accent began to wane when I realized that many physicists of importance in the US had a German accent so that there was no reason to get rid of it.

At the beginning of my stay in the USA I did not speak German for about eight months. So it took me some while to become fluent again when my mother came to visit me.

In New Mexico there are two types of natives: Indians and Spanish. The latter are the descendants of the Spanish conquistadores of old times. When I tried my little Spanish on them, like saying "Gracias!", I had the impression that this was not well received. Possibly, they felt ridiculed by assuming that I thought their English is not good enough.

One highlight of my English experience in the USA was due to a technician repairing an electronic instrument in the Van-de-Graaff building. Walking in the hall way I suddenly heard this exclamation: “Damned, now it has given up its ghost!” (Verdammt, jetzt hat es seinen Geist aufgegeben.) A technician using Shakespearean style English!

Hail the University of California

At that time Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory has been operated by the Regents of the University of California. Therefore, its employee, e.g., I was eligible to join any program of said university. Being an organization with many thousand employees, the insurances available to me were extremely cheap. The liability insurance of my car for one year was cheaper than that of AAA for three months! A real bargain was the health insurance. For a dozen dollars a month you could acquire a full health insurance with US$ 100.-- deductible, i.e., all medical expenses were paid, as soon as this deductible was reached in a year.

The rules for vacation time were simple and generous: everybody had 30 days of vacation time per year and in addition 2 weeks of sick leave in the same period which accumulated over the years. Once I listened in a conversation between the leader of Physics Division and a visiting Russian delegation, explaining that everybody, independent of his status and length of employment had the same amount of vacation. In addition he said: “However, it often happens that the higher ranks do not consume their vacation time.” Seemingly, because being afraid that somebody else takes over his tasks so that he would be superfluous.

I bought another kind of insurance: an insurance covering the loss of my payment. After a year I had accumulated twenty four weeks of sick leave so that I discontinued this insurance.

When I was rehired in 1978 as staff member, I acquired the same type of health insurance. The health plan included my family. Although my wife Brigitte was pregnant at the time when I signed my insurance application, the full hospital and delivery cost was paid by the insurance even when my wife stayed longer in the hospital than any of the other young mothers. As I was at work and nobody else was at home, she stayed until the weekend (5 days). Rather short compared to the usual stay in an Austrian hospital (at least 7 days).

Dr. Wadström who was supposed to deliver the baby, declared on Wednesday that he would be out fishing during the weekend, so that he would have to induce the birth if Brigitte wanted him to deliver the baby. So it happened that I was present at Roswitha’s birth, even taking pictures of the newly born, still with blood on her. After having returned home Sharon Lisowski, a wife of a younger colleague, was the first to visit us together with her husband Paul and son Peter. She obviously knew what is needed when you are back from hospital. She brought with her a warm meal.

Later this year Brigitte’s father died and we flew back to Vienna. Roswitha’s name had been entered into Brigitte’s passport by the Austrian consulate in Los Angeles so that we all could leave right away. For the return trip to the USA there was a problem. As Austrian national Roswitha would need a visa for reentering the United States, however, being an American by birth she obviously could not get one. So she was given an American passport in Vienna with a baby picture in it. However, when reentering the USA she was allowed to do it together with her mother at the gate for non-citizens. Immigration had run out of red tape.

Roswitha kept her dual citizenship. When applying for a job in Los Alamos later in her life this fact made it much easier for her to be employed.

American medical doctors at work

One of the first things happening to a fresh post doc in Los Alamos was the commencement medical examination at the health station. As this was “behind the fence” a security guard took me there. The equipment was highly advanced: my electro-cardiogram was sent via telephone line to a Chicago hospital for examination. It was documented that I was in very good health. When I was hired as visiting staff member in 1978 I underwent the same procedure. Except, by then the health station was not behind the fence any more.

In this year my pregnant wife Brigitte came to Los Alamos and we contacted Dr. Wadstroem to be the gynecologist to deliver the baby. When the baby was due Dr. Wadstroem wanted to induce the birth, first by suggesting strenuous hikes, and when this failed, by drugs. If we wanted him to deliver the baby, it must be born before the weekend because he was out for fishing during the weekend. So the birth was induced and my presence at this process was very beneficial because I had trained with Brigitte how to breath to alleviate the pain. After all I was the only person she knew well.

Decades later it was not that easy to find a delivering gynecologist, even state-wide, because all but two had discontinued this service because of the danger of being sued for any deformities of the baby.

The pediatrician Dr. Blossom cared for my daughter Roswitha when she was older. When there was a suspicion of an infection by streptococcus he would rather have a culture made than used an antibiotic right away – which, at that time, was the standard procedure in Austria in such cases.

One year, when I had a relapse of my diverticulitis I needed a prescription of my medicine called Salazopyrine. I went to the doctor to get the description. At first, I was surprised that I did not get it right away but after a thorough medical examination, only. Being afraid of being possibly sued afterwards the doctor had to convince himself that my ailing required that medicine.

The second time I was with a private doctor in Los Alamos was when I had strange blisters on my right forearm, about 5 mm in diameter. I told the dermatologist that in Austria his colleagues would call any skin disease they did not recognize as "insect bite". Promptly, I had his diagnosis: "For sure, these blisters are due to a blister bug." I never found out whether he was joking. After a few days the blisters were gone.

Brigitte had all four wisdom teeth removed while in Los Alamos, two by two.

When going to a doctor in Los Alamos there was never an excessive waiting time, nor was the cost excessive. Due to the health insurance organized by the University of California the cost of having Roswitha delivered at the local Hospital was completely covered by it. Compared to the birth of my son Bernhard several years later at the Vienna General Hospital everything appeared to be much more patient-oriented.

One peculiarity of American hospitals is that on release you are taken to the entrance door by means of a wheel chair. The healthy patient is not allowed to walk there to prevent accidents while in the hospital.

Dealing with bureaucracy of LANL

I was very lucky to get a glimpse of the pioneer times of Los Alamos. My position was that of a (junior) post doc in Team 4 of the Division Office of P-Division. The interrelation within the team was so relaxed that it took me several months to realize that the team had a leader. It was John C. Hopkins, the later Associate Director for Nuclear Weapons Research. Scientists would not take off for their vacation but would rather sell their vacation time back to the Laboratory. Already during my stay they changed this rule so that you could only sell unused vacation time when terminating your job. When I left my post doc position at the laboratory I took advantage of this regulation “selling” my time for a multiple of what it would “cost” me back home.

Within the Laboratory everything appeared to run smoothly, P-Division with its many groups had three secretaries communicating well with each other. The team secretary, Judy Elder, had a few problems with me. As I had learnt British English at school, I always used British orthography which she always corrected. One reason for me to adopt American English was to find out that to “fill in” was called to “fill out” in USA, just as in German.

At the time of my arrival, Norris Bradbury was director of the Lab. He was a scientist of the first days. Once a year he (and his wife) gave a “Newcomers’ Party” at his house. His wife, quite obviously, liked alcoholic beverages too much.

Much later, Kerr became director of the Lab. He introduced what is called “matrix management”. P-Division was shrunk, but the administration blown up. Five secretaries now took care of the daily business. As far as I was concerned nothing seemed to work out properly. After arrival for a visit I was told they had forgotten to get permission from Washington for me to work in the Lab. However, the last permission was still valid so that it did not matter much at the moment. At my next visit exactly the same thing happened! In the year 1986 I had arranged in advance that some report I wrote got finished before my departure so that I easily could proof-read it. I worked until late in the nights to finish the draft of this report in time. To no avail! The lady that was assigned to do the job had other things to do so that the final version of the report was finished much after my departure. I could have worked much more leisurely!

There where at least two reasons why I very much enjoyed my stays at Los Alamos National Laboratory in sixteen visits. As visiting staff member I had no administrative obligations whatsoever and could, therefore, dedicate all my time to solving experimental tasks. Secondly, the Lab (i.e. any group I worked with) was really generous with regard to travel allowances. Thus, most about fifteen attendances of physics meetings in the USA were fully financed by the Lab. I am still very grateful for that. Having great research opportunities at unique installations does not need mentioning as special benefit. I am still perplexed by the fact that disregarding programmatic work for which I was specifically hired I had the freedom to pursue practically any line of experimental work I wanted. This fact made it possible for me to establish my excellent standing in the science community as accurate experimental fast neutron physicist.

An excellent example of the near perfect research opportunities offered to me is the following incident. I was interested in producing sub-0.1MeV neutrons by the t-H source of the tandem accelerator which has never been attempted before. Thus, I asked the group leader Larry Rowton whether he could provide a bunched triton beam for a pre-experiment lasting not longer than two hours. As some scheduled beam time ended at 4 o’clock, he offered to squeeze my oral request in afterwards. Within about 15 minutes I had the beam available. Making my pre-experiment I realized that this was not the way to go. This result I got in less than two hours. Without involving any paper work I could perform my pre-experiment thanks to the informal generosity of Larry.

In the later nineteen-nineties my affiliation with Los Alamos came to an end. On the one hand I had become the director of my institute in Vienna, on the other hand news from my colleagues in Los Alamos were rather distressing. More and more, experiments became very difficult to perform due to additional bureaucratic requirements, like bookkeeping of the movements of everybody at any time. Before that they already began to charge the Group for the floor area it used. The nonsense of such a regulation is easily exemplified by the fate of the Van-de-Graaff area. Although this building from the fifties was specifically designed for fast-neutron work and could not be used for anything else, it could not be maintained by the group any more due to the large floor space and consequently high virtual cost. Thus the building was fenced in without being used for anything afterwards.

I was really surprised when in 1991 an American colleague at a party in our house said without being provoked: “The only way to save the Laboratory is to abolish it and to start it anew.” This was new food for my strong belief that after a period of about 30 years the administration of any (non-profit) organization has “forgotten” the purpose of its foundation and is mainly aimed at maintaining itself self-sufficiently. Although this had been my opinion already for several years I was too polite towards my host-institution to agree openly with my colleague.[2] 

Housing in Los Alamos

Every time I went to Los Alamos right away the issue of housing came up. The Lab had a Housing Group trying to accommodate the many visitors. After commissioning the medium energy accelerator in 1977 the situation became especially tight. Due to its immense electricity consumption (several megawatts) it was only operated during winter time because of the immense need of electricity for cooling the homes in the big cities. Nevertheless, the peak of visitors was in summer because then the scholars from American universities would come as visiting scientists.

For my longer visits (from 1969 to 1972 as postdoc, or during the whole year of 1978 and later in 1989) everything was arranged by the Lab (or my friend Darrell) which was very helpful in particular when I came with my family. At other times it usually became more or less a matter of luck because I had to compete with the other visiting scientists.

When I was a postdoc I was single and lived down-town in an apartment block for a period of more than two years. When Birger, a Danish post doc moved into the same building, I started having a social contact. He was a real nice fellow and he even lent me his fancy Ford Mustang Convertible at a time I was in need of a car.

In January 1971 I was sitting the house of Harry Otway who was married to a dancer from Vienna he had met in Las Vegas. During the time they were away for a visit in Vienna I sat their house in Northern Area and with it a guinea pig, a tomcat and two dogs. When they returned, there were a guinea pig, a tomcat and twelve dogs. During their absence both bitches had babies! This was insofar no problem for me, as they were fed by their mothers so that I had no additional work.

In 1978 my wife joined me in March to have our baby in Los Alamos. I was lucky to have secured a half-duplex in the Western Area for us. The owner, a fellow physicist named John Orndoff, lived in the other half. It was situated nicely, next to the woods. Once, in winter I even walked from it to my working place. At the end of our stay four of us lived in this half-duplex. In May my daughter Roswitha was born and joined us, in November my mother-in-law joined us because her husband had died.

In 1989 all of my family of four moved to Los Alamos. Fortunately we could move into Darrell’s house in Western Area because it was vacant after he moved to his new home in Santa Fe. It was a very comfortable arrangement, even having fruit (in particular peaches) from the garden.

Housing for shorter term visits (one to three months) proved to be more difficult because the time coincided with the presence of the bulk of visiting scientists in summer. At two occasions we could secure accommodation for the family by sitting houses in the suburb White Rock and one time in Northern Area.

When being by myself I was not that lucky to have a place to stay. Once I was sitting a mobile home with a dog, once a house in Western Area (with the danger of meeting a skunk at late returns home[3]), one year I stayed for one month in the Los Alamos Motor Lodge, because there was no other accommodation to be found, another year I had even to commute to the Lodge in Bandelier National Monument. Once, when everything else failed, I stayed – of course, unofficially – the first night in the Van-de-Graaff building. Afterwards Darrell took me home, as his family was absent anyway. Then, I remember to once have lived in one of the new apartments at Central Street.

At my last visit I seemed to be lucky to secure the apartment rented by a Mr. Fish to Dave, a professor in Eugene, Oregon, right after his leaving. It was a hot summer and Dave mentioned a heat rash he had because of it. I stayed just one night because also I caught a “heat rash” by way of bed bugs I identified during the night. It was something special: bed bugs in the supposedly so clean USA, in particular in an artificial academic settlement like Los Alamos! The land lord made difficulties in returning the rental fee but did so rather having problems with the authorities.

The drawback of affirmative action

Affirmative action was established to heave underprivileged persons in positions they would ordinarily not gain. Flavio G. was such a man from the local Spanish minority. In the group P-3 he had the position of an IT supervisor. Therefore, when I left the laboratory for returning home without being able to finish all the computing necessary for a publication I made a deal with him. For submitting a computer deck to CCF and sending me the results he would be coauthor of said publication. As it happened, he even could not submit the computer code but the lady punching computer cards had to do it instead. Not only could he not do his job, he must have been frustrated by his disability. I wonder whether he had not been more satisfied by life doing a job he understood. Under these circumstances, I only made him coauthor of the internal report but not of the publication itself.

Affirmative action is part of the political correctness hype. Political correctness is the source of much waste in resources and time. It was invented by undereducated people, maybe, for their own sake. This under-education shows up best in genderism. Every moderately well-educated person would know that in indo-European languages gender and sex are two different pairs of shoes. Like person being derived from persona in Latin is originally female. Just in English it has lost this attribute. However, even in English there are remains of the fact that in Latin and other European languages grammar overrides sex. Thus ships and countries are female in Latin fashion, the sun is male, the moon female.

Because of all the nonsense put forward by people who do not understand the human way and history I decided to be politically incorrect, on purpose. I know that this is of very little importance but I need it for my mental well-being.

Encounters with local, state and federal bureaucracy

In 1969, when I arrived in New Mexico, foreigners were very sparse there. Hardly any official had ever met one so that they did not know how to handle them. It was a time in which I could have blended in with the locals. All I needed was a Social Security Number (which I had) to pay the taxes and to have a local driver’s license. I had to apply for a New Mexico driver’s license. Since traffic was up to the states they required from residents, after a grace period of 90 days, to get the appropriate local license. I passed the multiple-question theoretical and then the practical test. The tester was surprised by my driving ability. At that time I had ten years of driving practice! So I had two driver’s licenses in my possession.

In 1978 I stayed again longer than 90 days in New Mexico. By then authorities knew the correct procedure. I only had to pass the written multiple-choice test and after retracting my Austrian licence they issued me a New Mexican one. Not trusting the local administration, my wife refused to give up her Austrian driver’s license and consequently drove illegally for the rest of her stay. Fortunately, the local police did not find out even after the following incident. One day my wife was escorted home by a police car, its lights flashing. She did not stop, as supposed. I do not know what the police men thought of this crazy foreign woman. Anyway, she did not get a fine, just an admonition. In a place like Los Alamos life was just more relaxed than elsewhere. The crime rate was low, mainly incidents with youths who did not know how to spend their time, causing incidents due to their squalidness by affluenza.

I myself felt lucky when I got my Austrian driver’s license back before I went back to Austria. The vehicle department worked properly which was not all foreseeable.

In the early days I drove to the Internal Revenue Service in the capital Santa Fe to inquire my tax status. Some clerk told me that it is the same as for any American. In front of the inner office there were tax brochures for any kind of people laid out. Among them one for non-resident aliens which was my tax status. These brochures were very informative. From them I learnt that for non-resident aliens like me, a completely different tax status applies. Thus for the next thirty years or so I returned my tax declaration to IRS based on this information. Filling out the forms correctly proved to be not overly complicated

I did not much care for municipal ordinances. Supposedly, there was one prohibiting the use of real candles on Christmas trees. For me, a Christmas tree without candles was unimaginable! American friends visiting us at Christmas time were much taken in by the way our Christmas tree looked. However, some of them said: “Such a tree is very unpractical, as it is not feasible to have the candles lit all the day!” Luckily, the local authorities, quite obviously, did not learn about our illegal Christmas tree.

Christmas decorations, in particular when lit in the dark, were a feast for the eyes. E.g., one would drive to downtown Santa Fe to sight the decorations there. These would be put up a few weeks before Christmas Eve, but be removed already on Christmas day.

Some day, a lady-lawyer became head of Department of Energy. Thus, she was also in charge of all National Laboratories. Understandably, she was more concerned that regulations were obeyed than having scientific output of the labs. Thus, the “tiger team” was established going all over the country in search for broken regulations. One day they came to visit the Van-de-Graaff installation. At that time, Larry Rowton was in charge. He was a particular able fellow technically who had improved the performance of the machines immensely. However, unfortunately he was not used to deal with officials. As during the visitation by the tiger team the alarm went off, he said to them; “Don’t pay attention. For sure, it is a false alarm.” He did not realize that he made the worst mistake possible. Never, never you may neglect an alarm. Consequently, the tiger team was pissed off, and at the end this installation was closed down, even if it was unique in the world: it was the only installation that could deliver a bunched triton beam of useful intensity with energies between 5 and (at the end of its existence) 20 MeV.

After several bombings by radicals involving federal buildings there came the order from Washington that access to federal property of value in excess of one million dollars must be controlled. Consequently, the open areas of the Lab were fenced in and had a guard at the entrance. In Los Alamos they could not fully comply with this order, as the public bridge of Los Alamos, spanning Los Alamos Canyon, was a federal bridge that had cost more than one million dollars!

As everywhere, there are always loop holes: The controlled access to LAMPF, that existed all the time, is not complete as there exists a side gate that is used by some people having the proper key.

I always experienced that immigrating into the US and going through US customs went absolutely smoothly. Possibly the type of my visa helped, or I looked so trustworthy. Even visiting Cuba in between did not make any difference. However, when I entered Canada coming from the US, Canadian customs behaved crazily. They did not want me to bring with me the view graphs I needed for my talk in Chalk River. It took some convincing on my part.

Cherchez les femmes!

As I know now, I have always been and still am unable to multitask. When doing things I am doing them practically with 100% of my abilities. Going to school, or as I used to say, visiting school was done to pass it (with distinction) and not to have a jolly time there. The time at the university I used primarily to advance in my career. Thus, the search for a mate was hindered by this attitude and the missing opportunities due to the concentration on my work which was not performed in a social environment.

When leaving for North America I left two potential mates in Austria, one of them my later wife Brigitte. In New York I met a female banker at a boating tour around Manhattan who has just arrived from Hamburg. I was glad to have company, rather pretty and German speaking, too. At the beginning she shied of a casual acquaintance stressing that she lived at the Barbazon Hotel in Manhattan where no men are allowed. After some time she realized that the physicist she has just met was quite different from the men in her banking environment and began to thaw. However, I had to meet my time table to be in time in Los Alamos and did not further investigate this possibility.

In Los Alamos the only younger females were at High School, because after having passed it, students would flee from Los Alamos into the exciting outside world. Thus, I had the impression that all younger females were uniformly dressed: in a dirty sweater, blue jeans, and had relatively long plain hair. They were not really attractive. In Los Alamos there was little diversion available, if any. Even less for me as I was not interested in high school football at all. I attended once or twice the local film theatre which did close in later years. I was member of the local Film Club showing movies in the auditory of the high school. When they gave Hamlet in Shakespearian English I was more or less the only one to remain seated. The other did not adjust to the language strange to them. For me it was just another dialect to which I could adjust my ears.

Thus, I was glad to find a short note in a newspaper on the Mountain Mixers Square Dancers assuming that I could train there my abilities in formal dancing. I should have known, but did not, what Square Dance meant. I got informed by Alice C. Wynne, then secretary of this Club. Although I was not interested in square dancing, she kept up the acquaintance, probably to have a foreign contact for her son Ric. Having lived in Mexico for some time, she was internationally oriented. This worked out insofar as years later she and Ric were our guests in Vienna for a few days. The acquaintance with Alice deepened with my children Roswitha and Bernhard staying with me in the US. She used to be librarian at the Mesa Public Library, later at the main library of the Lab. When I wrote my first book in English I took advantage of her erudition and asked her to proof read it. Thus, the English editor supplied by the publishing company had little work, only.

At one of my many car excursions in the neighborhood I came to talk with a girl on a horse. We had a good talk and she was obviously interested to meet a foreigner. However, her parents did not approve of foreigners (or me, specifically), so that this remained a singular event.

The Group secretary Judy Elder used to be kind to me. As she was married I did not even consider that she might be interested in me. Only much later when I learnt that her marriage was not successful did I consider that she liked me.

The division leader had one son, John, and two daughters, Jennifer and Caroline. At some banquet Jennifer sat next to me. She was very slim and dark-eyed, rather fancy. She was a student of anthropology at some far away university. As I did not intend to stay in the US and my primary aim was in my experimental work I did not get more acquainted with her although I had the feeling that she was not averse to such an acquaintance. Years later we visited her in Yucatan when on travel through Mexico with my wife. After several more years I learnt from Inez, the division leader’s wife, that Jennifer has become bulky due to some disease. I met Caroline at several occasions in her parents’ house. She impressed me by her obstinacy against her father. In fierce discussions very often she opposed him until he gave up. This free attitude towards the older generation was unknown to me and was definitely trained over many years. My slight interest in her was not answered. Much later I learnt that she lived “in the valley” operating a kernel there together with her lesbian friend. I felt it a pity that such a bright mind would have no real challenge.

After having been alone for quite some time our technician Jim found it timely to pair me with a lady freshly divorced. Clearly, this did not work out as any base to such a relation was absent. Jim’s wife whom he divorced some years later appeared to be fond of me rather openly. However, being disinterested for several reasons, I could escape.

One year, when I was in Los Alamos all by myself, I experienced “sexual harassment” by a secretary with the name Fran who was then married. She approached me from behind and started massaging my neck and shoulders without any advance warning. I made clear to her that I was there to do scientific work and had no time for “anything” else. As Fran had not the appeal of G. A. Keyworth’s Eurasian secretary I did not at all regret my decision.

Why did you have to turn left?

Once, when I was house-sitting in Northern Area of Los Alamos, I started my rental car, a Ford Pinto, in the parking lot next to the street and was about to leave it by turning left. Before I could even think the car span by about 90 degrees counter-clock-wise. It was hit by a pick-up car coming from right about 20 cm back from the front end. Surprisingly, my bag standing on the seat next to me did not move at all. When the police arrived I was still under shock and not able to think clearly. The police man was happy of having a clear case of not yielding to the car coming from right without any discussions with the drivers involved. However, he had a very useful advice for me: "If you had not turned left this accident had not happened!" Even if it looked like a clear case, he had to write a tedious report on this accident.

At night the shock subsided and I started thinking. Thus, the first thing next morning was to go to the place of the accident and to look for evidence of what has happened. Indeed, I found out that the breaking tracks of the pick-up were situated in the middle of the street meaning that the accident did not occur in his lane so that it was not my fault after all. I took photographs of the tracks to be used as evidence of my innocence. Besides I was quite sure that the pick-up went faster than the allowed maximum speed of 30 miles per hour.

Indeed, when my accident came before court, the judge followed my arguments. However, based on the evidence in the police report he asked me if I would settle for a fine of one dollar, more or less for convenience. I agreed to pay this fine. Actually, this accident saved me a little money. My rental car that was fully insured was declared to be a total wreck so that I did not have to return it with the tank full of gasoline. Thus, I paid the fine from the savings by not filling up the tank.

This Ford Pinto car was, according to advertisement, the answer of the USA to the Volkswagen Beetle. Except for the engine which was a German made Ford Taunus engine, this car was the worst I have ever driven. In addition, the workshop needed two sets of wrenches when servicing the car: metric ones for the engine and American ones for the rest. After my experience with this car I started calling my Volkswagen Beetle a car rather than vehicle as done before.

The policeman's advice accompanied me permanently in my later driving. Whenever I have the choice of a longer, less dangerous way than turning left, I remember his advice to avoid dangers as much as feasible.

I had three more encounters with New Mexican policemen.

Once, when driving home from work, in the dark, the street lamps at the bridge connecting the Lab with town seemed to be very dim so that I braked my car down. Promptly I was stopped by a policeman because by radar measurement I was going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone (and not my usual 50 mph!). Being a novice I asked whether it makes any difference in the fine if a pay at once or go to court. There was no difference so that I decided to get most out of my money, i.e., to go to court. This was a very educational experience: the judge, dealing only with traffic offenses, did not pursue the obvious traffic offense if the offender pleaded “not guilty” but settled for a minor offense to which a “guilty” was obtained. Then he ordered the highest possible punishment on this minor offense. When it was my turn, I pleaded guilty making the judge wonder why I came at all. I told him that I was interested to be present at a judicial hearing. Later, the speed limit in this particular part of the street was raised to 35 mph. This made me wonder whether I could get back the amount of the fine paid by me.

The second time was when my foreign driver’s license spared me the fine for speeding which is part of a separate story.

The third time was when, after a break-in into my car, Brigitte’s purse was stolen. It happened at the outskirts of Los Alamos at the entrance to the forest. When returning from our walk in the woods Brigitte’s purse was gone from the trunk of the car. No damage to the car was detectable. The police spent most of the time writing a long report on this event. I found relevant foot prints, made photographs of them and supplied these to the police. It was assumed that “some kids” needing money, possibly for drugs, were behind this burglary.

With some delay (over night) I started thinking: if these kids were just interested in cash they might have thrown the empty purse out of their car window. Thus, I went to the place the next morning and drove slowly towards town. After a few hundred meters I saw the purse in the grove next to the road. It was complete, with wallet but without cash.

Outsourcing of know-how

Measurement of fast neutron cross sections had a long tradition at Los Alamos. Already in the fifties accurate measurements were done by illustrious people like Dick Taschek, Louis Rosen, Ben Diven and many others. Team 4 of P-DO was the experimental fast neutron group in Physics Division. We had one grey eminence, namely John D. Seagrave. He was the only American I met who really cared about the English language. It was not surprising that his desire to do neutron experiments had waned over his long involvement. Thus, I did not pick up any of his experience. Then there was John C. Hopkins, our team leader with connections to Aldermaston, the British Atomic Weapons Establishment, and finally Andrus Niiler, the senior post doc, the son of immigrants from Estonia. I was an absolute greenhorn in this research area. This proved to be quite fruitful because I questioned several habits of this group. The first and easiest thing was the quality of the electronic instrumentation in use. Having electronics as second pillar of my expertise I suggested rather early the acquisition of up-to-date measuring instruments replacing the instruments in use based on germanium technology. Despite the argument that the old stuff is still operating satisfactorily my advice was followed and up-to-date measuring instruments were purchased.

My inquiry whether there was ever a problem with cables connecting the instruments was denied. I was relieved remembering the many faulty cables at my home institution. Until,. when in my second year a fast signal arriving in the Control Room from the experimental area looked strangely, so as if differentiated. A thorough examination of the responsible cable revealed that the pin of the connector had not been soldered to the central conductor, a copper wire of about 4 mm diameter. When in mechanical contact the transmission was correct, if not, the gap between the pin and the wire formed a capacitor allowing the transmission of high frequencies, only, thus the differentiation of the signal! This cable was part of the site, i.e., it had been faulty ever since this installation went into operation.

I remember another case when the team instantly followed my suggestion: at that time (and later, too) neutron scattering cross sections were measured relative to neutron scattering from hydrogen. There were three kinds of reference cross sections to choose from, the predictions of a theoretician of the Lab, by the name Gammel, cross sections evaluated by LRL (Livermore Radiation Laboratory, a forerunner of LLNL(Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and those of Yale University. John must have been an expert on these cross sections because he had, together with the well-known Gregory Breit, published the Hopkins & Breit Tables of the energy and angle dependence of these cross sections. Nevertheless, there was no strict policy which cross sections to use. The only thing that was clear was that Gammel’s prediction was a bad choice. At my suggestion we decided, to stick to one and only one. We chose the YALE cross sections as reference cross sections for future scattering experiments.

The fate of Team 4 developed a strange way: after two years in this position Andy Niiler, being a post doc, had to find another employment, John Seagrave switched to graphics research with the aim to inspect pork automatically by computer for trichina, and John Hopkins started his career in science politics, like being a US representative at the Geneva conferences on disarmament or the like. Thus, it happened that I was all that was left of Team 4, i.e., the collected tradition of this team was concentrated in me. As I had a post-doc position, this tradition left USA with my departure home. Of course, this does not mean that there were no more experiments done with fast neutrons. E.g., at P-3 under the guidance of the grey eminence Ben Diven such work continued, partly with neutrons from underground explosions. And there was the expert for neutron-gamma work, Darrell Drake in this Group. Later on, we two combined our know-how and became very good friends. He was bossing me and I was bossing him. A perfect arrangement!

In the year 1978 which I spent as visiting staff member in Group P-3 I was promptly involved into a neutron scattering experiment being done by an international cooperation of five American, one Swedish, and one French scientist. My arrival was just in time to have them avoid the same mistakes Team 4 did not do any more seven years before. For reasons unknown to me they were using the outdated Gammel predictions as cross section reference values for neutron scattering on hydrogen. Besides, they did not know how to measure properly neutron detection efficiencies, my speciality. I persuaded them to perform a few more efficiency measurements, just to round off their measurements. Fortunately, the information I got out of these data was enough not only to correct up to 10% the energy dependence of the efficiency measured before by them but also to become the backbone of a publication showing and explaining for the first time the contribution of carbon to the neutron detection efficiency. Thus, the experience collected over the years in Team 4 and preserved for six years abroad has returned to the Lab.

Found out in Taos

As I was supposedly a “skiing instructor” I had to investigate the skiing slopes of New Mexico. The first skiing area I visited was the renowned Taos skiing area in Northern New Mexico. The senior post doc of our team, Andy Niiler was so kind as to invite me to accompany them (he, his wife and two sons) when they went there. When entering Taos Ski Valley there was a sign on the right hand of the road, telling you: “You are leaving the American sector”. Soon afterwards we came by the Innsbruck lodge, run by an Austrian. When on the slope, we encountered downhill runs called: “Rübezahl”, ”Walküre”, “Lorelei”, “Edelweiss”, etc. Only, when you went the steepest one, you realized that you were not in Austria because it was called “El muerto”.

As I started skiing at the age of 22 only, I was not a real expert, I never was an elegant skier. But skiing the “El muerto” run or similar ones did not give me any problem. These were my first hours of skiing in the US. Nowadays, Taos Ski Valley is much more developed loosing some of its original intimate charm. It has now many more skiing runs, accommodations and other facilities.

Of course, access to Los Alamos skiing area was much faster. This skiing area is situated on the northern face of Pajarito Mountain, extending to about 3000 m in altitude. It is operated by Los Alamos Skiing Club, i.e., by employees of the Laboratory. Consequently, it was open Saturdays and Sundays, only. Later, an attempt was made to keep it open on Wednesday, too. This did not work out, as most of the people were working full time at the Lab.

The third skiing area I had to inspect was Sandia Skiing Area near Albuquerque, the metropolis of New Mexico. The slope is facing south so that snow will soon be molten by the southern sun, even if the skiing area goes up to an altitude of nearly 3000 m. Skiing there did not incite me to go there again as both the quantity and quality of the snow was not as good as in those other skiing areas, I knew already.

Finally, I tried Santa Fe Ski Basin. This area extends from an altitude of about 3000 m to 3600 m, on western slopes of the Sangre de Christo mountains. After skiing there for a few hours, in a very beautiful landscape with a perfect view of Pajarito and other mountains across the “valley”, I paid my ignorance the next day and the following days. Skiing at this altitude and being exposed to the strong southern sun generated fever blisters all over my two lips as never before or afterwards. I should not do unusual things unprepared! I am afraid this advice was and is lost on me.

First visitor from home

On the occasion of my mother’s 60th birthday in the year 1970 I invited her to visit me in the USA. She combined her travel to New Mexico with a visit of friends in eastern Canada. When I picked her up at Albuquerque International Airport she brimmed over with her narrative of her transatlantic flight. She had English conversation with the guy next to her during all of the flight. And she experienced no communication difficulties what-so-ever although she had never formally learnt English. After the war she had picked up a lot of this language because of the occupation by the British army. Afterwards she had a few occasions to use her English, e.g., when visiting her daughter Dietlind in St. Albans, England. Besides she was an open personality, not being shy at all. When I greeted her at the airport, I realized that my German had rusted. I had not talked German for nearly one year and thus it took quite a while to be fluent again.

The next day she experienced an anticlimax. She was unable to buy milk in the supermarket because she could not make herself understood. Whereas her neighbor in the aeroplane came with her from Europe and was, therefore, used how foreigners speak English, the people in the supermarket have probably never met a foreigner and never experienced English slightly incorrect with a strange accent.

My birthday gift for her was a 6000 km long round-trip with my beetle convertible through the Southwest of the USA. As it was a long journey and time was limited, it was necessary to drive fast for several hours a day. However, my mother abhorred high speeds after experiencing a car accident in her father’s car when a child. Thus, I played a trick on her; by saying: “Look at the speedometer, I am going only seventy”. Being rather sharp my mother realized after a few days that it was 70 mph and not 70 km/h. By then she did not mind the speed any more. We started by going to Gallup to see a performance of Indian Dances. This took us by Black Mesa, Camel Rock and Acoma Pueblo, the “Sky City”, situated on top of a plateau. We visited Newspaper Rock, Petrified Forest National Park, the meteor crater near Winslow and after driving through the Painted Desert we arrived at the North Rim of Grand Canyon. There are much fewer people at the North than at the South Rim. Therefore, it was not difficult to book a one-day trip on mule half-way down into Grand Canyon. Our journey continued to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park and then through Nevada to Las Vegas. At this leg of the trip it was so hot that I shied at stopping the car for taking a photograph. The airflow of driving in an open convertible replaced the air conditioning.

When in an air-conditioned room in Las Vegas, my mother refused to leave the cool room. In the evening I toured Las Vegas and was so impressed by the bright, moving advertising that I convinced my mother to get out for watching it. At that time, it was around midnight, the thermometer still showed 100°F. She was duly impressed by the nightlife in Las Vegas. Next morning I gave her US$ 10,-- for gambling which she spent and we went, after seeing the ghost town Calico, through Mojave Desert to Bakersfield. This road is insofar special as it is a straight road over many miles, hill up and down.

Due to the local refineries in Bakersfield I bought there the cheapest gasoline ever: 0.299 US$ per gallon. As our itinerary was quite cramped my mother had to decide in Bakersfield either to visit Disney Land in Los Angeles or Yellowstone National Park. I was relieved when she chose the latter. Thus we turned north as soon as we reached the Pacific coast near Hearst Castle. By that time I started appreciating the comfort of a car seat made by Volkswagen. It was a rather hard seat. However, even driving several hours without a single stop did not give any problems, neither to me nor my mother. Sitting on it was just perfect.[4] This night we stayed at Big Sur before we continued on to San Francisco. There, the typical unpleasant San Francisco weather greeted us, it was cold (about 10 centigrades), humid and windy. My mother refused to leave the car. Two days before she experienced more than 40 degrees, and now it was only 10! In Oakland we had pleasant weather again. The journey continued on to Sacramento, the capital of California, to Idaho Falls and by the Teton Mountains to Yellowstone National Park. There we saw the usual sights like Yellowstone water falls, Old Faithful, and the other indicators of volcanic activities. We met moose, bison and black bear. Back in Utah we visited Salt Lake City and the Mormon temple there. In the Salt Lake I floated and tried, in vain, to swim. The open copper mine nearby was very impressive due to its hugeness. Going by Dinosaur Park we arrived at the great sand dunes near Vernon. After visiting the narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison that is carved into Granite we came to the Red Mountains and to Silverton in Colorado. After spending the night in Durango we went back to New Mexico, visiting the kiwa in Aztec, and then arrived at Ghost Ranch, just when a huge Dinosaur bone was dug out and prepared for shipment.

On her way to Canada I accompanied my mother to JFK, the main airport of NYC. For administrative reason we had to take different flights and I spent an agitated hour to find her because her flight arrived at a different terminal. The main event in NYC was the ascent onto Empire State Building. Up there, there was an additional attraction: an apparatus produced a phonograph of a spoken message to be sent home. Not understanding this apparatus too well, the main message, my mother sent home, was: “Listen, Manfred, This apparatus does not seem to work!” Then she flew home with the detour over Canada. Her stopover with her friends in Canada was insofar a disappointment as horse-back riding there was not the fun she had anticipated. Not having ridden for a very long time she experienced all kinds of aches. After all, she was beyond sixty!

Fahrenheit meets Celsius

In December 1970 I was getting tired of the blue sky and the bright sun. For about three months I had not seen a single cloud. Thus, when going home to my home state Carinthia for Christmas vacation I enjoyed very much the low hazy sun when skating on Lake Wörth. Returning from my vacation to the US I stopped by my friends in Albuquerque, the Hudson family, to pick up my Beetle convertible which rested with them. It was so cold in New Mexico that my friends gave the opinion that my car would not start after this intermission of two weeks. I ventured my opinion: “This cannot be, my Volkswagen will start for sure!” However, I accepted their invitation to stay overnight. Next morning, my car would not start. Being dragged by my friend’s car it finally started. My car produced a black trace of nearly 10 m length before the back wheels turned and the engine started working. This indicated that not only the battery was too weak but that the axle was solidly frozen. In Los Alamos the thermometer in the Van-de-Graaff building was off scale! It was based on mercury which solidifies at -39 degrees Celsius which quite obviously was the lowest temperature it could measure. In the news they said that the outside temperature was - 40 degrees, be it Fahrenheit or Celsius, as the two scales agree at this particular temperature. Whereas many inhabitants of Los Alamos stood up at night to start the engine of their car to have it warm and working in the morning this was not at all necessary with my car. This extreme cold did not bother me at all, as it was a dry cold and there was no wind. Recently I learnt that my friend Bob Haight experienced quite a similar fate. He reports: “Marian and I returned from visiting family in the East and found that our car, parked in the Albuquerque airport parking lot, would not start. In fact it was frozen solid. We had it towed to a repair station and I think it took about 3 hours for the car to thaw.”

In the winter of 1978/1979 when my mother-in-law stayed with us in Los Alamos after having lost her husband, the outside temperature in Los Alamos dropped to -25 degrees Celsius. In the morning I decided to leave the car at home and to walk to the Laboratory. At that time I had a full beard because my wife Brigitte wanted me to. When I arrived at work, somebody was exclaiming:”Santa Claus is coming, Santa Claus is coming!” My beard was full of ice and I myself was snowed over so that I was a timely sight. Next day, my car did not start. I had to warm the battery up to get it going. If I had used my car the day before, this would, probably, not have been necessary.

Never again I experienced such low temperatures. However, in this dry climate it was not very unpleasant when outdoors.

Another visitor from home

In the year 1971 my later wife Brigitte came to the US to visit me. Starting out from Albuquerque we saw the important places in southern New Mexico: White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, City of the Rocks etc., and then we visited among others Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Las Vegas. As usual the weather was very obliging and Brigitte was quite impressed by the splendor of the landscape.

However, the highlight of her visit was an individual package prepared by American Express for Hawaii. It included flights, accommodation and rental car on the four main islands of Hawaii. While I was on this trip my sister Rotraut stayed together with her husband Georg in my apartment in Los Alamos. They used my car to travel around in the Southwest. I took advantage of the then liberal travel policy of the Lab: I could mix official and private travel. On my way to a meeting in Seattle I flew on official travel to Los Angeles and then privately to Oahu and later to Seattle.

The stay in Hawaii started with our arrival at Honolulu Airport. We were greeted by receiving the usual “lei” made from orchids. The hotel was very good and we had a gorgeous room with balcony overlooking Waikiki. Diamond Head greeted from far. First thing I did in Honolulu was to eat one pineapple all by myself. Afterwards my lips burned from the fruit acid. Being young enough we enjoyed even unsophisticated jokes. We had the front page of a Honolulu newspaper printed with the headline “Brigitte wins shortest bikini contest” to send home. On one excursion with the car we saw a replica of a Japanese temple made of concrete instead of wood with ponds full of goldfish. As I learnt later that Japanese, although very heritage oriented, enjoy replicas as much as the original piece of art. With a hop by the local airline that cost US$ 5 from the island Oahu we came to the island Kauai. This island is moderately large. It even has a railroad from the times when cane was the main (agricultural) product of Hawaii. Our hotel was extremely nice. Kauai has beautiful beaches which we enjoyed. In addition, they have a canyon reminiscent of Grand Canyon. Again a US$ 5 hop to the next island: Maui. By then Brigitte had an overload of splendid sights so that she did not want to ascent the high mountain on Maui where a scientific observatory could be visited. Thus we took it easy and relaxed. The final hop, again for US$ 5 per person, took us to the largest island, Hawaii. There, the volcano had been active just when we arrived on Oahu. Consequently, the lava, emitted a few days ago from the crater, had solidified but was still quite hot. One highlight of this island was a luau on the western side of the island, called Kona. This traditionally prepared pork came from a pig filled with very hot stones, wrapped into Palm leaves and kept buried for several hours. Not only was this meat one of the best I ever had, the beverage that went with it was heavenly. After this feat we drove to the airport. Brigitte left for San Francisco, and I, after another hop back to Oahu (Honolulu Airport), flew to the Meeting in Seattle. The dinner of this meeting was a barbeque at a waterfront. There, I was offered clam chowder and grilled salmon. I would not eat the clam chowder, saying a German proverb in English: “What a farmer does not know he would not eat!” I am sure my American colleagues did not understand how one could refuse to eat clam chowder. Going back to Los Alamos I made a stopover in San Francisco, where Brigitte waited for my return from Seattle. Among others she took advantage of her stay by visiting nearby Yosemite National Park, one of the few sights I never had before or afterwards. From San Francisco we flew together back to Albuquerque, and then went to Los Alamos.

When, in February 1972, when my post doc position at the Lab ended, Brigitte came again, to make sure that I would return to Vienna, as we said jokingly. This time we flew for vacation to Acapulco. Acapulco was so disappointing that we moved from there to Puerto Marques where we spent our holidays in a lovely hotel next to a beach which was used by the locals. On the way back we stopped at Miami Airport to pick up the rest of my luggage that I had sent there by air freight. From there the home trip went to the Bahamas and with Bahama Airlines to Shannon Airport on Ireland, with the final destination Luxemburg. From Luxemburg to Vienna we took the train.

A rookie on travel

After having lived in the state New Mexico for a few years I made, together with my wife Brigitte, a trip to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. Out of convenience (or laziness), I never did overly prepare my travel, be it overseas or local. Of course, I knew that out-of-state personal checks would not be cashed. In Flagstaff I realized that the Grand Canyon was not at all in New Mexico. Thus, I could not use my checks and ran out of cash. Desperately, I entered the First National Bank there and asked to speak with the president. I was lead to a friendly lady whom I explained my hassle. By chance I had a letter of recommendation by the Fulbright Commission with me, saying that I am a foreign Fulbright scholar and asking to help me if feasible. After a while the lady made a telephone call to the First National Bank in Los Alamos and after being told that there was plenty of money on my account I, thankfully, could cash in a check for enough money to cover this trip.

However, another mishap could have happened on this trip. We nearly stranded in the nowhere of New Mexico! Being inside New Mexico’s state borders I could freely use my checks. Being near the Indian Reservation, lots of fine Indian craft was on display seducing my wife to buy several nice pieces, using up all my checks. I just had enough cash to buy the fuel I needed to go home. Near Cuba, New Mexico, I passed a car as fast as I could and was therefore speeding. Suddenly, a siren and a flashing light were behind me. Obediently, I stopped at once at the right curb. I was aware that the cost of a fine would reduce my budget so much that I could not buy the fuel needed to cover the last 100 km to Los Alamos. I opened the window to talk to the police man who just asked: ”Foreign driver’s licence?” Instantly, I felt elated. This question indicated that the policeman would shy of writing a report involving a foreign driver’s licence. Writing the extensive report was bad enough but having, in addition, to deal with a foreign driver’s licence was a night mare. A foreign driver’s license was quite incomprehensible for an average American police officer. Thus, he just admonished me and I, much relieved, made it back to Los Alamos all right.

Seeing Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, one of the greatest touristic attractions, is situated in Arizona, a neighbor state of New Mexico. From Los Alamos one can drive to the South Rim in about seven and a half hours, to the North Rim it takes nine and a half hours. The South Rim (at an altitude of about 2100 m) is most popular so that some attractions there must be booked one year or more ahead of the visit. It is even accessible by railway via the town of Flagstaff. The North Rim is about 300 m higher so that in winter an abundance of snow requires that it be closed to tourism. The access is solely by car via St. George in Utah (or by foot through the Canyon).

The Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River over millions of years, has a width between 6 and 30 kilometers and a depth up to 1800 m. This difference in altitude results in a variety of climatic zones, e.g., during the summer months it will become very hot down in the canyon with pleasant temperatures at the rims, in particular at the North Rim.

For any visitor of the Southwest Grand Canyon is a must of a sight-seeing tour. Thus, I managed to have this great sight quite often, at first with my mother at the North Rim. There we booked a one-day tour on mules that brought us down about half-way to the bottom. One advantage of using a mule when going down into the Canyon is that your mouth is further away from the trail surface so that the amount of dust you breathe (often mixed with excrements of many mules that have used the trail before) is considerably less. This was the first time I sat on such an animal. When the party started, my mule decided to head a different way than the others. I was lost because there was neither a steering wheel nor a brake to be found. Some person on the ground then lead the animal into the right direction and the mule followed the others, as expected. This ride was no special revelation to me. However, to my mother it was special because it reminded her of her rides with her horse when she was young.

Late one year, when my rental car was an American mid-size car, I took the Hudson family from Albuquerque to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. To avoid a bad surprise I had made reservations at a lodge to be sure to get accommodation. Nevertheless, this trip proved to be eventful, partly because I was not fully used to drive American cars. Suddenly I noticed that the fuel supply as shown by the fuel meter was rather low. Being in the middle of nowhere and not at all close to a place where I could expect a gas filling station I started being very concerned but tried to keep this circumstance to myself. I am quite sure, the fellow passengers were not aware of this potential problem. I started driving with special emphasis on low fuel consumption, high gear but not too fast, driving downhill without the help of the engine etc. Thus, I made it to the next gas filling station without the passengers realizing that there has been the danger of being stalled in the middle of nowhere. However, my travel has been slowed down so that I arrived after the dead line of my reservation. At least, it looked like it. In reality, there was no problem at all, because Arizona was in a different time zone saving us one hour. After a short time the grandeur of the sight of Grand Canyon diminished my anxiety during the trip.

One year at the end of July I drove with my later wife Brigitte to North Rim because of the crowdedness of the South Rim. After arrival I noticed that two-day mule trips to Phantom Ranch at the Colorado River down at the bottom of Grand Canyon were offered. At inquiry we learnt that these trips are not offered during June and July due to the heat at the bottom of the Canyon. In addition, the minimum size of a party taken there was three persons. As we arrived on July 31st and we could afford to pay for the third person we could take the trip starting next morning. Our mules had the name Marilyn and Caroline, resp., and the guide’s name was Gaby. Near Veil Fall, about half-way down the Canyon, Gaby told as that the last guests before us who took this tour did so seven years ago. We did not care. After some while I could make my mule go faster which was not at all what Gaby wanted. It proved to be a very memorable ride.

At arrival at the Phantom Ranch after having ridden my mule for several hours I was so stiff that I had to be lifted from the animal. Surprisingly, going back was different. On arrival at the rim I could dismount in an orderly way.

In the year 1978 my brother Otto and my sister Dietlind visited to be present at the baptism of my daughter Roswitha in nearby Santuario de Chimayo. To show my sister the great views of the Southwest we took her on a trip in our VW Rabbit. On the way to Las Vegas we came by the North Rim of Grand Canyon. There the views were already quite familiar to me, but still splendid.

My next visit in the year 1993, again of the North Rim, was a family affair. My family of four made a sightseeing tour of the Southwest, together with my sister-in-law Silvia and her daughter Elisabeth. At that time my rental car was a Mercury Sable that was just big enough for three adults and three kids. All were duly impressed by the sight, in particular by the sun-set illuminated Wotan’s Throne.

I became so familiar with this spectacular natural monument that I stopped counting my visits. There is an unexplained feeling inside me that I have been there more often than I seem to remember in detail. In particular, I believe to have been at the South Rim at least twice. From there I should have taken a flight into the Canyon which I did not book because I used to have a thrifty lifestyle.

Greenhorns on horseback

In the year 1993 my sister-in-law Silvia and her daughter joined my family for an exploration of the Southwest. Most unusual was Canyon Lands National Park because it was least developed and therefore especially charming. When staying at its access town Moab in Utah I read a short note about rides into the prairie on horse back being offered by a riding stable. Being interested I called the telephone number supplied and said: “A party of six greenhorns, half of them kids, would like to ride into the prairie. I am afraid, they do not know how to ride. Would that be a problem?” I got the following answer: “After they return they will know how to ride.” I was not sure whether this meant that only a selection of those who learnt riding would return. Nevertheless, we drove to this riding stable, moun­ted horses and off we went. Silvia felt quite uneasy, because she was an expert rider and saw her relatives being thrown off, lying on the ground. However, the riding stable knew its business and, obviously, had supplied us with the friendliest animals they had available.

Everybody in the party (with exception of Silvia) had liked that the ride had lasted much longer because it was such an exceptional experience. But going next to Arches National Park was a welcome diversion.

Testing Mountain School in Los Alamos

At my frequent visits to Los Alamos I took my family, my wife Brigitte, my daughter Roswitha, and my son Bernhard, with me whenever advisable, i.e., if my stay was noticeable longer than one month. Roswitha would then attend Mountain School, either elementary school or later Junior High School. The school authorities were quite obliging: when it came to the missing vaccination of Roswitha against rubella. They were satisfied with a medical statement from Vienna and disregarded this requirement in her case.

At Mountain School outdoors was an integral part of the school. Students would spend their free time in fresh air. At the same time students in Vienna were not allowed to go outdoors because they might carry some dirt into the school. My impression was that in Austrian schools housekeeping came first, whereas in Los Alamos the well-being of the students came first.

Roswitha adjusted easily to American school life, she even was allowed to fly the American flag first thing in the morning. After all she was American citizen by birth. When it came to orthography she outshone most other students. At a school-wide competition for the spelling bee she was third. The first two would go for the state-wide competition.

Bernhard, who is nearly five years younger, had the first school day of his life at Mountain Elementary School. He did not know a single word of English. Besides he had not attended preschool where the children were taught how to write. The latter was not known to us. Not knowing any English his first impression of an American school did not come as a surprise: “These American children are so loud!” At noon we took him out of school to have lunch together. After ten days at school he said to us:”There is no need any more for you to have lunch with me. By now I know enough English to come around.” Picking English up from the other children he took over their kind of speaking so that at the farewell party at R. F. Taschek’s home (he was leader of Physics Division) Dick exclaimed: “Bernhard, you are talking such a fine English.” To our displeasure he picked up the Austrian accent as soon as he was taught English at school in Vienna. Children adjust so well to their environment! Bernhard taught himself how to write and he was so pleased by this ability that he also started writing in German (phonetically). Each morning he put a short letter under the door of his parent’s sleeping room. We very much enjoyed these letters. Even more so his fantasy stories about a figure called “Uhu Schreibtisch” (eagle-owl writing desk).

Both children liked to stay in Los Alamos and in the USA. They experienced rare adventures, like horse-back riding into the prairie for a good hour, or to be on the back of a pick-up truck borrowed from Darrell on the way into the woods to cut the Christmas tree. That year it was a silver fir. Years later we had one in our garden. Again we cut it for Christmas. This time no pick-up was needed. In no other year we had a silver fir for a Christmas tree.

Breaching Security Regulations involuntarily

Being a foreigner in an open area of the Lab there was no need of obtaining a Q-clearance which gave access to secret information. Never-the-less I was involved in three cases of breaching the security regulations unwillingly.

At the beginning of my work in Los Alamos was a medical examination (behind the fence, i.e. in the secret area). I was taken there by a security guide, and returned the same way. Years later, when I returned to work in Los Alamos as a Visiting Staff Member the same procedure was chosen. Soon afterwards they obviously had learnt the correct procedure: when I wanted to see the doctor, a prior permission from Washington was now obligate except for cases of emergencies, i.e., when I was unable to move. Thus, they obviously had learned to handle cases of uncleared employees in the Lab.

The third case was when I was involved in an experiment measuring the scattering of fast neutrons from Plutonium-242. I was told that our sample contained all the Plutonium-242 that was available in the USA. Like all the other experimenters I took the sample from the safe to its scattering position and back. Only years later I learned that this sample was classified material which I should not have handled without proper supervision.

People with Q-clearance had a Z-number on their identification badge. I had only a guest badge which was red and had the number 33 indicating that there were not too many guests before me. As wearing this badge was of no benefit to me, I was slack in wearing it until I was told always to wear it because it signals to the others that I am a potential spy. However, in later years, I found out that there was a Z-number, namely Z-87616, erroneously assigned to me. To check its validity, I tried it once when my American friend had to fill up the government car we were using. And really, we could get the gasoline at the Lab-owned gas pump using my Z-number. It showed that it was active.

Found out as member of the establishment.

In the year 1970, Team 4 of P-DO of then LASL attended the Symposium on Polarization Phenomena in Nuclear Reactions, at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. A rather short time before that Symposium the accelerator of this University has been bombed, with two fatalities. Strolling through the Campus together with the team leader John C. Hopkins some dilapidated person, supposedly a student, asked us: "Are you from FBI?", probably because we were formally dressed. As a foreigner I did not see how I could be with the FBI so I answered right away: "No, from INTERPOL."

John liked this episode so much that he still remembers it after 48 years.

No interest in nuclear weaponry?

As was to be expected from a skiing instructor my interest in nuclear weaponry was non existent. This was the more surprising, as the colleagues of the Group that invited me in later years, were responsible for testing the “devices” at the Nuclear Underground Test Site in Nevada. At the same time my colleagues were doing “open” research, e.g., with me and were involved in secret operations “behind the fence”. From time to time they flew with a DC-3 of the US government (represented by DOE, Department of Energy) from Los Alamos Airport to Mercury in Nevada to be taken to Test Site. There, the nuclear devices were several hundred meters down in a bore hole. For a rather short time after the blast, a unique highest intensity neutron source was available, allowing multiple neutron interactions with the same nucleus. The experiments one could perform were a real challenge in measuring technique. For a very short time a dazzling multiplicity of neutron reactions took place that had to be analyzed. On earth there is no other type of neutron source available, providing a comparable neutron flux. Although the procedure is straight forward, it deserves some explanation, the more as this is no secret at all.

After the detonation of the device in a depth of several hundred meters, electromagnetic radiation (e.g., light, gamma rays) produced by the explosion will escape the bore hole promptly; then, the highest energy neutrons and at last thermal neutrons. Therefore, from their relative escape time distribution one gets the neutron energy distribution. However, even if the identification of the primary neutron energy is rather straightforward, the analysis of the individual (secondary) neutron reactions is very demanding because of high count rates due to the high neutron fluxes involved. This requires specific instrumentation and unique measuring techniques not needed anywhere else.

After the neutrons of interest had escaped, the bore hole gets blocked by means of a radial implosion. Thus no radioactivity generated by the device can escape the bore hole to infest the environment. However, the enormous heat produced by the explosion will melt the soil (and rock) surrounding the device. As melted mass will be more compact than the original soil, the ground above it will fall in, producing a crater. These craters which have been documented frequently are evidence of underground (nuclear) explosions.

It is clear that equipment located above the bore hole must be moved beyond the expected edge of the crater before the ground collapses. Thus there will be tracks for moving the equipment swiftly out and conveniently in.

At two occasions, insider information became known to me. The first one was, when a shot failed, i.e., the device could not be exploded, for a simple and very stupid reason: the firing cable was lying across a track and was broken in the process of bringing the equipment in position above the bore hole. One could feel from the excitement in the Group that something unusual has happened. Later, this device was detonated by another device for which a new hole had to be bored. Safety first!

The second time I experienced a similar excitement, was when at a shot measuring equipment belonging to the Group of value in excess of one million dollars got lost. The reason for that was the wrong idea that something that had always worked with vertical bore holes should also work with horizontal ones. Much later, NASA lost Mars-Orbiter-1 for an akin reason: some part from a moon mission was used in this mars mission without adaptation. This mistake cost NASA about one billion dollars. The idea, to detonate devices in mountains instead of underground appears at first glance a good one, because a horizontal bore hole is much cheaper than a vertical one. However, the detonation closing the horizontal bore hole was too late, so that all the equipment got lost, as far as I understood the situation.

Many years later, when meeting my team leader of the first years, John C. Hopkins, he asked me whether I would like to visit Nevada Test Site. He was quite positive that he could arrange that despite my not having a security clearance. However, I had so little interest that I declined. Since, at that time he was Associate Director of the Lab for Nuclear Weapons Research, his offer must have been substantial. Today I wonder whether the headline could have been: Austrian skiing instructor inspects American nuclear underground test site.

An experimentalist outshines computer experts

In September 1972, at my first visit after termination of my post doc employment in Physics Division of LANL, I was asked to get the computer code MAGGIE going again because the experts at CCF (Central Computing Facility) were unable to do so. The code did not work because of the change of the operating system of the central computers from IBM computers to the more powerful CDC machines. This was a substantial change involving even the data structure, the CDC machines having the very unusual number of 20 bits. I was completely stunned, thinking: “How on earth should I, a physics experimentalist, succeed when the computer experts did not? However, I do not want to jeopardize my renewed relation to the Lab, thus, let me have a try.” It was especially odd to ask someone who is not cleared to work on a computer code which requires interaction with CCF in the classified area. This made work much more difficult.

After having verified that the output of the code was unreasonable, I started simplifying the source code by replacing special features, so that there would not be some hidden problem. After removing all overlays by taking out all EQUIVALENCE statements from the FORTRAN source code, the code MAGGIE suddenly worked as it should. This was some boost in my reputation.

Working in a land of plenty

Not even in Japan I experienced such a good technical and administrative support as in Los Alamos. Not to mention my home institution, the University of Vienna. Jim Martin, the technician assigned to Team 4 was special. He always knew where to get things and whom to contact to get something done. When we worked together to setup the experiment, he often called me “calibrated eyeball” because when he was measuring some length I told him before hand how much this length would be. I was really good in estimating lengths. We could use him as if he were a staff member rather than a technician, even in overseeing the experiment. Years later he actually became staff member at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque.

Jim Martin made me dress casually. At the beginning I came to work the way I was used at the University of Vienna; in dress suit and tie. Jim Martin made so long fun of me until I dressed casually. This habit I kept also in Vienna and I am not wearing ties, except for very special occasions, even now.

At the beginning I was at invitations the only one with a tie, until I had an invitation, where I was the only one informally dressed. From this time on, I had always a tie ready in my breast pocket. (When you get a written invitation, you should better have a tie!)

The first online computer I came across in the experimental area was exceptional fast and rather convenient. When it was replaced I did not care to use the newly acquired one. As usually, there were lots of problems with the new system so that I used the old system as long as possible. When I finally used the new system for the first time it quit working right away due to a bug in the system unknown until then.

Personally, I was spoiled by the financial support and the rental car that was provided. In particular, I appreciated to be able to attend scientific meetings all over the country with all expenses paid. Once, I was sent to Cape Canaveral to observe the launch of a Titan rocket that lifted into space an instrument built in Los Alamos. With my knowledge of electronics I had been able to contribute to this instrument.

The “devilish” tritium

At IBF it was standard procedure to use tritium gas in a gas target to produce neutrons by the p-T, d-T or (in special cases) by the t-T reaction. Tritium gas was rather easily available at LANL, being a nuclear weapons lab. It is radioactive and somewhat dangerous for living creatures as it gets exchanged in the body with standard hydrogen so that it gets accumulated.

Thus, it was obvious (and regulation) never to touch things that may be contaminated by tritium. Just once, our technician Jim was sloppy by not using gloves when repairing the inside of the neutron beam-line. It has been used for triton beams as well and was, therefore, contaminated. Although he was very fast in doing his work, he picked up so much tritium that the urinanalysis showed such a high level of tritium that he had to be reported to the director of the Lab. By drinking lots of beer he got rid of the contamination faster than anticipated.

My personal experience was less spectacular. During the night shift (of course!) it happened that the tritium gas target broke releasing several Curies of tritium into the atmosphere, i.e., into the experimental area of the Vertical Machine. Of course, all radiation monitors in the building got wild. (After all, we used a very good installation.) The SOP (safe operating procedure) said that to vent the building a certain lever had to be turned. However, this was done without any obvious result. Thus, I decided to open the windows in said experimental area. To that end I had to enter the building with the heavily contaminated air in it. I did avoid breathing as well as I could, opened the windows and left the room. A successful brute force approach! It was the more successful, as my unrinanalysis did not show any remarkable amount of tritium! I learnt later that the hydrogen-tritium exchange with the body was enhanced be about a factor of 1000 if tritiated water was involved. As in the atmosphere all things are covered by a water film, Jim dealt with tritiated water whereas I was exposed to gaseous tritium only. The incorporation of trtium by way of tritiated water through the skin was much more effective than that of tritium gas through the lungs. The dry air in Los Alamos could have been helpful, too.

In the aftermath of this event the SOP was changed by the safety people: it now said that before turning the lever one should observe whether the air pressure operating the vent was high enough. I am sure this new SOP had not made any difference except for the prompt knowledge to be on my own.

Years later there was an article by a health scientist in Los Alamos Science intended for laymen on the effect of tritium on humans. It said a human could lie in a bath tub filled with tritiated water for a full day without getting any adverse effects. This is so much in contradiction to my personal experience that I made an overseas call from Vienna to this colleague at LANL. His excuse was that it was not him but an editor of the Lab who has written this contribution to Los Alamos Science. With this background I started doubting everything published there. In particular the story of Plutonium workers who were screened for the rest of their life without showing any radiation effects. What a pity!

Electronics in aid of experimental physics

Even if physics was the main pillar of my experience, my expertise in electronics came handy rather often. As mentioned before I had attained a solid knowledge of electronics through my thesis work and the co-authorship of the Textbook on Nuclear Electronics. Thus, I modified and designed electronic equipment tailored to meet our specific experimental requirements. It was easy to adapt the time range of a standard time-to-amplitude converter to a wider range, as required to match the time distance between consecutive beam pulses. Soldering a mica capacitor of the correct capacity in parallel to the existing one, did the job. It was wonderful, to have an extensive stock of all kinds of electronic components at my disposal without any administrative work associated with it. Much more elaborate was the modification of a $ 40000.-- digital clock to provide the optimum time range.

I designed a beam sentinel to halt the data taking during times the accelerator beam faded Further a circuit to increase the dynamic range of a neutron-gamma discriminator which I even published. For the Martian sand experiment I built a circuit to suppress after-pulses of the photomultiplier. For the spallation experiment I made one working ADC out of two broken ones. In addition, I spared time, cost and potential bother by repairing the gating of two newly acquired instruments, replacing a broken transistor by an appropriate one taken from a drawer nearby, rather than having the instruments returned to the manufacturer. This way I improved either the experimental set up or spared some time at the expense of little material cost and not very much time on my part. Actually, my repairing newly acquired instruments would have been a horror to any narrow-minded administrator because it voided the warranty. However, the instruments were not so expensive that warranty really mattered and, besides when needed there was sufficient know-how available in the Lab to have this instrument going again without warranty.

Quality control is left to the customer

Nowadays, nearly everybody has learnt that, in particular, computer codes are made available without being tested thoroughly. The responses of the customers are used to check them out. One maker of electronic instruments, namely ORTEC, has used this method already decades before. The following information I had picked up somewhere. It said that one third of newly bought ORTEC instruments would have a defect. When, at my request, the instrumentation of our experiment was modernized by replacing the instruments based on germanium technology by up-to-date equipment based on silicon technology six of these instruments were ordered from ORTEC. After unpacking the instruments and checking them, two of them did not work properly. In both cases the instrument could not be gated. I had the choice, either to return these two instruments to the purchasing department of the Laboratory that would return these instruments to the manufacturer for replacement which means that for several weeks they would not be available. Or, being apt in repairing electronic instruments, I could repair them myself in less than 15 minutes by locating the failed transistors and replacing them with transistors of even better specifications by fishing them out of a drawer located on site. Thus, it paid off that I had acquired a sound understanding of electronics. We could use all six instruments right a way.

Several years later, when a colleague in Vienna bought three ORTEC instruments I predicted that one of them would be broke right at delivery. Also in this case I was right.

Manfred, the exact

One day I met a scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at a party in White Rock, a suburb of Los Alamos. When I was introduced to him he exclaimed: “So, you are Manfred, the exact”. Of course, I was very much tickled when I learnt that my fame has reached LLNL, another nuclear weapons laboratory.

There was good reason for being acknowledged as fast neutron physicist who measured cross sections as accurate as probably nobody else. The accuracy of my data approached 1% even if I never claimed to have reached this limit. Compared to what Ms. Leona Stewart of the nuclear data evaluation group told me, the greenhorn, about neutron data, when I had just arrived from Europe and did not know much of fast neutron measurements, this was a different world. Actually, she said: “So, you are measuring fast neutron data. You soon will find out that fast neutron data cannot be reproduced.” This made me check the reproducibility of my measurements. Clearly, even over years it was better than 0.5%. This number could have been considerably smaller, if the counts in both measurements had been greater than 4 million counts, for which I did not see any need.

The decisive step was to determine the neutron counting efficiency of the detector as precise as possible. At my suggestion we spent several weeks of machine time to measure it. After that we probably had a neutron detector with the then best-known efficiency of the world.

In addition, I tried to use accurate standards for calibrating my measuring system. I found those in the highly accurate charged particle data of Nelson Jarmie of the neighbor team. By using all three sets of his data my neutron data approached the accuracy of his data. This intercomparison of all three data sets in the course of my measurements allowed me to state that one of these data sets was too high in scale by (4.3±2.5)%. Actually, my actual accuracy was more like ±1.5% which at that time nobody would have believed. Nelson Jarmie, an outstanding physicist who was kind enough to teach the newcomer in the field, me, some of his exceptional knowledge, was man enough, not to argue that a neutron physicist could never, never measure more accurate than he, a charged particle physicist, a notion even I had. Instead he remeasured these data, mainly because the previous ones were not taken by him personally but by a thesis student of him. The new data, as far as I could use them in my work, were actually 4.3% higher! Thus, I disproved the negative notion of Ms. Stewart.

It was not really surprising that my exceptionally accurate data became the object of plagiarism. In two cases this was only too obvious. Of course, I was annoyed but to follow this up at some length seemed to me an unproductive way of spending my time.

On the reliability of experimental data

Unluckily the correctness of any data cannot be proved, all that can be done is to disprove data (or theories), as Sir Karl Popper stated already in the thirties of the twenties century. Nevertheless, experimental physicists, probably like all humans, believe in some data or not. As a foreigner it came as surprise to me that my American colleagues collectively tended to neglect foreign experimental results. Some even said: “If it was not measured in Los Alamos, it is not worth our attention.” Even if you do not go along with this attitude, you will understand it, if you have done research at LANL. The resources are abundant and the physicists are very knowledgeable. Never-the-less there are papers originating in Los Alamos that are simply wrong. E.g., one investigates the effect of beam heating in gas targets not taking the effect of the dead volume into account. It uses my own data to corroborate the conclusions in this paper as proof. It did not help that I protested. In another case data, supposedly reduced by some students at the home institution of a guest professor, were internally inconsistent by 40%, i.e., obviously wrong. But these, too, were published.

There are cases of wrong data that should be recognized by any knowledgeable person. Unfortunately, the ill-fated original publication on cold fusion in the renowned journal Nature was not reviewed by a nuclear physicist and was, therefore, accepted, starting a yearlong hype among scientists eager to find this all-important effect. From the poor measurement details given in the paper any experimental nuclear physicist would have recognized that the reported nuclear “measurements” did not stand up to any measurement standard if they were not even faked.

Nowadays, it is quite clear that the reliability of data is characterized by their uncertainty, in accordance with a statement of Richard P. Feynman, a 1965 Physics Nobel Prize winner, that modern science is characterized by uncertainty.

The importance of experience in experimental work

I am talking here of individually performed experiments by a small team of physicists. The situation is completely different in large scale research where each step in an experiment must be done according to a well-established schedule. Besides, I dismiss routine experiments to gain data just for replenishing the amount of certain data. A “real” experiment has always a stimulus of the unknown. In such cases one would perform a “preexperiment” to get acquainted with (some of the) problems that might arise. Obviously, one cannot count on experience as traditionally understood. It is not routine or even volubleness in experimenting but rather more having a sixth sense in avoiding coarse mistakes or rash misinterpretations of situations or results. It is more like having a feeling for the problem at hand. If one has reached a higher level in the art of experimenting one would celebrate an experiment rather than performing it. I never had an inkling that I had reached such a stage. However, rather often I was saved from a mishap by what looked like chance. As these chances definitely had no stochastic properties they must have had a bias due to the way I carried out the experiment (or was it providence favoring me?). One part of it is the provision of enough redundant data available enabling me to save an experiment that looks like it had failed. A second feature is a permanent stress because of the presumption of having overlooked something. I do not remember a single experiment at which I could lean back in expectation that a stream of data will just arrive as anticipated. Being always on alert and prepared to jump in as needed was my usual mental state during an experiment, possibly not much different from an artist at work. Doing experiments is in its own way as creative as doing arts.

Being used to question everything that was not plausible to me, I always questioned my own results as well. When not completely satisfied with my result, I would even present it with the accompanying statement, “it is correct, unless I have overlooked some effect”. At least once, this remark spared me the disgrace of having published wrong data without questioning them. Questioning my measured results often lead to some kind of detective work. Thus, I found out that the liquid scintillator having been used by our team for neutron detection over many years was not of the type NE218 but rather NE213, even if the delivery document said differently. Also, when interpreting spectra often the ingenuity of a detective is required. Thus, I could trace an unfamiliar structure in the neutron energy spectrum of the t-T interaction to a temporary existence of the exotic particle 4H. To understand what you are doing in an experiment, you must permanently interact with the set-up and the incoming data flow, you must possess keen investigative abilities.

Are there scientific instincts?

According to my instinct, searching literature to find an acceptable description of the phenomenon scientific instinct would be lost time. Like prejudices, instinct is the mental analogon to a bodily reflex. Surprisingly, I do not remember to ever having trained my reflex to catch things falling off a table. I have the impression this reflex is innate. As probably everybody knows, a reflex may be “wrong”. You would automatically try to catch even very hot items falling off the table, causing burns in your hand. Likewise, one cannot expect that an instinct or a prejudice is correct all the time. However, sometimes they offer essential shortcuts by bypassing often tedious reasoning which would not always succeed. (Try to catch an item falling off the table consciously. It will hit the floor before you are able to make a decision!) It is essential scientific practice to assign (at least mentally) confidence levels to findings due to their origin.

Whereas prejudices are the result of repeated similar experiences, the origin of instincts remains in the dark. Evidently not everybody will have the same instincts developed the same way which seems to be, however, the case for bodily reflexes. For me it appears unlikely that a scientific instinct will develop without exposure to science. If that is so, one wonders if one should not speak of experience rather than instinct. However, an instinct can help in a situation unknown up to the moment it occurs, experience can not. (Experimenting with thermal neutrons is not aided by experience obtained by measuring fast neutrons. The behavior differs too much.) On the other hand you would not expect instinct to occur in a field where no experience at all is present. Nowadays, one would search for the DNA sequence responsible for instinct. Such a finding would be impossible to doubt.[5] 

Lowlanders at high altitude

When I came to Los Alamos I was prepared for “the desert”, as my Austrian boss and later friend Peter Weinzierl said. Actually, Los Alamos lies on a high plateau, called mesa. I was not aware of that. However, every day after having had lunch in the cafeteria I had the irrepressible urge to take a nap. As the doors of all offices were open all the time I had to find a corner in the room where the view from the hall way was obstructed. It took quite a while to realize that my sleepiness was just the result of the thin air at the altitude of 2400 m where the air pressure is just about two thirds of what it is in Vienna.

Dave, a visiting professor of physics from Eugene, Oregon, used to brag: “When I will be home at Eugene, I will be able to drink more alcohol than anybody else there!” He had a very impressive curriculum. Already his figure indicated that originally he was a lumber jack. The US navy made it possible for him to study physics. At the end he was appointed to become a professor of physics at the university at Eugene. I always had the feeling that he approached physics problems the way lumber jacks would do. Before any discussion could really start, he would say: “You are wrong!” I felt it a waste of time to insist on a discussion and would rather leave him alone with his wrong ideas. One example of his missing “refinement“ was his publication on the effect of beam-heating in gas targets. I could show by a short calculation that his reasoning was flawed. He should have believed me because he was even using data measured by me to prove his point. Sir Karl Popper’s ground breaking ideas that you can only disprove but never prove the correctness of something was obviously lost on him. An agreement of experimental results with some predicted values may just be coincidental and cannot be considered as proof.

In March 1978 Brigitte, my wife, came from Europe to spend the rest of the year with me in Los Alamos. Even before unpacking the luggage, she said: “I would like to go for a walk” Obediently I took her to Quemazon Trail that started right behind our house and led into the woods. After less than 100 m of walking, she declared that she would like to return because of her tiredness. As she was pregnant, she needed lots of oxygen which she could not spend on exercise.

In the second year of my first stay, being very well adjusted to the thinner air in Los Alamos, I set out to ascend Mount Wheeler, the highest peak of New Mexico, with an altitude of more than 4000 m. This sounds much more ambitious than it really was. I could drive my car up to a rather high place. From there it was more or less a walk over not too steep pastures. The only challenge was the even thinner air. Thus, I made one step up and then paused for breathing twice which resulted in a rather slow ascent. As it happened, we could make two peaks above 4000 m this afternoon because Mount Walter was just on the way. Descending was much, much faster without any additional breathing. Being conditioned to thin air by living rather long at an altitude of 2400 m, made it easier for me to breath at 4000 m. It seems, being conditioned once to thin air you will profit from it for many, many years. Thus, at none of my later visits to Los Alamos I was sleepy due to the thin air, even 30 years later!

Meeting other foreign scientists

In my early American years I did not meet any foreigners at the Lab. After the medium energy accelerator LAMPF started operation, the situation changed noticeable. The presence of foreign scientists, partly accelerator experts became quite common. In addition, cooperation between group P-3 and the French nuclear research center at Bruyeres-le Chatel brought French scientists to Los Alamos and American ones to France.

I met several visiting scientists from Sweden. One of the first such visitors was Conde who cooperated before my time with my team leader John Hopkins. They worked, as I did later myself, at the Van-de-Graaffs. It was not very easy to get machine time assigned at these accelerators and when, then it meant 24 hours a day, over several, possibly 10 days or so. Such an experiment was quite strenuous and exhausting. In particular, the owl shifts from midnight to eight in the morning were dreaded. Rather early in my scientific career I learnt that after midnight one should not perform exacting tasks. During these hours one should restrict oneself to routine work. The worst part of this shift was between about five thirty and seven thirty. After that the recovery of one’s abilities was somewhat surprising, but not unusual. To illustrate the loss of one’s faculties the following story, circulated at the Van-de-Graaff area, was typical. In an owl shift at six in the morning Conde started talking Swedish rather than English to John. This is very plausible to me because also I myself had speaking difficulties at about the same time in the morning. However, this was only one side of the coin. Also John was so much reduced in his abilities that he did not realize that Conde was not speaking English.

With Leif Nilsson from Uppsala I was involved in several experiments and, consequently, have several common publications. In later years he visited us in Vienna and I visited him and his girl friend in Uppsala. With amiable Ingvar Bergvist and his charming wife from Gothenburg I had social contacts only, so at a party at Darrell’s house in 1978. Birger Bo Back, a Danish physicist in a post doc position, was somewhat junior to me. He proofed to be a very good friend. Together we visited the Hudson family in Albuquerque, with Craig a theoretical physicist at Sandia Laboratories who came from Oregon und was married to Jeannine, a French woman whose English was very delightful due to her French accent. There were four children, two daughters just becoming young women. Birger was very handsome, moderately tall and blond as  expected from a Scandinavian. At several visits we undertook things together with the Hudson family. He drove a red Ford Mustang convertible with white seats. A very good-looking car. Never-the-less, once he lent it to me to bridge the time until I got a car of my own! Once he came to Austria with his later wife Ulla to join me and Brigitte at skiing vacations in Kirchberg near Kitzbühel. When Brigitte came to stay with me in 1978, she had a few days’ rest at Birger’s residence near Chicago because the long flight from Vienna to Albuquerque had to be split into portions due to her pregnancy. At that time Ulla was already mother of three children. After Birger moved to Argonne National Laboratory I more or less lost contact with him. I met him once again, at a physics meeting in California. I recognized him despite his impressive dark beard grown by then.

German visitors I remember were Gunther Löbner from Munich, Otto Schult from Jülich and H. Weigmann from Geel. The latter was supposed to cowork at WNR which, however, had starting problems so that he was quite frustrated because he could not perform any experiments. Exactly for that reason I had steered clear of WNR and rather experimented at the Van-de-Graaffs. When, in later years I visited Schult’s institute in Jülich he took me by surprise by introducing my talk which I had (with some pain) prepared in German, with the words: “I will ask Mr. Drosg to give his talk in English, as exercise for all of us.”

Koziol, an Austrian working at CERN in Geneva, was an expert in the design of storage rings for accelerators. This field is so much different from my expertise so that we had only little scientific interaction if at all.

When Mr. Extermann, a Swiss-American, and his wife visited our home in 1978, I learnt that a Swiss person cannot denounce his citizenship. He was born in Elsass but had acquired Swiss and later American citizenship. When returning to Switzerland after several decades of absence, to his annoyance, he was expected to catch up on the obligatory military exercises he has missed while absent.

Most foreign visitors were Frenchmen visiting group P-3. With some I had social contact only, like Claude Phyllis and Denise Bauer who went with us to a dinner at Rancho de Chimayo. The earliest meeting of a Frenchman was with Leroux from Bordeaux. I was most impressed by the quality of the red wine I was offered in his house. At a party at my friend’s Darrell house I met Serge Jollie.

Andre Michandeau, a big shot in the French nuclear program, often visited Physics Division. In later years he even immigrated to the US and had a permanent job at LANL. Of the other French visitors Serge Plattard impressed me most. He was son of a French diplomat and had lived in the Jura region in Switzerland. He appeared to be more French than the other scientists from France. Due to an eye problem he could not drive a car but used a bicycle. Besides, his hair was very fair.

Just with one Frenchman I did experiments and had several common publications, i.e., Gerard Haouat. When on a lecture tour in France I even visited him in his house. His wife was German, his daughter a beauty if there has ever been one.

The Croatian, Nikola Cindro, suspected to be a Yugoslav spy, deserves a chapter by himself. Socially I met him at parties at the Drake’s (1978) and at Keyworth’s.

Nikola Cindro, a Yugoslav spy?

One year, a Yugoslavian physicist came to group P-3. Already when we met for the first time, he did not give me a good impression. He said: “I see, you are solving problems with your computer. I have some work for you to do.” I did not believe my ears. Was this communist used to have slaves working for him, or what was wrong with him? Over the years the policy of the Department of Energy has shifted. When France did not sign the Proliferation agreement on Nuclear Weapons, it was more difficult for a Frenchman to visit Los Alamos than for a Russian. Over the years that changed. In particular there was a bubbling exchange of visitors from Bruyere-le-Chatel with scientists of the group. Later-on I learnt that Cindro had been found out in France to be a spy. I do not know what the Americans found in him. He lived in Los Alamos with wife and son. After the break-up of Yugoslavia he became a hot-shot in Croatia, his home state, as I was told. My interaction with him and his family was naturally only remote and I do not know whether he ever was found out in the Lab.

Guests from communist China were a special challenge. My friend Darrell hosted one. He was required by the administration to keep track what kind of scientific literature this guest was interested in. This was the more ridiculous as the Library was open to all the public.

My friend Darrell himself became a victim of this indiscriminate suspicion, too. When his security clearance was up for renewal, he got into real problems because a babysitter had seen in his house foreign books and had reported it to FBI. They were books in French which should not surprise because Darrell has been one of the exchange visitors in France. These were not books in Russian or from any other country that was not on friendly terms with the US government but from France. Finally he could rectify this “problem” and his clearance was renewed. Until then I had believed that the McCarty era was past history.

Another case of strange security enforcement I encountered in the early 1980ies. A young German scientist named Wolfgang Stoeffel from LLNL (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) joined us to partake in our experiment. I envied him for the ease and unconcern he showed when manipulating the computer and the other experimental equipment. Los Alamos was just a stop-over on his way to Florida. We believed his story even if it was difficult to believe our ears. When he joined LLNL, his German diploma thesis was so significant for the programmatic work of LLNL that it got translated into English. However, he was not allowed to read this translation of his own diploma thesis because it was classified as secret, and he did not have the clearance to read classified reports.

At the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center

Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF), later renamed Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), had the most powerful linear accelerator in the world when it was opened in June 1972. The facility is capable of accelerating protons up to 800 MeV. Multiple beamlines allow for a variety of experiments to be run simultaneously, hosting about 1000 users per year to perform medium energy physics experiments.

Working at WNR of LAMPF

In 1977, a pulsed spallation neutron source was commissioned to supply moderated and unmoderated neutrons to time-of-flight experiments in the facility called the Weapons Neutron Research (WNR) Center. The Weapons Neutron Research Facility (WNR) provides neutron and proton beams for basic, applied, and defense-related research. Neutron beams with energies ranging from about 0.1 MeV to more than 600 MeV are produced in Target 4 (an unmoderated tungsten spallation source) using the 800 MeV proton beam. In the Blue Room the direct 800 MeV proton beam is available for experiments with high energy protons.

During the first 20 years I did all my experimental work in the Van-de-Graaff area (also called Ion Beam Facility IBF), in later years, I experimented at both types of sources of WNR.

Inevitable short cuts to beat the bureaucracy

Experimenting in the WNR area requires frequent trips to the Main Building. The WNR building is at a distance of several kilometers away from the physics main building where the individual offices are located. Therefore, a car was necessary to cover this distance. At each stay in Los Alamos I had a rental car paid for by the Lab, i.e., by the US tax payers.

Now, the regulations to transport any equipment from one place to another was, understandably, to use a government car for the transportation of the equipment which must be accompanied by a “routing slip” with signatures of the appropriate two persons. As visitor having only a limited time budget I was forced (and very willing) to work all day and at weekends, too. How could I get the required signatures at odd hours, i.e., outside the regular working hours? There is no way! Thus, I had to abstain from this requirement to be able to work at all. Besides, having a rental car paid for by the government, I declared to myself this rental car to be a government car. So, I was able to pretend that I am obeying the rules as well as feasible.

As responsible person I took care to return all the equipment I had used after the experiment was over. Once I needed to know to whom a certain instrument was assigned. I found easily the phone number of central inventory. The call was not successful: I was asked. “To which cost code shall the answer be charged?” Instead of being happy that someone takes the pain to clean up, the central administration charges for the necessary information! No wonder that you find in the news that according to the accounting office instruments valued a total of 100 million dollars were found missing in the Lab. I wrote an interoffice mail to the head of central inventory congratulating him on the perfect mismanagement by his group. Later I learnt that above fact was very well known. Therefore, Physics Division had a divisional inventory of its own.

Like everywhere, centralized services of big installations do not work well, if at all. This was true, to some degree, for CCF (Central Computing Facility), too. As uncleared visitor I could not go there but was dependent on daily delivery of computer outputs. Thus, my turn-around time of submitted computer jobs was about 24 hours, making me working especially carefully. Any typing or other mistake cost me a whole day!

In later years, Physics Division had its own local computing facility: a high-grade VAX cluster. It became my favorite computing device. At that time (the eighties and beyond) VAXes had become in effect the standard machines for nuclear physicists. It was very convenient: at your VAX at home you could dump the complete content of your account on a tape, and at the visited installation you could easily restore your home-account from this tape. This worked wherever you were, e.g., in my case at LANL in USA or at JAERI in Japan. Back at home you proceeded the same way, so that you could continue your computing work without much ado at your home computer. Of course, I could only do it, because the VAX cluster was located in the “open” part of Physics Division.

An experiment at WNR that originated in Austria

Prof: Vonach, then head of Institut für Radiumforschung und Kerphysik of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, invited me to partake in an experiment measuring the spallation reactions in 27Al and 56Fe induced by the 800-MeV proton beam of WNR. I was expected to set up the electronics and perform the measurement. Thus, I went to Los Alamos two weeks ahead of the beam time to set up the experiment. It was new to me, both to start from scratch and to use computer controlled instruments. I had to locate equipment nobody needed at that time. The heart of the electronics setup was two fancy ADCs with storage capability. I had to learn the computer language used for controlling the equipment. This proved to be difficult, as I had neither a manual nor sufficient local support so that I had to teach it myself with the help of a program that had previously been in use.

For a start I checked the performance of each module which made me fit to program more complicated tasks. I was told that I could take the two ADCs needed from a pool of 10 instruments which seemed easy to do. However, just one of these ten worked properly. Now, how should I get the other one, as needed? Fortunately I found two ADCs which were only “half-broken”, i.e., I found two different halves that were working as expected. Thus, I could make one working ADC out of two broken ones. Finally, after two weeks, i.e., 14 days of hard challenging work, all by myself, I succeeded in getting some output from the electronics correlated to the input. The challenge when using computer-controlled instruments is quite severe, as only when the controlling program is, at least, nearly correct one will see any output signal at all. Without it, one does not know what is going on. After two weeks of strenuous work I finally had some output. However, it did not look right. I found out that changing the sequence of reading the memory cells of the ADCs from 1-2-3-4 which was the correct sequence, to 1-3-2-4 did the trick. Now everything seemed to work, just in time. Already the next day our beam-time at the accelerator started. During the first morning producing actual data, suddenly the displayed spectra did not make sense any more. Desperately, I programmed the storage sequence back to 1-2-3-4. This sequence we used and was correct till the end of this, after all, successful experiment.

In this case, too, we could not spend our valuable beam-time in finding the reason of this misbehavior. Nobody of my American colleagues who had previously used such ADCs, had an explanation of this strange demeanor.

Setting up this experiment was probably the toughest piece of experimental work I encountered in Los Alamos.

Too much radiation on my dosimeter?

In the late 1980ies I participated in an n-gamma experiment at WNR of LAMPF. One of the regular duties was to keep the germanium gamma detector cooled, i.e., to have liquid nitrogen in the cryostat at all times. To this end one had to enter the measurement shed. The radiation level in this shed was so low that you could go there even during beam operation. Just the collimated neutron beam had to be avoided. Even if the level of radiation was low, all personnel was obliged to wear radiation dosimeters to be read monthly by health division. When one of my radiation reports read 20 mrem for a period of one month this reading was in no way a matter of concern. Nevertheless, I inquired from my colleagues what their readings were. In all these reports 0 mrem was recorded for the same period. Now, the question arouse why did I receive so much more radiation than my colleagues? Was I particular sloppy? I could deny this in good faith. The only reason for receiving more radiation than my colleagues in the team I could think of, was that as a guest with no other obligations I would work longer times than employees. However, this could not explain why no radiation at all was recorded by their dosimeters. People at Health Division brought light into this puzzle: 0 mrem did not mean that they had not received any radiation, but that the reading of the dosimeter was below 20 mrem, the sensitivity threshold. Thus, even 19 mrem would result in a reported 0 mrem reading. This information was highly satisfactory because it meant that I had not been sloppy after all.

Is also NASA in need of the skiing instructor?

After my friend Darrell has moved from Physics to Earth-and-Space-Science Division also my work started to be connected to space science. Thus, the Mars Sand Experiment was paid by space science. In addition, I was involved in SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative) work requiring a neutron-gamma discriminator so that 1 billion gamma events should be suppressed versus one neutron event. Darrell as principal investigator did not believe that it could be done. I thought that a suppression of one in 1 million should be feasible. Soon this work was abandoned. As it appeared later, SDI has contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union by exhausting their resources in the attempt to match the American efforts.

Another contribution was to the construction of an apparatus measuring extraterrestrial beta radiation from a satellite to be launched by an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral. Although I did not think much of my contribution I was induced to sign the cover of this instrument. In addition, I was invited to be present at the launch at Cape Canaveral. Of course, at the cost of the project funded by NASA.

At a Meeting of the Mars Observer Flight Investigating Team in the year 1989 in La Jolla, California, I learnt that flight conditions to Moon and Mars are quite different, due to the different angular relation to the sun. Unfortunately this circumstance was not fully observed by the NASA engineers when building Mars Observer One so that this Martian probe did not start orbiting around Mars as planned.

The Mars Sand Experiment

In 1989 I was hired for one year by the Earth and Space Science Division of Los Alamos to participate in the so-called Mars sand experiment. It was a novelty for me that they paid for the travel of all of the family from Vienna to Los Alamos and back. Reimbursement of the transatlantic travel was extremely unusual, as this had to be paid from the federal travel budget which was used by the lawmakers in Washington, too. The forms that had to be filled out were designed for the travel from USA to abroad and it was some kind of fun to write down that the purpose of the travel of my six-year-old son was “accompanying his father”.

The purpose of this experiment was to simulate the neutron emission from the Martian surface in a controlled experiment. This experiment was intended for benchmarking a computer code simulating the neutron emission from the surface of Mars as detected by a Martian satellite to be launched. I was involved in the experimental set up, in the construction and test of the neutron detector, in taking data and evaluating them as responsible experimentalist. The emphasis of this experiment lay in measuring thermal neutrons. Thus an about 10 m long flight path provided the required energy resolution. As 10 m of air would stop too many thermal neutrons, the flight path had to be evacuated. Darrell had come up with an ingenius idea. He used plastic sewage pipes of two feet diameter. Although their seals were intended keeping liquid inside they sealed well enough to maintain a (moderate) vacuum inside, too. The neutron detectors were 6Li-glass scintillators I had never used before. Usually these scintillators would need a light guide, coupling them to the photomultipliers. These guides, usually made of organic materials, would disturb the thermal neutron spectrum. Thus, Darrell decided to have air (resp. vacuum) coupling instead. I came up with Aluminium cans of commercial beverages as connecting tubing between scintillators and photomultipliers, thus inventing the “Coca-Cola” neutron detector. This arrangement worked very well, already when measuring the neutron detection efficiency of the detectors.

For the pre-experiment a standard oil barrel was used as container of the Martian sand. This “sand from Mars” invoked the imagination of film makers when they heard of this Mars sand experiment in the news. It was a good basis for a horror film with Martian microbes that had infested the sand threatening mankind. Of course, this sand was from an arroyo nearby mixed with additives like iron oxide to simulate the then known composition of sand on the red planet. I very much enjoyed this short-sleeved approach to a rather complicated matter. Again my electronic experience came handy: The many counts stemming from the prompt gama-flash would produce abundant counts through after-pulses of the photomultipliers. I designed and built a gamma-flash suppression circuit which made sure that the time-of-flight spectra were not contaminated by such after-pulses.

For the main experiment Darrell had a somewhat larger barrel constructed with aluminum walls. Just at the moment when we were going to fill this barrel with sand the safety officer in charge on the site came by and inquired whether this barrel would burst under the load of the sand. After the experiment this sand would be (slightly) radioactive so that it would be a radiation hazard. As we did not know, someone suggested to have some clever guys in the Lab find out by calculation. So we asked for it. Beam time was scheduled starting the next day, so we could not wait any longer and filled the barrel with sand, anyway. The same afternoon we received the following message:”Don’t fill the barrel, it will burst!” Fortunately, this message was late, as the barrel was already full with sand at this time. Our experiment was saved and, at the end, we accumulated all data needed to benchmark the code.

The experimental simulation of the neutron emission from the surface of the planet Mars as a result of its bombardment with cosmic rays was needed for benchmarking a computer code simulating the neutron yield to be measured by the Mars Orbiter designed to find water on Mars. The cosmic rays were simulated by a beam of 800 MeV protons delivered from the medium energy accelerator LAMPF to the neutron experimental area, called WNR. This energy happens to be the average energy of cosmic ray impinging on the Martian surface. As cosmic rays predominantly are protons, this beam simulates the conditions on Mars well enough. In the “Blue Room” the beam was applied to the barrel, with a sand depth of about 1 m. Energy spectra of neutrons emerging from the barrel’s flat surface were measured in a controlled experiment under varying experimental conditions by the time-of-flight method using an evacuated fight path of about 10 m length. As long as the computer code to be benchmarked did not reproduce the spectra measured in this controlled experiment it was definitely not working correctly.

What kind of ghost was there in the Blue Room?

Before starting the measurement the sewage pipe had to be evacuated. To this end we entered the experimental area where the 800 MeV proton beam was applied, called “Blue Room”, and I started the vacuum pump. After checking that the pressure in the pipe decreased as expected, I was the last to leave the Blue Room and told the operators that the area may be remotely locked again, before beam was let into the room. Due to the high level of radiation in the Blue Room when in operation, special procedures are foreseen to assure that nobody is left in this room when beam is applied.

The measured results did not look as expected so that I soon suspected a bad vacuum. Therefore, beam off and the permit to enter the Blue Room. We were completely stunned when we found that the vacuum pump did not work at all. It just could not work because there was no power cable connecting the pump to mains! As this could not have happened at all, we were speechless. As beam time assigned to our experiment was too precious for spending on an investigation we did not further investigate this serious incident. As I was the last to leave the room and nobody has entered since then, this event could not have happened at all. People prone to suspecting conspiracy would know the culprits right away. This sabotage was performed by aliens from Mars! Aliens on Mars have been suspected for a rather long time to make it difficult for humans to learn more about Mars. Thus, both Mars Observer missions failed and several other Mars missions, too. Anyway, there is no way to solve this riddle now, and at that time we could not waste beam time. In the cases of the Mars Observer missions the reasons for their failure was traced to human stupidity.

Both Mars satellites Mars Orbiter-1 and Mars Orbiter-2 were supposed to circle Mars for prospecting the Martian surface, in particular for finding water on Mars. The failure of these missions meant that the code benchmarked by our experiment was never applied. The failure of Mars Orbiter-1 was due to a component used in a moon mission that was not modified to account for the different situation on Mars. The fate of Mars Orbiter-2 is most bizarre: the scientists in this project used metric numbers, the engineers American measures. This idiotic mix-up made the satellite get lost in space instead of getting in orbit around Mars.

Not a Radiation Worker after all these years?

In 1991 when rehired by the Earth and Space Science Division to perform the third, the final Mars Sand Experiment I was told at my arrival that I must be accompanied by some youth when going to the experimental setup in a radiation controlled area because I was not a Radiation Worker. Being a professor of experimental physics and in addition having been Radiation Officer at my home institution for about 3 decades I was, understandable, very annoyed by this bureaucratic hindrance. I was told that the appropriate course for becoming a radiation worker just had terminated, the next being scheduled in a few months time - after my departure! When I learnt that the written examination was due within a few days, I decided to take it without having attended the course. My American friend alerted me, not to answer the question the best way I could, but in such a way, as a radiation officer wants it to be answered. It proved to be a very valuable advice!

The examination took place one afternoon, with about two dozens of attendees. The difficulty of this test did not lie in answering the multiple choice questions but in understanding them. In some cases I had to read the question three times until I believed to understand it. There must have been about thirty questions to be answered. After having done so and checking the answers I finished first. A foreigner, not having attended the course, finished first and with 95% correctness, as I learnt later. This allowed me to experiment just the same way as I had done in Los Alamos for the previous 22 years.

Who unscrewed the bulb in a lamp of the WNR building?

One day, my friend Darrell called me from Los Alamos, chuckling; “Hi, boss, you will never guess what has happened today in the WNR building. There was a real fuss about an unscrewed bulb in the lamp supposed to illuminate the front side of the building. They were searching for the scoundrel who did it. I am sure you don’t know anything about it.” Of course I did. As Darrell knew, I was said scoundrel.

Some evening several years before this event I was setting up some major experiment in the WNR building. When checking the electronics I noticed disturbing electronic noise that would mess up our measurements. Having lots of experience with electronic signals and instruments I was confident to “calm” the electronics, i.e., to get rid of this noise. Working all night I finally was successful and left to get some sleep. In the afternoon, when I returned, the electronics still was quiet, i.e. without excessive electronic noise. However, after some hours of continued setting up the experiment, the noise was back again. At first, I was out of my wits not understanding this phenomenon at all. After trying everything that came to my mind, I realized, when scrutinizing the trace of the noise on the screen of an oscilloscope, that there was a repetition of the noise signal at some odd rate. This repetition frequency reminded me of something. After some while I believed to recognize that the frequency was about the frequency with which the high pressure mercury lamp in front of the building attempted in vain to ignite, having a disastrous effect on the stability of the mains in the building which fed through to the electronic instruments. What to do at 10 p.m.? Waiting for housekeeping to handle the situation (next day) was out of question and not at all something an experimental physicist would do. After finding a ladder I climbed up, opened the lamp and unscrewed the bulb. Then I closed the lamp and returned the ladder.

It came as a real surprise that it took several years until something was done against the increased darkness in front of the building. House keeping was much upset and was, in vain, trying to find the culprit. One reason, why a scientist is not supposed to unscrew a bulb, lies in strict division of responsibilities of employees. This way, labor unions ascertain that nobody from the outside takes over work that should be done by their members.

Other examples of American labor unions’ blatant foolery

Already at school in Austria we were told and hardly believed it that, for historical reasons, in a locomotive of an American train there must be an engineer next to the driver even if he had nothing to do because steam engines were not used any more.

Thus, I was prepared to learn some more peculiarities of the American labor system.

When returning home to Austria via Mexico to vacation there, I decided to send a suitcase that I would not need in Mexico by air freight to Miami airport. On my way home I found my suitcase standing there at the appropriate counter. When I was going to lift it, the attendant begged me not to do so because he was not allowed to give it to me and the clerk in charge is not available at this moment but will come any time. Thus, I waited several minutes for this gentleman to arrive. He lifted my suitcase, carried it about one meter and said:” Now you may have it!” What a great system! How could it be as efficient as it appears to be?

In addition, I had a second hand experience of American labor unions. When my friend Darrell returned from a working trip to Oak Ridge National Laboratory he could not resist having me partaking in his experience there. He, like myself, was used to do as much as possible by himself rather than delegating this work. At Los Alamos National Laboratory we were used to build radiation shields of lead bricks by ourselves for sheer convenience. While building them we decided how to build them according to the present need. It is much more inconvenient to make a suitable construction drawing beforehand to serve as guidance for a technician. To do it by oneself was all right at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, but not so at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After Darrell had built the appropriate shielding, all of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory was shut down for one day by the Labor Union as response to somebody performing work a Union member was supposed to do.


During the last decades the increase of regulations mostly by DOE has made reasonable scientific work at National Laboratories and so also at LANL nearly impossible or, at least, has removed any “fun” doing it. One has the impression, only the strict obedience to regulation and not scientific achievements are of importance. In an inauguration speech the new Division leader of LANSCE put it this way: “From now on there will be NO accidents!” What nonsense! Even when sitting on a chair accidents may happen! Curtailing the spirit of scientists is very counterproductive. I am afraid now-a-days any skiing instructor of standing would rather go skiing in Taos Ski Valley than do research at Los Alamos National Laboratory.



Participation in Conferences and Meetings funded by LANL

13. Dez. 1989 "Experimental Aspects of the Martian Sand Experiment", MarsObserver FIT (Flight Investigating Team) Meeting, La Jolla, California

15. Mai 1985 "Double Differential Neutron Emission Cross Sections of 10B and 11B at 6, 10 and 14 MeV and of 6Li, 7Li and 12C at 14 MeV", Int. Conf. on Nuclear Data for Basic and Applied Science, Santa Fe, N.M., USA

9. Okt. 1980 "Neutron Production above 20 MeV by the 2H(d,n)3He and 3H(d,n)4He Reactions", Meeting of Nuclear Division of American Physical Society, Minneapolis, USA

2. Nov. 1978 "180 Degree n-p Cross Sections from Fast Neutron Measurements with Counter Telescopes", Meeting of American Physical Society, Asilomar, California, USA

8. Juli 1976 "180° n-p Cross Sections for Counter Telescopes in Fast Neutron Work"                                          and                 "Absolute Differential Cross Sections for the Reactions 2H(t,n)4He and 3H(d,n)4He Between 7 and 17 MeV", International Conference on the Interaction of neutrons with Nuclei, Lowell, Mass., USA

13. Febr. 1976 "New Findings on Neutron Cross Sections in Few Nucleon Systems", Seminar in Physics Division of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL)

20. August 1975 "How Clean is the d-D Neutron Source?", Seminar of Group P-3 of LASL

28. August 1974 "How Good is the Concept of Loop-Gain? Some Surprising Aspects of Amplifier Feedback", Seminar of the Electronics Division of LASL

12. Sept. 1973 "Nuclear Instrumentation in Europe", Seminar of the Electronics Div. of LASL

11. November 1971 "Neutron Time-of-Flight Measurements and Their Limitations", Colloquium of Physics Division of LASL

25. August 1971 "Elastic Scattering of Neutrons from 3He Between 7.9 and 23.7 MeV", Meeting of American Physical Society, Seattle, Wash., USA

August 31 - September 4, 1970: participation in 3rd Internat. Symp. on Polarization Phenomena in Nuclear Reactions, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

21. Sept. 1970 "Fundamentals of ADCs for Nuclear Spectroscopy and More Recent Developments", Joint Seminar üf Group P-9 and P-DOR of LASL


Publications based on work done at LANL


M. DROSG, A. Deltuva, ”Cross sections of n-3He between 3.5 and 30 MeV. An evaluation using results of an ab-initio calculation”, Report INDC(AUS)-0020(2016)

M. DROSG, M. M. Steurer, E. Jericha, and D. M. Drake; “Angle dependent double-differential neutron emission cross sections of 3H(t,n) between 5.98 and 19.14 MeV, and evidence of 4H as intermediate reaction product”, Nucl.Sci.Eng., 184,114(2016)

M. DROSG, G. Haouat, and D. M. Drake, ”Double-differential angle-dependent three-body neutron production cross sections of the reaction 2H(t,n)X+Y at triton energies between 5.97 and 16.41 MeV”, Nucl.Sci.Eng. 183,298,(2016)

M. DROSG, “Measuring the neutron signature of the tàd+n triton breakup reaction, and the angle dependent differential cross section of 6Li(n,t)4He at 2.32 MeV”, Nucl.Sci.Eng.183,143(2016)

M. DROSG, and B. Hoop, “Estimation of double differential angle-dependent neutron production cross sections from tritons on 197Au at energies from 5.97 to 19.14 MeV”, Nucl. Sci. Eng. 182,563(2016)

M. DROSG, D. M. Drake: “Neutron Emission Spectra of Triton Beams of 20.22 MeV Fully Stopped in Targets of H2O, D2O, LiF, Si, Ni, Mo, Ta, W, Pt and Au”, Nucl.Sci.Eng.182,256(2016)

M. DROSG, N. Otuka, “Evaluation of the absolute angle-dependent differential neutron production cross sections by the reactions 3H(p,n)3He, 1H(t,n)3He, 2H(d,n)3He, 3H(d,n)4He, and 2H(t,n)4He and of the cross sections of their time-reversed counterparts up to 30 MeV and beyond”, Report INDC(AUS)-0019(2015)

M. DROSG, “Neutron Interactions with 3He Revisited III. Neutron Cross Sections between 24 and 30 MeV” NSE 180,341-344 (2015)

M. DROSG, P. W. Lisowski : “Neutron Interactions with 3He Revisited—II: Nonelastic Cross Sections in the Mega-Electron-Volt Range” , NSE 175, 19-27 (2013)

M. DROSG, R. Avalos Ortiz, and B. Hoop: “Erratum: Re-evaluation of neutron-4He elastic scattering data near 20 MeV [Phys.Rev. C.83.064616 (2011)]” Phys.Rev.C86:049901 (2012)

M. DROSG, R. Avalos Ortiz, and P. W. Lisowski: “Neutron interactions with 3He revisited 1. Elastic scattering around and beyond 10 MeV” , NSE 172, 87-101 (2012)

M. DROSG: “Complete Monte Carlo Simulation of Neutron Scattering Experiments” AIP Conf. Proc. 1412, 86 (2011)

M. DROSG, R. Avalos Ortiz, and B. Hoop: “Re-evaluation of neutron-4He elastic scattering data near 20 MeV” Phys.Rev. C.83.064616 (2011)

M. DROSG: “LARELKIN: Two-body relativistic kinematics code”, documented in the IAEA report IAEA NDS-08, Version 1.00 (March 2008), IAEA Vienna

M. DROSG: "DROSG-2000v2.21: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 59 accelerator-based two-body neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 9 (May 2005), IAEA, Vienna

M. DROSG: "DROSG-2000v2.2: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 59 accelerator-based two-body neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 8 (January 2003), IAEA.

R. O. Nelson, C. M. Laymon, S. A. Wender,D. M. Drake, M. DROSG, S. G. Bobias, P. Englert, C. A. McGrath, and J. Mandler: "Gamma-ray production cross sections from neutron interactions with iron", LA-UR-02-0016 Report, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA (2002).

M. DROSG: "Monoenergetic neutron sources based on two-body reactions", Contribution to the International Workshop on Fast Neutron Physics, September 5 - 7, 2002 at Dresden, Germany.

M. DROSG: "DROSG-2000v2.1: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 57 accelerator-based two-body neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 7 (January 2002), IAEA, Vienna

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE and R.C. HAIGHT: "Double-Differential Gamma-Ray Production Cross Section Spectra of Al, Fe and Si for 8.51, 10.00, 12.24 and 14.24 Mev Neutrons", LA-UR-02-0016 Report, Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA (2001).

M. DROSG: "DROSG-2000v2.0: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 57 accelerator-based neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 6 (January 2001), IAEA, Vienna

M. DROSG: "DROSG-2000: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 56 monoenergetic neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 5 (January 2000), IAEA, Vienna

M. DROSG: "Accelerator-based monochromatic neutron sources", Proc. of WONP'99, Havanna, Kuba Nov. 1999

M. DROSG: "Monoenergetic neutron production by two-body reactions in the energy range from 0.0001 to 500 MeV. An overview", IAEA TC Meeting on Accelerator-Based Neutron Sources, KFKI, Debrecen, Hungary, Oct. 1999.

G. M. HALE, M. DROSG: "Contribution to ENDF/B-VI",: 451 1-H - 3 LANL EVAL-JAN95 G. M. HALE AND M. DROSG DIST-SEP98 REV1- 19980909 ----ENDF/B-VI MATERIAL 131 -----INCIDENT DEUTERON DATA ------ENDF-6 FORMAT, and to FENDL/C2.0:"d-t reaction evaluation, based on 5He system R-matrix analysis and T(d,n) Legendre coefficients", FENDL/C-2.0, charged particle library, version 1.0, prepared by A. B. Pashchenko and H. Wienke, IAEA, Vienna, March 1997

M. DROSG: "DROSG-96: Neutron Source Reactions. Data files with computer codes for 33 monoenergetic neutron source reactions", documented in the IAEA report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 4 (March 1997), IAEA, Vienna

H. VONACH, A. PAVLIK, A. WALLNER, M. DROSG, R.C. HAIGHT, D.M. DRAKE, and S. CHIBA: "Spallation reactions in 27Al and 56Fe induced by 800-MeV protons", in "Nuclear Data for Science and Technology", G. Reffo, A. Ventura and C. Grandi (Eds.), SIF Conference Proceedings Vol. 59, 1431, Bologna, Dec. 1997 and Phys.Rev. C, 55, 2458(1997)

M. DROSG: "Differential cross sections of 3H(d,n)4He for energies up to 400 MeV from a charge symmetric evaluation of 3He(d,p)4He", in "Nuclear Data for Science and Technology", G. Reffo, A. Ventura and C. Grandi (Eds.), SIF Conference Proceedings Vol. 59, 1233, Bologna, Dec. 1997

M. DROSG: "Monoenergetic neutrons in the energy range from 100 eV to 200 MeV from two-body reactions with the hydrogen nuclei." in International Conference: Neutrons in Research and Industry, George Vourvopoulos, Editor, Proc. SPIE 2867, 490 (1997).

H. VONACH, A. PAVLIK, A. WALLNER, M. DROSG, R.C. HAIGHT, D.M. DRAKE, and S. CHIBA: "Study of 27Al and 56Fe(p,xgamma) at Ep=800 MeV", Summary Report of the Second Research Co-ordination Meeting, Vienna, Austria, 21-24 May 1996, Report INDC(NDS)-357, Ed. P. Oblozinsky, IAEA, Vienna

M. DROSG: "Sources of fast monoenergetic neutrons. More recent developments." Proc. International Conf. on Neutrons and their Applications in Sissi, Kreta, Juni 1994, SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2339, 145 (1995).

M. DROSG: "Neutron source reactions. Angular dependences of neutron energies, cross sections and neutron yields for 13 monoenergetic neutron source reactions". Computer-Code DROSG-87 Version 3.20.(O. SCHWERER, Ed.) Documentation series, IAEA, Nucl. Data Section report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 3, Vienna (Sept. 1994)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE, J. MAZARIK: "Calibration of a Li-glass detector for neutron energies above 50 keV by the 1H(t,n)3He reaction." Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B94, 319 (1994)

D.M. DRAKE, M. DROSG, R.C. BYRD, R.C. REEDY, D.A. CLARK, P.A.J. ENGLERT,J.F. DEMPSEY, S.G. BOBIAS, L. HARRIS: "Experimental and numerical simulation of Martian neutron distributions." LA-UR-93/2695, Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B84, 337(1994)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE: "Fast neutron yield from 20-MeV tritons on water. Part I. Triton interaction with light water." Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B73, 387(1993)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE, R.C. HAIGHT, R.O. NELSON: "Fast neutron yield from 20-MeV tritons on water. Part II. Triton interaction with heavy water." Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B73, 392 (1993)

H. VONACH, M. NOLL, M. DROSG: "Investigation of the proton-induced spallation of Aluminum at Ep= 800 MeV", Verhandl. der Deutschen Phys. Ges., 129 (1992)

D.M. DRAKE, M. DROSG, R.C. BYRD, R.C. REEDY, D.A. CLARK, P.A.J. ENGLERT, S.G. BOBIAS, J.F. DEMPSEY, L. HARRIS: "Experimental Simulations of Martian Neutron Spectra", 23rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, p. 1157, 17.März 1992, LA-UR-92-257

M. DROSG, D.M.DRAKE, R.C.HAIGHT, Ron NELSON: "A 'one-step' Method for Measuring Neutron Detector Efficiencies up to 40 MeV", p.135,  Report NEANDC-305 "U", NEA, OECD, Paris 1991

M. DROSG: "Some Accurate Neutron Cross Sections in the 4He and 5He Systems above 20 MeV", p.196,  Report NEANDC-305 "U", NEA, OECD, Paris 1991

D.M. DRAKE, S.A. WENDER, R.O. NELSON, D.A. CLARK, M. DROSG, W. AMIAN, J. BRÜCKNER und P.A.J. ENGLERT: "Experimental Simulation of Martian Neutron Leakage Spectra", Nucl.Instr.Meth.Phys.Res. A309, 575(1991), LA-UR-91-469

P.A.J. ENGLERT, L.J. HARRIS, S.G. BOBIAS, D.M. DRAKE, E.R. SHUNK, M. DROSG, R.C. REEDY und M. KÖRFER: "Simulation of Galactic Cosmic Ray Interactions with 'Martian Soil': Implications for Cosmogenic Nuclide Studies and Planetary Gamma Ray Spectroscopy II", Proc. of Lunar and Planetary Science XXII, Lunar and Planetary Inst. (Houston) 353 (1991), LA-UR-91-314

R.O. NELSON, D.M. DRAKE, R.C. HAIGHT, C.M. LAYMON, S.A. WENDER, P.G. YOUNG, M. DROSG, A. PAVLIK, H. VONACH, D.C. LARSON: "Neutron-induced gamma-ray production", 7th international symposium on capture gamma-ray spectroscopy and related topics, Pacific Grove, CA (USA), 14-19 Oct 1990. Reports LA-UR--90-3498 Los Alamos National Lab., NM (USA) and CONF-901057--7.

P.A.J. ENGLERT, D.M. DRAKE, E.R. SHUNK, M. DROSG, R.C. REEDY und J. BRÜCKNER: "Simulation of Galactic Cosmic Ray Interactions with 'Martian Soil': Implications for Cosmogenic Nuclide Studies and Planetary Gamma Ray Spectroscopy.", Proc. of Lunar and Planetary Sci. XXI, Lunar and Planetary Inst.(Houston) 325 (1990)

P.A.J. ENGLERT, D.M. DRAKE, E.R. SHUNK, M. DROSG, R.C. REEDY und J. Brückner: "Thick Target Bombardments: Cosmogenic Nuclide Production in Planetary Soil.", Proc. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Soc., Perth, Australia, 17-21 Sept. 1990.

D. M. DRAKE, S. WENDER, R. NELSON, E.R. SHUNK, W. AMIAN, P.A.J. ENGLERT, J. BRÜCKNER, M. DROSG, "Experimental simulation of Martian neutron leakage spectrum". Proc. Lunar Planet. Sci. XXI, Lunar and Planetary Inst.(Houston) 350 (1990).

H. Vonach, A. Pavlik, D.M. Drake, M. DROSG, R.C. Haight, G.L.Morgan, R.O. Nelson, S.A. Wender: "Investigation of (n,xnc) reactions on 204,206,207,208Pb from threshold to En=100 MeV", Verh. Dtsch. Phys. Ges. 25(5) p. 1393(1990).

M. DROSG: "Angular Dependences of Neutron Energies and Cross Sect-ions for 13 Monoenergetic Neutron Source Reactions", Computer-Code DROSG-87: Neutron Source Reactions (O. SCHWERER, Ed.) Documentation series, IAEA, Nucl. Data Section, documented in the report IAEA-NDS-87 Rev. 2, Vienna (1990).

R.C. HAIGHT, D.M. DRAKE, M. DROSG, C.M. LAYMON, G.L. MORGAN, R.O. NELSON, S.A. WENDER, P.G. YOUNG, H. VONACH, A. PAVLIK, S. TAGESEN, D.C. LARSON, D.S. DALE: "Cross Sections for the Reactions 204,206,207,208Pb(n,xn), 1<x<11, From Threshold to Over 100 MeV", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc., Series II, 35, 1038 (1990)

R.O. NELSON, S.A. WENDER, C.M. LAYMON, H.A. O'BRIEN, R.C. HAIGHT, G.L. MORGAN, D. DRAKE, P.G. YOUNG, M. DROSG, H. VONACH, A. PAVLIK, D.C. LARSON, P. ENGLERT und J. BRÜCKNER: "Studies of Higher-order (n,x gamma) Reactions at the WNR Spallation Neutron Source", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc., Series II, 35, 1038(1990)

M. DROSG: "Sources of Variable Energy Monoenergetic Neutrons for Fusion Related Applications", Nucl. Sci. Eng. 106, 279 (1990)

M. DROSG, P.W. LISOWSKI, D.M. DRAKE, R.A. HARDEKOPF, M. MUELLNER: "Cross Sections for Neutron-Producing Reactions Induced by 14.1 MeV Neutrons Incident on 6Li, 7Li, 10B, 11B and Carbon",  Report LA-11367-MS, LANL Oktober 1988

M. DROSG: "Angular Dependences of Neutron Energies and Cross Sections for 11 Monoenergetic Neutron Source Reactions", Computer-Code DROSG-87: Neutron Source Reactions (O. SCHWERER, Ed.) Documentation series, IAEA, Vienna, Nuclear Data Section, documented in the report IAEA-NDS-87 (October 1987).

M. DROSG: "Novel Monoenergetic Neutron Sources for Energies Between 2.5 and 25.7 MeV", Nucl. Inst. Meth. Phys. Res. A254, 466 (1987)

M. DROSG, O. SCHWERER: "Production of Monoenergetic Neutrons Between 0.1 and 23 MeV: Neutron Energies and Cross Sections", in Handbook on Nuclear Activation Data, K. Okamoto, Ed., IAEA Tech. Rep. Ser. 273, Vienna 1987

M. DROSG: "Production of Fast Neutrons with Targets of the Hydrogen Isotopes. Source Properties and Evaluation Status of the Cross Sections", p. 239,  Report IAEA-TECDOC-410 (1987) (Proc. IAEA Adv. Group Meeting on Neutron Source Properties, Leningrad, Juni 1986)

M. DROSG, P.W. LISOWSKI, R.A. HARDEKOPF, D.M. DRAKE, K. TREITL: "Double Differential Neutron Emission Cross Sections of 10B and 11B at 6, 10 and 14 MeV and of 6Li, 7Li and 12C at 14 MeV", Radiation Effects 92-96, 145 (1986), LA-UR-85-1743

M. DROSG, P.W. LISOWSKI, R.A. HARDEKOPF, D.M. DRAKE, M. MUELLNER: "Cross Sections for Neutron-Producing Reactions Induced by 6 and 10 MeV Neutrons Incident on 10B and 11B", Report LA-10665-MS, LANL (Mai 1986)

M. DROSG, G. HAOUAT, W. STOEFFEL, D.M. DRAKE: "Differential Cross Sections of 3H(p,n)3He and of 6Li(n,t)4He by Using Triton Beams Between 5.95 and 19.15 MeV and a Reevaluation of the p-T Neutron Production Cross Sections up to 12 MeV",  Report LA-10444-MS, LANL (Mai 1985)

M. DROSG: "Candidates for Fast Neutron Standards Among Neutron Producing Reactions",  Report IAEA-TECDOC-335, p.456 (Juni 1985) (Proc. IAEA Adv. Group Meeting on Nuclear Standard Reference Data, Geel, Nov. 1984)

M. DROSG, F. Vesely, D.M. Drake, G. Haouat: "Einsatz von Tritonenstrahlen zur genauen Bestimmung der differentiellen Produktionswirkungsquerschnitte schneller monoenergetischer Neutronen", Verh. Dtsch. Phys. Ges.19(3) p. 922 (1984) Spring meeting of the Fachausschuss Kern- und Hochenergiephysik of DPG (Sektion A: Kernphysik) of the Fachausschuss Kern- und Teilchenphysik of OePG and Sektion Kern- und Hochenergiephysik of SPG. Innsbruck (Austria). 26-30 Mar 1984

M. DROSG:" Differentielle Wirkungsquerschnitte der Reaktion 4He(t,nx)6Li zwischen 8,5 und 16,5 MeV und ihr Beitrag zum Verständnis des 7Li Systems", Verh. Dtsch. Phys. Ges. 17(6)p. 1132 (1982) (Conferences on nuclear physics - particle physics. Karlsruhe, Germany, 22.-27. Mar 1982)

M. DROSG: "Increasing the Dynamic Range of Neutron-Gamma Discrimination by Gain Switching", Nucl.Instr.Meth. 196, 449 (1982)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE, R.A. HARDEKOPF, G.M. HALE: "Differential Cross Sections of the Reaction 4He(t,n)6Li between 8.5 and 16.5 MeV and the n-6Li Cross-Section Standard",  Report LA-9129-MS, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Univ. Calif. (1982)

M. DROSG: "The 1H(7Li,n)7Be Reaction as a Neutron Source in the MeV Range",  Report LA-8842-MS, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL) (1981)

M. DROSG: "Neutron Production above 20 MeV by the 2H(d,n)3He and 3H(d,n)4He Reactions", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc.Ser. 2, 25, 721 (1980)

M. DROSG: "The 2H(d,n)3He Differential Cross Sections for Deuteron Energies between 20 and 40 MeV",  Report LA-8538-MS, Los Alamos Scientific Lab. (LASL) (1980)

P.W. LISOWSKI, G.F. AUCHAMPAUGH, D.M. DRAKE, M. DROSG, G. HAOUAT, N.W. HILL, L. NILSSON: "Cross Sections for Neutron-Induced, Neutron Producing Reactions in 6Li and 7Li at 5.96 and 9.83 MeV",  Report LA-8342 of LASL (1980)

M. DROSG: "Proposal of a Novel High Intense Neutron Source for Radiation Therapy", Z.Physik A 298, 297 (1980)

M. DROSG: "Improved Evaluation of the Differential Cross Sections of the 3H(d,n)4He Reaction for Deuteron Energies Between 3 and 7 MeV",  Report LA-8532-MS of LASL (1980) and Z.Physik A 300, 315 (1981)

M. DROSG: "Properties of Monoenergetic Neutron Sources from Proton Reaction with Nuclei other than Tritons", p.241 Proc. IAEA Consultants' Meeting on Neutron Source Properties, Debrecen 1980, K. Okamoto, Ed.,  Report INDC (NDS)-114/GT (1980)

M. DROSG: "Production of Fast Monoenergetic Neutrons by Charged Particle Reactions among the Hydrogen Isotopes. Source properties, experimental techniques and limitations of the data", p.201, Proceedings IAEA Consultants' Meeting on Neutron Source Properties, Debrecen 1980, K. Okamoto, Ed.,  Report INDC(NDS)-114/GT (1980)

M. DROSG: "The 3H(p,n)3He Differential Cross Sections Below 5 MeV and the n-3He Cross Sections",  Report LA-8215-MS of LASL (1980)

L. NILSON, M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE und A. LINDHOLM: "Isospin Structure of the Giant Dipole Resonance in 41Ca", Phys. Rev. C21, 902 (1980)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE und P.W. LISOWSKI: "The Contribution of Carbon Interactions to the Neutron Counting Efficiency of Organic Scintillators",  Report LA-7987-MS of LASL (1980) und Nucl.Instr.Meth. 176, 477 (1980)

D.M. DRAKE, M. DROSG, P.W. LISOWSKI und L. VEESER: "Neutron Scattering Cross Sections for 242Pu",  Report LA-7855-MS of LASL (1979)

L. NILSSON, A. Lindholm, D.M. Drake, M. DROSG: "The isospinstructure of the giant dipole resonances in Ca isotopes", Int. conference on nuclear physics with electromagnetic interactions, Mainz, Germany, 5 - 9 Jun 1979; INKA-Conf--79-292-000 p. 5.11(1979)

M. DROSG und D.M. DRAKE: "180 Degree n-p Cross Sections for Fast Neutron Measurements with Counter Telescopes", Nucl.Instr.Meth. 160, 143 (1979)

M. DROSG: "Unified Absolute Cross Sections for the Neutron Production by the Hydrogen Isotopes for Charged Particle Energies Between 6 and 17 MeV", Nucl.Sci.Eng. 67, 190 (1978).

M. DROSG: "Interaction of Fast Neutrons with 4He, 3He and 1H: Additional and Improved Data",  Report LA-7269-MS of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Univ. Calif. (1978)

M. DROSG: "On the Energy Dependence of the Total Cross Section of the Reaction 2H(d,n)3He", Nucl.Sci.Eng. 65, 553 (1978)

M. DROSG und G.F. AUCHAMPAUGH: "Signal-to-Background Ratio for Neutron Production Between 10 and 14 MeV by the Reactions 3H(p,n)3He, 1H(t,n)3He, and 2H(d,n)3He", Nucl.Instr.Meth. 140, 515 (1977)

M. DROSG: "180° n-p Cross Sections for Counter Telescope in Fast Neutron Work", in Proc. Internat. Conf. on the Interactions of Neutrons with Nuclei, Lowell 1976, p.1383 (CONF-760715-P2)

M. DROSG: "Absolute Differential Cross Sections for the Reactions 2H(t,n)4He and 3H(d,n)4He Between 7 and 17 MeV", in Proc. Internat. Conf. on the Interactions of Neutrons with Nuclei, Lowell 1976, p.1384 (CONF-760715-P2)

M. DROSG, R.K. Smith and R. Woods: "Absolute Differential Cross Sections over the Entire Angular Range for the Reaction 3H(d,n)4He at 7.0 and 10.0 MeV",- Report LA-6262-MS of LASL (1976)

M. DROSG, G.F. AUCHAMPAUGH and F. GURULE: "Neutron Background Spectra and Signal-to-Background Ratio for Neutron Production Between 10 MeV and 14 MeV by the Reactions 3H(p,n)3He, 1H(t,n)3He and 2H(d,n)3He",  Report LA-6459-MS of LASL (1976)

D.M. DRAKE, L.R. VEESER, M. DROSG, G. JENSEN: "Differential Cross Sections for the 0.847-MeV Gamma Ray from Iron for Incident Neutrons of 8.5, 10.0, 12.2 and 14.2 MeV", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc.Ser.2, 20, 168 (1975) und Proc. Conf. on Nuclear Cross Sections and Technology, Wash. D.C. 1975, p.813 (NBS-SP-425)

M. DROSG, D.M. DRAKE: "Absolute Differential Cross Sections for Neutron Production by the 2H(d,n)3He Reaction with Ed from 6 to 17 MeV and by the 3H(p,n)3He Reaction with Ep from 6 to 16 MeV",  Report LA-5732-MS of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Univ. Calif., (1974)

M. DROSG, D.K. McDANIELS, J.C. HOPKINS, J.D. SEAGRAVE, R.H. SHERMAN und E.C. KERR: "Elastic Scattering of Neutrons from 3He Between 7.9 and 23.7 MeV", Physical Review C9, 179 (1974) und Bull.Am.Phys.Soc.Ser. 2, 16, 829 (1971)

D.K. McDANIELS, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, J.D. SEAGRAVE: "Angular Distributions and Absolute Cross Sections for the T(d,n)4He Neutron Source Reaction", Phys. Rev. C7, 882 (1973)

D.K. McDANIELS, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, J.D. SEAGRAVE: "Angular Distributions and Absolute Cross Sections for the T(p,n)3He Neutron Source Reaction", Phys. Rev. C6, 1593 (1972)

M. DROSG: "Accurate Measurement of the Counting Efficiency of a NE-213 Neutron Detector between 2 and 26 MeV", Nucl. Instr. Meth. 105, 573 (1972)

D.K. McDANIELS, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, J.T. MARTIN, J.D. SEAGRAVE: "The T(d,n)4He Neutron Source Reaction", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc.Ser.2., 16, 541 (1971)

A. NIILER, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, J.D. SEAGRAVE, E.C. KERR: "n-4He Elastic Scattering Near 20 MeV", Phys. Rev. C4, 36 (1971)

A. NIILER, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, R.K. WALTER, J.T. MARTIN: "Neutron Alpha Particle Elastic Scattering Near 20 MeV", Bull.Am.Phys.Soc.Ser. 2, 15, 567 (1970)

A. NIILER, M. DROSG, J.C. HOPKINS, J.D. SEAGRAVE: "Phase Shifts from n-4He Elastic Scattering Experiments Near 20 MeV", in Polarization Phenomena in Nuclear Reactions, Proc. 3rd Internat. Symp., Madison 1970, p.559 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1971)




Leave of absence from the University of Vienna to work at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (after 1981 Los Alamos National Laboratory)


1969/10/14 to 1972/2/15, H-1 visum, postdoc in Team 4 of P-DOR

1972/08/31 to 1972/10/02, B-1 visum, guest scientist at P-3

1973/07/01 to 1973/10/07, J-1 visum (Fulbright), at P-3

1974/07/04 to 1974/08/30, J-1 visum

1975/07/22 to 1975/10/04, J-1 visum

1976/02/05 to 1976/03/02, B-1 visum

1976/07/05 to 1976/07/31, J-1 visum

1977/12/31 to 1979/01/05, J-1 visum (with a break for the atten-

      dance of the funeral of father-in-law 1978/10/21 to 10/27)

1980/09/08 to 1980/10/11, B-1 visum

1982/06/29 to 1982/08/02, B-1 visum

1985/03/27 to 1985/05/18, J-1 visum

1986/07/24 to 1986/09/20, J-1 visum, 14 MeV neutron emission

1989/07/05 to 1990/02/04, J-1 visum, BARREL-1

1990/07/02 to 1990/08/05, J-1 visum, BARREL-2

1991/07/21 to 1991/08/25, B-1 visum, BARREL-3

1993/07/05 to 1993/09/03, B-1 visum

I was lucky to start my work under director Norris Bradbury (1945–1970). This period was still a pioneer time. Scientists would usually sell their vacation time rather than consuming it. Under director Harold Agnew (1970–1979) who also belonged to the original staff of the Laboratory, bureaucracy started to become more important. Selling unused vacation time was only allowed at termination of the job. Under director Donald Kerr (1979–1986) who introduced “matrix management”, bureaucracy flowered. A smaller Physics-Division had five and not the previous three secretaries who obviously were not in the know any more. Thus, they had forgotten (in two consecutive years!) to get my working permission by DOE in Washington. Fortunately, the one of the previous year was still valid in both cases, so that I could start work right away. Finally some of my visits fell under the directorship of Siegfried S. Hecker (1986–1997).


[1] When in Paris with my white Porsche 356B convertible I turned left from Champs Ellysee. Just in this moment the engine quit working. Being stalled in the middle of this avenue was special. By chance an outlet of the French Automobile Club was close at hand. They repaired the broken fuel pump after I had become a member.

[2] The situation of out-lived organizations reminds me of that of a very old man whose only purpose to live is survival.

[3] After being squirted at by a skunk there are no real remedies to overcome the horrible smell. Ben Diven told me once what he did when his dog was so unfortunate to be squirted at: it was bathed in any amount of tomato juice from cans.

[4] In a Ford Maverick rental car I hardly survived a one-hour drive sitting on its plush car seat.

[5] It is my belief that having prejudices is unavoidable and not at all bad as such. However, one should be aware of all the prejudices one has so that one can counteract.