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1964: Linear Accelerator Opens

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When the construction of the Linac was announced in the fall of 1961, it was portrayed as the next logical step on the Universityís research path.† The Department of† Physics had built for itself a reputation based upon experimentation and innovation. The post-war period saw the U of S† in the forefront of nuclear physics in Canada.† In 1948, Canada's first betatron (and the world's first used in the treatment of cancer) was installed on campus. It was used for research programs in nuclear physics, radiation chemistry, cancer therapy and radiation biology.† Next the world's first non-commercial cobalt-60 therapy unit for the treatment of cancer was officially opened in 1951.† With this unit research was undertaken in the areas of radiological physics, radiation chemistry and the effects of high
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energy radiation on plants and animals. The 80 foot electron accelerator tube was to create energy six times that of the Universityís betatron.†† The cost of the $1,750,000 facility was split between the National Research Council and the University of Saskatchewan with the NRC meeting the cost of the equipment and the University assuming the costs of the building.

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The official opening in early November of 1964 was more than just a few speeches and the cutting of a ribbon.†† It was a† physics-fest, with 75 visiting scientists from around the world in attendance, presenting papers and giving lectures over a period of several days.† Three eminent physicists were granted honorary degrees at the fall convocation, and hundreds of people showed up for the public open house. 1

Related Collections

Leon Katz fonds, MG 39.
Department of Physics, RG 2043.


1964a: Linear Accelerator–Laboratory, Nov 1964, Photograph Collection, A-8643.
1964b: Linear Acceleratory–Artist Drawing, 1962, Photograph Collection, A-498.
1964c: Opening. Presidentís Office fonds, RG 2001 Series IV, file B.79.


1. On Campus News, 5 May 2000, p. 9

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