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May 17, 1948 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1948-05-17

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Sw anL*40'1



Latest Deadline in the State



7 Planning, Study
.Back of Proj*ect
Year and Half of Work Follows
Original Student Legislature Idea
The Phoenix Project-behnd those simple words lie a year and
one half of intensive planning, research and efforts to hurdle legal
The concept of a "functional" war memorial originated with stud-
ents back on Dec. 18, 1946. That night the Student Legislature went
on record as approving a functional memorial and laid tentative plans
for a fund-raising campaign.
Official sanction came when the University Board of Regents
named a faculty-student War Memorial Committee in September,

Harnessed for Humanity

Phoenix Plan
Huge Program Will Probe
Peaceful Application of Atom
An all-out offensive to convert the nightmare of Nagasaki
into a living and lasting force for the betterment of man was
launched today by the University in memory of its students
and faculty members who died in World War II.
President Alexander G. Ruthven announced the estab
lishment of the "Phoenix Project"--the world's first research
institute devoted exclusively to exploiting the peaceful and
humanitarian applications of atomic energy,
Named the Phoenix Project to symbolize the creation
of a new era from the ashes and destruction of the old, the Univer-
sity's War Memorial is founded in direct contrast to the famed but
frightful Manhattan Project. It will be a "living, timeless, creative
force for peace."

Memorial Is
Greeted With
Gains Support,
Pledgesof Aid
The vast scope and significance
of the Phoenix Project to "har-
ness the atom for humanity" has
fired the imagination of everyone
who had a part in its evolution.
Conceived only nine months ago,
the proposed center for peacetime
atomic research has already gain-
ed support from every quarter. As
plans accelerated the Phoenix
Project picked up approval from
the United States Atomic Energy
Commission, the Office of Naval
Research, high government offi-
cials and students.
Not only support, but pledges
of every possible assistance have
come from agencies and indiv-
iduals called into top-secret ne-
gotiations concerning the pro-
The establishment of a peace-
time research center was sug-
gested to the War Memorial Com-
mittee by Fred Smith, New York
publisher and one-time University
student. Realizing that this pro-
posal was a solution to the con-
cept that a war memorial should
be and do something, the com-
mittee enthusiastically, approved
Although anything concerning
atomic energy is rigidly controlled
by the U.S. Atomic Energy Com-
mission, this proposal had little
trouble passing that hurdle.
Commission spokesman Carroll
L. Wilson in Washington ap-
plauded "the decision of the War
Memorial Committee to further
knowledge in this new field and
the intent to explore the bene-
ficial potentialities of atomic 'en-
ergy." Funds to aid in the develop-
ment of the project were virtually
Another top-ranking govern-
ment agency, The Office of Nav-
al Research, also envisioned vast
possibilities of a project of this
type and promised aid.
Meanwhile student pa ticip-
tion in the proposal began to
mushroom. Earlier, during the
planning period, three students"
were an integral part of the War
Memorial Committee.
With final plans set, student{
leaders representing every organi-
ar in n -- n m-- - - - - - -n-n

They ;vere guided by an Alumni
Association request that the war
memolial be scmething more than
"a mere roun I of stone tic pur-.
pose of whlich would be soon for-
The idea f'.x" an atonc iesearch
center first caught 'ire in the
mind of Fred J. Smith, prominent
New York publisher and one time
University student. As a~tribute
to the University's war dead he
suggested a vast project designed
to make atomic energy the slave
rather than the master of man-
lIe called it "a constructive
solution to the pathological fog
created in the minds of the
people of the world by the Atom
Bomb's advent."
The idea was enthusiastically
received by the War Memorial
committee in October 1947. Earl-
ier the committee had examined
and rejected scores of other pro-
posals as unsuitable.
The committee then set to work
to crack the shroud of security
which surrounded all matters
dealing with atomic energy in
America. The best legal minds at
the University informed the group
that a green light would be needed
from the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission before work could
In February of this year Dean
Erich Walter, Dean Ralph Saw-
yer and Dr. Fred Hodges appeared
before the Atomic Energy Com-
mission in Washington, D.C. to
explain the proposed peacetime
atomic research center.
After a special flight to the na-
tion's capital they outlined the
entire proposal to the highest at-
omic officials. They came out of
that historic meeting with the
solid backing of the Atomic Ener-
gy Commission which applauded
the move.
On March 30 the Office of Nav-
al. Research joined the list of
Phoenix Project supporters. On
that day Hodges, Walter and Saw-
yer conferred with ONR officials
in Washington regarding the plan..
They too promised ".. . to rend-
er support in any way possible to-
ward the organization of such an
. . . institute."
With this hurdle pissed the
project was taken to the Uni-
%;ersity Boardl of Regents where
it received speedy approval on
May 1, 1948.
Barely a week before this offi-
cial announcement a group of
student leaders was called in for
the initial campus announcement
of the project. Representing all
major campus organizations, the
student headers laid nlans to

Bearing both the official ap-
proval of the U. S. Atomic Energy
Con mmssion and a promise of
actual Federal financial assist-
ance, the Phoenix Project will
be composed of four specifif
DA to be constructed on cam-
pus as a magnet to draw to-
gether the great scholars of the
age interested in every possible
humanitarian, physical and in-
tellectual phase of atomic de-
RIES more complete and bettelr
equipped for these purposes than
any peacetime atomic laborato-
ries now in existence will be
established here. The facilities
will be open to the use of every
thinking man.
known atomic research data will
be assembled at an elaborate in-
formation center to coordinate
on a world-wide basis all success-
es or failures that may even hint
at progress toward solution of
atomic problems.
4.) PUBLISHING of all data
compiled and classified by the
Phoenix Project at regular in-
tervals will keep each atomic
scientist and researcher
throughout the world up to date
at all times on the findings of
his fellow searchers for the
atomic key to peace.
The War Mtmdrial's atomic
emphasis will be centered largely
on medicine and other human-
itairian sciences instead of on
power and engineering. Sociology,
philosophy and other studies apt
to be touched by the atomic era
will also be included.
The Phoenix Project "will tnot
go into the business of pro-
ducing isotopes." Instead it will
take up the threads of atomic
research at the point where
existing agencies have stopped,
utilizing isotopes manufactured
under Government supervision.
The War Memorial will be
financed principally by private
contributions supplemented by
Government aid. Although the
actual drive will not get underway
until next fall, an administrator
will be announced within a few
weeks and donations for the
Phoenix Project will be accepted
from now on.
The student body of the Uni-

Project Will
Aid Research
War Meorial
is runic tional

The Phoenix Project's far-
reaching humanitarian implica-
tions insure that the University's
War Memorial will, in the words,
of the Committee "not only BE
something - it will DO some-
Stressing the need for such a
project, Fred Smith who originat-
ed the idea of establishing an
atomic research project declared:
"Nothing but spotty and spo-
radio work has been done thus
far on expensive long term
research in such fields as medi-
cine where profits can only be
measured in terms of human
The Phoenix Project is to be
practical however as well as ideo-
logical. It recognizes that there
are at present thousands of sci-
entists scattered all over the world
working independently on iso-
lated phases of humanitarian
atomic research. If their work
can be coordinated, results can be
produced infinitely faster,
The Project will function as
a clearing house for these scat-
tered ideas. It will classify, file
and publish them so that any
discovery made anywhere In
the world will be a step forward
for all science,
The central committee will plan
specific projects in atomic re-
search and subdivide the work
with financial assistance to sci-
entists throughout the country.
"The atomic bomb was develop-
ed more as a result of the organ-
ization of good minds and the
parcelling out of work than
through a sudden discovery of
geniu Smith declared in his
original lettet' proposing the pro-
Recognizing that the atomic
age will affect every phase of
man's life, the Phoenix Project
will not limit its activities t4p
physical sciences.

.ATOMIC ENERGY UNLEASHED-Pictured above is the awesome smoke column towering more than 20,000 feet high above Nagasaki
Aug. 10, 1945. This same tremendous energy will be harnessed by the Phoenix Project to aid, rather than destroy, civilization.


Students Assure PhoexniBacking

Barely a week ago 36 students
representing every major canpus
organization learned of the Phoe-
nix Project, and already they have
made extensive plans to support
At a top-secret meeting, called
by Dean Erich Walter, the war

Committee, largest vet group at Project, a workable plan for mak-
the University. ing the atom an instrument of
Said Babson, "This is not only peace."
a fitting memorial to those who Religious Groups
sacrificed so much, but also a Af1


Said Brieske, "The University
has undertaken a grave respon-
sibility and we, the students, must
shoulder our portion of the bur-
den. Learn all you can about the
war memorial so that when the
time comes you will be able to
do your part in the Phoenix Pro-

. i I

major contribution to a more
prosperous and peaceful world."
Fires Imagination
Representing all the itale stu-

i toa . A VSXbJtiall 1A ' USt 1Pt 6 1 u&?2~ A
ligious groups Inter-Guild Pres-
ident D. G. Palmer said they "look
on the project as an opportunity
to show our love for our neigh-

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