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The University and the City
A Centennial View of the
University of Chicago
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"West End of Blue Area Looking Southwest," Argonne National Laboratory, Voorhees Walker Foley & Smith, architects and engineers, predecessor firm of Haines Lundberg Waehler, perspective drawing by Chester B. Price, ca. 1948.

"West End of Blue Area Looking Southwest," Argonne National Laboratory, Voorhees Walker Foley & Smith, architects and engineers, predecessor firm of Haines Lundberg Waehler, perspective drawing by Chester B. Price, ca. 1948. Construction of permanent facilities at the Du Page County site began in 1948, and the new laboratories were in full operation by 1953. Photograph courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

Science and Medicine

Science in the City
The Manhattan Project marked a shift in scientific research from privately supported research of individual professors, to massive team projects requiring expensive equipment, sponsored directly by the government. The experience gained in managing huge contracts during the war led to continued cooperation between the government and the University for scientific research and training in subsequent years. Construction soon began on Argonne National Laboratory, built by the government and operated by the University, to continue experiments with new types of nuclear reactors and technology. The University had chosen a farmland site in Du Page County, and soon the sleepy rural villages of Lemont and Downers Grove experienced a boom as scientists, technicians, and other employees sought housing and services close to their work.

While nuclear research under government sponsorship moved to the suburbs, the University sought industry and corporate support to build facilities for basic research on campus. The Enrico Fermi Institute and the James Franck Institute were outgrowths of efforts in the 1950s to expand facilities and spur research in areas which would eventually be of use to industry and business. Medical uses of radioactive isotopes were explored in the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital on Ellis Avenue. With funding from NASA, the University built the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research, which provided facilities for University research connected to NASA's space flights.

When government support declined in the 1980s, the University sought better means to connect the long-term goals of its research programs with the needs of businesses and industries which could benefit from its discoveries. Closer relationships needed to be developed to increase commercial dissemination of products and processes derived from laboratory investigations. In 1986 ARCH was created-the Argonne National Laboratory-University of Chicago Development Corporation-to assist in moving scientific discoveries from research laboratories to the marketplace. ARCH coordinated the development of industrial applications from scientific research and, with support from the Graduate School of Business, assisted with venture capital, marketing strategies, and management for commercial spin-offs.


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