Alvin Weinberg's hometown begins effort to honor his memory

Comments and suggestions should be sent to:

Tony Lester at
or direct mail to him at
Tony Lester, ORAU,
P O Box 117, MS 28,
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117

OAK RIDGE (Jan. 16, 2008) -- Community leaders and citizens of Oak Ridge, Tenn., have begun an effort to honor the memory of the city's most famous native--nuclear pioneer Alvin M. Weinberg.

They are seeking the scientific and world community's memories of Weinberg and its opinions and ideas on the best ways to remember him.

Weinberg, who came to Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project, directed Oak Ridge National Laboratory for nearly two decades and continued to become one of the nation's most preeminent authorities on energy policy and scientific administration, died in October 2006 at age 91.

"Alvin was a major player in what he called the 'first nuclear era.' He earned stature and fame all over the world as a scientist and scientific administrator, yet he remained in Oak Ridge to become an icon of the community," said Tom Row, ANS Fellow, who is one of a coalition of community leaders and former colleagues who are currently seeking ideas on the most appropriate ways to honor and remember Weinberg.

"We want to remember him and what he did for science, his country, and his community, and do it well," Row said.

Community organizations initially organizing the effort include the Oak Ridge-Knoxville Section of the American Nuclear Society, two Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs and Friends of ORNL, a community support organization for the national laboratory Weinberg once directed. Also participating are ORNL and Oak Ridge Associated Universities, which Weinberg was affiliated with in his later years as founder and director of an energy policy think tank.

The coalition is seeking ideas, suggestions and especially memories of Weinberg throughout the community as it works with Weinberg's family to finalize plans for a fitting memorial. At this early stage of gathering input there has been no decision on whether the activity will result in one or more recommendations.

"Alvin was known throughout the scientific world, particularly the nuclear field, and he never failed to make a lasting impression on those who knew him," Row said. "We want to hear about those experiences to help us shape our ideas on a memorial. It is also important that we remember he touched many outside of the scientific arena and solicit their comments also. Please share your most unique memory of Alvin."

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