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New Jungerman Hall honors Crocker Nuclear Laboratory's first director

By Clifton B. Parker on June 8, 2011 in University

One of the older buildings on central campus finally got an official name June 1 with the dedication of the building housing the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory as John A. Jungerman Hall.

Jungerman Hall was built to house the laboratory’s cyclotron—a type of particle accelerator—and opened in 1966. Jungerman, now professor emeritus of physics, was the laboratory’s founding director.

The giant magnets at the heart of the cyclotron came from the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, now the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Berkeley lab director Ernest Lawrence offered the machine to Jungerman when he approached Lawrence for help in building a new machine for UC Davis’s fledgling physics department.

“This building was a big challenge for our department, because we needed a research facility for our graduate program,” Jungerman recalled in remarks at the June 1 event.

At the time, the building was on the western edge of the main campus, next door to the Hog Barn. The pigs were finally moved west of Highway 113 in 2002.

Since 1966, the Crocker cyclotron has been used in nuclear research, measuring air quality in national parks, testing the authenticity of historic artifacts, making radioisotopes and for treating eye cancer.

“It’s gratifying that after 45 years the cyclotron is still serving the campus and the community,” Jungerman said.

Jungerman joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1951, the same year that the College of Letters and Science was formed. He was a graduate student at UC Berkeley and Los Alamos during World War II, and worked on the Manhattan Project. He witnessed the first test of an atomic bomb, ‘Trinity,’ at White Sands, N.M. in 1945.

Other speakers at the dedication event were: Winston Ko, dean of mathematical and physical sciences; Yolo county supervisor Don Saylor; Rex Hime, alumni representative on the UC Board of Regents; retired staff physicist Dan Shadoan; and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter.

“I’m proud to recognize John for his contributions to UC Davis, to the community and to generations of UC Davis students,” Saylor said.

Hexter noted that both Jungerman and Paul Brady, professor emeritus of physics, have created gifts to support graduate students, matched one-to-one by the Soderquist endowment.

Media contact(s)

Clifton B. Parker, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,