Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Roswell :

Edward U. Condon
and Corning Glass

All quotations in this post are from THE GENERATIONS OF CORNING by Davis Dyer and Daniel Gross *

In 1952... '..Having established contacts with the military during World War II, Corning continued to respond to the requests and demands of the Cold War military. The Air Force needed huge, homogeneous optical glass castings for use in aerial and space photography and for wind tunnels. After signing contracts with the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, Corning constructed several gigantic pieces of glass, the largest of which were fifty-two inches in diameter and eight inches thick...

In these years, as during the war, there was a symbiotic relationship between Corning and certain branches of the military. In direct contrast to the World War II period, in which the relationship helped spur Corning's sales and allowed it to build new plants.. the postwar relationship brought several complicating factors. Inevitably, government work was politicized...'

Under the heading 'The Condon Affair' (pgs. 228-232), Edward Condon's link to Corning is detailed. He is described as a 'victim' of 'the domestic hunt for communists' carried out by 'Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy' in the early-1950s, and referred to as having held the position of 'Corning's research director...':

'Condon, a brilliant and controversial theoretical physicist, was hired in 1951 to succeed Jesse Littleton as research director.. During World War II, he worked on uranium fission with J. Robert Oppenheimer and in 1943 became Oppenheimer's associate director at the secret Los Alamos lab. He spent the latter months of the war heading the theoretical physics division of the radiation lab at Berkeley...

..when he joined Corning.. he focused more on matters of science than politics.. Condon felt that the company wasn't investing enough in fundamental research. At Westinghouse he had established research fellowships to allow young scientists to work on problems of their own choosing. He quickly set up a similar program at Corning and began to agitate for new and larger laboratory space.

Soon after Condon joined Corning in October 1951, however, Navy security officers in Buffalo insisted that Condon undergo another clearance process. After all, Corning was engaged in work on massive glass and other sensitive projects...'

A lengthy investigation was pursued into Edward Condon, started in early-1952... '..more than 1,000 pounds of his papers and documents..' were seized, and he was... '..repeatedly badgered.. about friends and associates...' (communist suspects):

'Accepting the navy's unwillingness to grant Condon clearance, the company in April 1952 named a colleague to supervise business details of classified work...

On April 5 and 6, 1954.. Condon submitted to yet another two-day hearing in New York City before the EIPSB. Three month's later, it finally rendered a favorable verdict.  Despite the outcome, Condon seemed somewhat distracted. In September 1954, according to (Eugene) Sullivan, (William C.) Decker was "..concerned over Condon not knowing what was going on when a certain laboratory project was mentioned - something [another colleague, illegible] had talked about with Condon a few days [earlier]."

Condon's clearance was made public on October 19, 1954. Two days later, however, Navy Secretary Charles Thomas again suspended Condon's clearance and asked EIPSB to investigate.. again.. Vice President Richard Nixon.. claimed credit for the reversal.. (Navy Secretary) Thomas told Decker that Corning would get no classified business as long as Condon was research director...

..Condon finally resigned from Corning just before Christmas.. He moved to Berkeley, consulted for Corning, and went on to teach at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Colorado. Condon died in 1974...'

All quotations from THE GENERATIONS OF CORNING : The Life and Times of A Global Corporation by DAVIS DYER & DANIEL GROSS (Oxford University Press, 2001) *  

Project Blue Book - Dr. Edward U. Condon and Dr. Robert Low

Roswell : Robert O. Anderson and Corning Glass
Roswell : Robert O. Anderson and Corning Glass 2

Edward Condon : Wikipedia


Post a Comment

<< Home