Mar 10 – High-Power Microwave Tube Development at Stanford and SLAC

Thursday, March 10, 2016
6:00 PM: Doors open for refreshments and networking
6:30 PM: Panel presentation


Registration Required, donation suggested
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Venue: KeyPoint Credit Union
2805 Bowers Ave (just off Central Expressway)
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Park in lot adjacent to building on Bowers Ave.

Our Thanks To KeyPoint Credit Union

IEEE SV Tech History committee is extremely grateful to KeyPoint Credit Union for use of their auditorium as our prime venue. Many thanks to Doron Noyman of KeyPoint for his support in making that happen.

The SF Bay Area has been a hotbed to technology development since the beginning of the 20th century. In this interview panel meeting, you’ll hear how Sigurd and Russell Varian came up with the plans for the klystron at Stanford in the late ’30’s, with critical theoretical contributions from Bill Hansen, physics professor. With a focus on Hansen, we’ll see how the theory and practice of microwave tubes developed locally during and after WW II, resulting in small linear accelerators, and eventually into the 2-mile-long Stanford Linear Accelerator, out behind the campus. The klystron and linear accelerator technology is still in use today around the world, as the prime radiation treatment for cancer.

Dave Leeson is in the final stages of a two-volume book on the life and career of Bill Hansen; he’ll give us ‘inside information’ about those early days, and how this breakthrough happened. Richard Winkler built the first 1-MW klystrons for his Stanford degree thesis, and will discuss their construction in the mid-50’s.  Allen Odian describes how the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) got started, some stories about Panofsky, and “first-beam”.  Burton Richter will tell of the early days of SLAC, and stories of how it was constructed and used. he’ll conclude with some of the physics experiments leading up to his Nobel Prize in 1976.

SLAC was the first of the many IEEE milestones dedicated in the SF Bay area

Join us for an interview of Profs. David Leeson and Burton Richter, as Paul Wesling, IEEE Life Fellow, explores this Silicon Valley technology


Prof. David Leeson, consulting professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford.
Prof. Leeson is finishing a book on Bill Hansen’s career and contributions.

Richard Winkler, Stanford Engr ’53.
Winkler worked on high-power klystrons at Stanford. He went to Shockley Transistor (became Cleavite) just after Noyce and Moore left, and was the first regular employee at SLAC, designing equipment to test the 50-MW klystrons, did klystrons for first medical uses of linear accelerators.

Dr. Allen Odian, PhD from MIT, Fulbright Scholar, Assoc Prof at Univ of Ill.
Dr. Odian joined SLAC in 1961 and was involved with detectors.

Prof. Burton Richter (tentative), Physical Sciences, Stanford, and Director Emeritus at SLAC
Prof. Richter began post-doc work at Stanford in 1956, becoming a professor in 1967, and designed the Stanford Positron-Electron Accelerating Ring (SPEAR). He succeeded Wolfgang “Pief” Panofsky as director of SLAC in 1984.  He shared the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the particle that has been dubbed J/psi.

Paul Wesling will moderate this meeting.

2 Responses to “Mar 10 – High-Power Microwave Tube Development at Stanford and SLAC”

  1. Vernon G. Price says:

    It will be an interesting meeting. You might be interested to know of the high power klystrons and twt’s that were developed at the GE Microwave Laboratory on California Avenue in Palo Alto. That work was done in those early days (late 1950’s).

    • paul says:

      Vernon — Yes, I’m familiar a bit with GE’s work, from Norm Pond’s book, “The Tube Guys”. Terman wrote to Schenectady and got them to open the California Avenue facility, with Walt Nelson as manager. 10 MW in the L-band. Finally sold to Varian. Did you work there? Did you know some of the early people? Email me …

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