The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


Scientific research often requires expensive research facilities, and the University of Michigan is fortunate in having been able over the years to acquire a great number of these. A few of the most important will be mentioned.

The Computing Center, with about 200 remote terminals located throughout campus, is, next to the Library, the University's most significant and widely used research facility. This year the Computing Center serves over 8,000 students, faculty, and other academic staff members with 3,000 to 4,000 job runs each day on a duplex IBM System/360 Model 67 computer. The system can accept "batch-process" jobs or can operate interactively with users at various remote terminals. The heavy use of the Center reflects not only the phenomenal growth of computer technology but also the integration of computer-based instruction and research in many disciplines.

The Phoenix Memorial Laboratory, housing the University's two-million-watt Ford Nuclear Reactor, is the home of the Michigan Memorial — Phoenix Project, which was organized in 1948 to honor Michigan's war dead through a continuing search for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The nuclear reactor operates twenty-four hours a day and serves many research groups within the University requiring gamma or neutron irradiation.

The Cyclotron Laboratory has two cyclotrons for the use of researchers studying nuclear structures. The smaller one is used for studies of light-and medium-atomic-weight nuclei; the larger, with a capability of very high resolution, is used for studies of heavier nuclei in such substances as lead, gold, radium, and uranium. The Laboratory consists of two underground, remotely-controlled cyclotron rooms connected to a two-story research and office facility by separate tunnels.

The Ship Hydrodynamics Laboratory is essential to the University's programs in naval architecture and marine engineering. One of this Laboratory's model-testing tanks is 360-feet long and 21-feet wide, and has an adjustable Page  45bottom capable of providing a maximum water depth of 10-feet. During experiments, an overhead carriage moves at a speed of up to 20-feet per second to facilitate visual and electronic observation of towed or self-propelled models. A second model-testing tank is a wave and maneuvering basin 100-feet long and 60-feet wide, with a maximum depth of six feet. It has pneumatic wave-making equipment for simulating open-sea environments for radio-controlled models, with measurements telemetered back to "shore." This Laboratory has contributed substantially to the improvement of ship and barge design.

The facilities for research at the Botanical Gardens are used by scientists from botany, civil engineering, forestry, geology, genetics, pharmacy, zoology, and other fields. These facilities include a skilled horticultural staff, 40,000 square feet under glass (nearly three-fourths of which is devoted to research), controlled environmental chambers, and specialized indoor and outdoor environments. The permanent conservatory collections, one of the great public botanical attractions of midwestern United States, include several hundred tropical, temperate, succulent, and cactus plants, selected to illustrate economically or botanically significant types. The outdoor site consists of nearly 350 acres of open field, natural flood plains, forest, upland forest, marshes, streams, and ponds.

The University has six research museums on campus: The Museum of Anthropology, the Kelsey Museum of Ancient and Medieval Archaeology, the Museum of Art, the University Herbarium, the Museum of Paleontology, and the Museum of Zoology. These museums, for the most part, are working collections and include well-equipped laboratories for research in the disciplines represented.

The foundation for a sound research program is, of course, an excellent library. The University's library system, with over 4,257,000 volumes, several hundred thousand publications in microtext, some 500 incunabula among its many thousands of rarities, and dozens of special collections, is one of the great scholarly libraries of the world. The University Library comprises the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, for which a new eight-story, air-conditioned building was recently constructed; the General Library; the Undergraduate Library, by far the largest and most important library in the United States devoted specifically to an undergraduate student body; and 25 divisional libraries situated throughout the campus for the convenience of the schools, colleges, and other units. Four special-purpose libraries are separately administered: Page  46the Clements Library, exclusively a research library with one of the nation's best collections of source materials relating to early Americana; the Michigan Historical Collections; the Business Administration Library; and the Law Library.

Space does not permit describing all of the University's important research facilities. In addition to the ones already mentioned, there are several aircraft including a C-46 "flying laboratory"; two research vessels on the Great Lakes; a number of telescopes including a 52-inch reflecting telescope and an 85-foot radio telescope; and a great many important instruments such as multispectral scanner for remote sensing, a synthetic-aperture high-resolution radar, electron microscopes, lasers, special-purpose computers, etc.