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Catherine Westfall
Catherine Westfall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Department: HPS
Address: E-190 Holmes
Phone: (517) 353-4599

Honors and Professional Service

2014-2015 - Samuel von Pufendorf Institute, Visiting Research Fellow

2013-2017 - Chair line, Forum for the History of Physics, American Physical Society

2012-2014 - Founding Co-organizer and Chair, Physical Sciences Forum, History of Science          Society 

2009 - Fellow, American Physical Society



    2014 “Engineering the Big Chill: The Story of JLab’s Central Helium Liquefier,” to be published in Physics in Perspective, 16, No. 1, 37-68 (2014).
    2012 “Institutional Persistence and the Material Transformation of the US National Labs: The Curious Story of the Advent of the Advanced Photon Source,” to be published in Science and Public Policy, 2012.
    2010 'Surviving to Tell the Tale: Argonne’s Intense Pulsed Neutron Source from an Ecosystem Perspective,' Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 40 (2010): 350-98.
    2010 'The Physical Tourist: A European Study Course,' Physics in Perspective 12.1 (2010): 89-99, with Gerd Kortemeyer.
    2009 'History of Physics: Outing the Hidden Curriculum?' American Journal of Physics 77 (2009): 875-81, with Gerd Kortemeyer.
    2008 'Introduction to the Special Issue: Surviving the Squeeze: National Laboratories in the 1970s and 1980s,' Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38 (2008): 475-78. (2008).
    2008 'Retooling for the Future: Launching the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence’s Laboratory, 1980-1986,' Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38 (2008): 569-609.
    2006 'A Different Laboratory Tale: Fifty Years of Mössbauer Spectroscopy,' Physics in Perspective 8.2 (2006): 189-213.


Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience  book image
Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, has stood at the frontier of high-energy physics for nearly forty years. Since 1972, when the laboratory’s original particle accelerator began producing the world’s highest-energy protons for research, the government-supported scientific facility has been home to numerous scientific breakthroughs, including the discoveries of the top and bottom quarks. Fermilab is the first history of this laboratory and of its powerful accelerators told from the point of view of the people who built and used them for scientific discovery.
Pages: 512
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Date Published: December 1, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0226346236
Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years,<br />1943-1945 book image
Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years,
This volume is a lucid and accurate history of the technical research that led to the first atomic bombs. The authors explore how the "critical assembly" of scientists, engineers, and military personnel at Los Alamos, responding to wartime deadlines, collaborated to create a new approach to large-scale research. The book opens with an introduction laying out major themes. After a synopsis of the prehistory of the bomb project, from the discovery of nuclear fission to the start of the Manhattan Engineer District, and an overview of the early materials program, the book examines the establishment of the Los Alamos Laboratory, the implosion and gun assembly programs, nuclear physics research, chemistry and metallurgy, explosives, uranium and plutonium development, confirmation of spontaneous fission in pile-produced plutonium, the thermonuclear bomb, critical assemblies, the Trinity test, and delivery of the combat weapons.
Pages: 528
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date Published: February 2004 (pbk; orig. pub. 1993)
ISBN-13: 978-0521541176