Department of Applied Science, UC Davis

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The Department of Applied Science at the University of California, Davis was a cooperative academic program involving the University of California, Davis and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). It was established in the fall of 1963 by Edward Teller, director of LLNL,[1] and Roy Bainer, then dean of the UC Davis College of Engineering.[2] The department was discontinued in 2011.[3]


Teller's push for an educational institution associated with the LLNL was part of a general movement championed by Alvin M. Weinberg of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to use the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories to educate scientists, since at the time the department employed roughly 10% of the scientists in the United States.[4] Teller first approached the University of California, Berkeley with his idea,[5] but the faculty there opposed the idea because of the military focus of the program and the administration wasn't receptive. So he turned, reluctantly,[6] to UC Davis instead. There Bainer and Emil M. Mrak, then chancellor of UCD, were more receptive to Teller's plan,[7] although some faculty of the College of Engineering were unhappy with the idea of outsiders teaching their students.[6]

Nicknamed "Teller Tech,"[8] the department was established in 1963 by Edward Teller on the grounds of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).[9] It was the first graduate education program associated with one of the national laboratories.[6] At the dedication of the new program, then president of the University of California, Clark Kerr, said that the school's "imaginative new curriculum" would allow the department to "build in a short time and at small cost a highly advanced training program of great significance to modern society."[10]

The lab at first shared the facilities at Lawrence Livermore, although the students conducted non-classified research.[4] Teller intended the DAS to educate advanced students in nuclear physics and other subjects applicable to defense industries.[9] The Atomic Energy Commission, which administered LLNL, was worried about allowing DAS to use its facilities if foreign students would be enrolled. To meet this objection Teller agreed to limit the number of foreign students attending and to require prospective students to undergo FBI background checks.[4]

Teller, who had been director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory beginning in 1958, was named the first chairman of the Department of Applied Science.[5] Its main location, built in 1976,[11] was on the grounds of the LLNL in a building paid for with a matching grant of $1,000,000 from the Hertz Foundation and thus called Hertz Hall.[12]

The Department of Applied Science later became more centered at the UC Davis campus. Many of the department's faculty had joint appointments with LLNL or other national laboratories, so that students in the department had access to facilities in both locations.

The UC Davis College of Engineering closed the Department of Applied Science in July 2011 for budgetary reasons after 48 years of operation.[3]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "Controversial champion for defense, nuclear research Edward Teller dies". UC Davis Dateline. September 19, 2003. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ William A. Bookless (November 1995). State of the Laboratory: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. DIANE Publishing. pp. 85–6. ISBN 978-0-7881-2614-7. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Cory Golden (July 2, 2011). "UCD department shuttered as more budget cuts loom". Davis Enterprise. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Peter J. Westwick (2003). The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974. Harvard University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-674-00948-6. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Istvan Hargittai. Judging Edward Teller: A Closer Look at One of the Most Influential Scientists of the Twentieth Century. Prometheus Books. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-61614-269-8. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Edward Teller; Judith L. Shoolery (16 October 2002). Memoirs: A Twentieth Century Journey in Science and Politics. Basic Books. p. 479-80. ISBN 978-0-7867-5170-9. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Clark Kerr (1 September 2001). The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949-1967. University of California Press. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-520-22367-7. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Peter Goodchild (2004). Edward Teller: The Real Dr. Strangelove. Harvard University Press. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-674-01669-9. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Stephen B. Libby; Karl A. Van Bibber (30 April 2010). Edward Teller Centennial Symposium: Modern Physics and the Scientific Legacy of Edward Teller : Livermore, CA, USA, 28 May 2008. World Scientific. p. 152. ISBN 978-981-283-799-8. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "News Notes: Classroom and Campus". New York Times. March 22, 1964. p. E7. 
  11. ^ Derrick Bang (March 15, 2012). "UCD College of Engineering celebrates 50 years". Davis Enterprise. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ William J Broad (15 October 1986). Star Warriors. Simon and Schuster. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-671-62820-8. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "UCD professor emeritus to receive National Medal of Science at White House next month". Davis Enterprise. September 22, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2013.