Inaugurated fifty years ago as a key component in the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory remains one of the nation's premier research institutions. This profusely illustrated volume, written for a non-scientific readership, chronicles the history of the laboratory from its origins to the present day. Leland Johnson and Daniel Schaffer begin their narrative in 1943 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built ORNL in the hills of East Tennessee to produce plutonium for atomic weapons. After World War II, ORNL became a center for fundamental scientific research under the successive management of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Energy Research and Development Administration, and the Department of Energy. Since 1945, the laboratory's contributions to national defense have been balanced by its investigations in many other areas, including nuclear medicine and environmental research. As the authors demonstrate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory represents the concerns of the American scientific establishment in microcosm. The facility was part of the flourishing of "big science" that began in the 1940s, and the workings of ORNL clearly illustrate the ties between scientific research and military concerns that continued well into the post-World War II era. Now that the Cold War is over, the laboratory's activities have embarked in directions that reveal the nation's new priorities in science, the environment, and technology. Thus this book, by offering a window into the past and present activity at Oak Ridge, allows the reader to glimpse the larger trends within the scientific community.