DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
Health Physicist William J. Bair, Ph.D.
Donner Lab Administrator Baird G. Whaley
HUMAN RADIATION STUDIES:
|BERGE:||[My name is Anna Berge. I work at the Lawrence
Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) Archives and Records Office. I am conducting an oral
history of Baird Whaley] on August 15, 1994, at his residence in Berkeley.|
I was wondering if you could start us off with a little description of how you got to be what you got to be, and how you ended up at the lab?
|WHALEY:|| I went to the University of California at Berkeley and
majored in Math, and graduated in 1951. I was in ROTC [(Reserve Officer Training
Corps)] when the Korean War had broken out; so I was called up into active duty.
I was in for about 19 months, wounded, got out. I didn't have anything in
particular to do. My uncle was an entrepreneur. He had the Oldsmobile agency in
Berkeley, and a number of other small businesses. He liked to buy sick
businesses and cure them, or try to cure them. He had a stationery store that he
was trying to sell and needed a manager, and I needed a job.|
So I went to work for him for about a year. Then he found a buyer. I was about to get married at that point [(1954)]. I got married with no job and decided that since the University was the biggest employer in town, and since I wanted to stay in Berkeley, I would try there
I went to the Bureau of Occupations and talked to Nancy Corson, who I think was the assistant there at that time. She wasn't very helpful, and I left without anything particular to follow up on. I got home, and that afternoon she called and said there was a position at what was then known as the Rad Lab.1 They were looking for someone to do administrative work at the Donner Laboratory2; but who also had a scientific background. And math counted as a scientific background.
I went in and talked to Bill Bigelow. And he then arranged an interview for me with [the Donner Laboratory assistant director], Jim Born. Of course, I had one with [Berkeley Radiation Laboratory Director] John Lawrence.3 That's how I got there.4 I was hired as an administrative assistant. He [(Lawrence)] wasn't very big on titles during those days. I started on August 5, 1954. I stayed there until I retired, on August 31, 1986.
While Dr. Lawrence was the director,5 I had essentially the same job. At one point, I did take over the administration of what we called the "odd funds" (the non-AEC6 research grants, like the U.S. Public Health Service and various others, that at that time couldn't come through the Laboratory). They came through the campus. Those were a much smaller fraction of our support than the AEC. But I looked after those, and also the personnel side of the operation. There was a kind-of dual management.
A man named Bob San Souci (he has since passed away) was the business manager. Again, that wasn't an official title. He looked after the AEC side of it and the "things" side: purchasing, the plant maintenance, etc. He moved to Livermore,7 when Jack Gofman8 left Donner and went out to head up the new biomed program at Livermore.9 Igor Blake was hired to replace him. Igor and I also had kind-of dual status, which amounted to kind-of coadministrators, until Ed Alpen came in in 1976. Within a year, Igor went into central administration and wasn't replaced. I became the administrator of the whole division, from 1977 until I retired in 1986.
Where would you like me to go from that?
|BERGE:||Maybe we could start in some kind of chronological order;
starting with your first years in the 1950s. For example, you mentioned that you
worked primarily with the non-AEC funding. What other institutions did Donner
have dealings with?|
|WHALEY:||There was a large amount of donations from patients and
families of patients, and friends of Dr. Lawrence. He and his wife were very
well-connected socially, in San Francisco and on the Peninsula. These were
And they became interested in his work, and contributed to the Laboratory. John
Gofman had Air Force contracts, and he had support from Eli Lilly [in
Indianapolis]. I don't know if they still exist. They were a big pharmaceutical
and they may have been merged into something else.12 Merckthey were also a
Also, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Those were mostly John Gofman's
support. I think that Dr. Lawrence's [support] was principally in the National
Institutes of Health [(NIH)] area.14 I've learned that your memory
gets a little fuzzy. Later, there was a shift in the handling of these funds,
and they came through LBL.|
The reason that these funds originally came in through the campus, as I mentioned before, was that they couldn't come in through the Laboratory, because the Laboratory was strictly an AEC (later ERDA15 and DOE16) operation. It wasn't permitted to have other kinds of financial support. That's been a source of problems all along. I think one of the things that the AEC looked at was the fact that they paid for everything. They paid for the buildings and the roads, and the whole works. Why should, then, some other agency come in and get a free ride? Which was a point of view you could certainly argue either way. Donner was on the campus. That's an important point.
When I first went there in 1954, the original wing of the Donner Laboratory (which had been built in 1941 and '42) was there, and construction was underway on what I still call the new building, although it's 40 years old now; the wing that comes out to the north from the original building. Our office17 and the Technical Illustrations section were in Room 100, Building T-1, which was the easternmost of a string of former Navy barracks that were dismantled and brought in from Camp Parks, and located on campus in Botany Glage. T-1 was located roughly where the front porch of Evans Hall is now. The animal colony was then in Building 55, which now is, or was when I was last there, Research Medicine (the building that is just below Building 90).
We had one small piece of space, probably no more than a room, in Building 50. At that time, Crocker Laboratory and the sixty-inch cyclotron18 were still in existence on the campus. Although Crocker was under the same contract, we had very little connection with Dr. Hamilton's19 group. Crocker was, de facto, almost separate administratively. I don't know really, why, other than perhaps history and possibly personality. He and Dr. Lawrence were both very strong personalities.20 So was Dr. Gofman.21
At that point, when I came in, the Donner Pavilion had just been finished (the little hospital unit located at Cowell Hospital). I think it was probably within a month or so after I came, that they irradiated the first patient at the 184-inch cyclotron. I remember that very well, although I didn't have anything to do with the science end of it. Jim Born, who was really a wonderful person to work for, sensed that it was quite a historic moment. And he told me to come on up with him, and to be there and observe the first treatment.
I remember E.O. [(Ernest)] Lawrence22 coming in. Besides Dr. Lawrence, there was Dr. [Hardin] Jones, who was the other assistant director23. He was essentially more for science, while Dr. Born was assistant director for administration. Dr. Born was really the administrator. He had a legal background as well as medical.
And there was Dr. Gofman and Dr. [Cornelius] Tobias.24 They were working in a field that had originally been called, in the earlier days, "medical physics." They were beginning to call it "nuclear medicine"25 now. I'm probably not the best person to talk about it. I think a lot of it had to do with politics and power. Medical physics was coming to be seen as a very narrow part of the field. They preferred it to be called "biophysics,"26
I remember Toby [(Tobias)] had a colleagueI think his name was Franklin Hutchinsonat Yale, where they had a Department of Biophysics. People were using that terminology here. And they had formed this little academic department, which was called the Division of Medical Physics, back in 1944. They were trying periodically to get that to be called " the Department of Biophysics." That was very political on the campus, biophysics being a more encompassing field. There were faculty members in other departments that said, "We really are the Department of Biophysics." They solved that for a long time by creating the Graduate Group in Biophysics, which was an interdepartmental organization.
Eventually, the Division of Medical Physics (I think it was on the verge of being dismantled) was reviewed by an academic committee, which was so impressed with what they had done, that instead of dismantling it and parceling out the faculty members to other departments on campus, they gave it departmental status; which is what the Division of Medical Physics faculty wanted. I think they called it "the Department of Biophysics and Medical Physics."
Over the years, we had lots of involved conflicts with them over space in the Donner Laboratory building. That was an issue that reoccurred time and again. It generated some acrimony. Someplace, certainly in George Pappas's files, and someplace in our files, (if the young folks, who came in and who are great for throwing things away, because they couldn't see the point in saving them, have kept them) I have an enormous file on the space controversy.
In addition to the work I mentioned (the first patient being treated at the cyclotron), there was the Donner Clinic, which was located for many years in the Donner building; and then moved to Building 55, when Building 55 was no longer the animal house but was the home base of what, at that time, was called the Research Medicine Group. Ed Alpen reorganized the division very extensively when he came in 1976. The clinic, to the best of my knowledge, goes back to almost the very beginnings; in the late '30s, John Lawrence. I don't know exactly when they started staffing it with laboratory technologists, but certainly they did that as time went on. It goes way back in the history. In that end of it there were various people.
Jim Born had a lot to do with the clinicin other words, the blood work. I guess, when I first went there, that was under Nat Berlin. Not long after I arrived, Nat left and went to National Institutes of Health (I think he was with the [National] Cancer Institute). There was Rex Huff, who I think ended up in Seattle. Paul ElmlingerI think I remember. After that group, which was basically phasing out when I arrived, Myron Pollycove27 came and was there for quite a time. Then he moved across the bay to San Francisco General [Hospital] for the UCSF28 isotope service there. Jim McRae came from Australia. Bring[ing] McRae here was Dr. Jim Born's doing.
|BERGE:||Can you spell McRae?|
|WHALEY:||Capital M-C, capital R-A-EJames. Then, of course, Tom
Budinger. That's much later on. I think that Tom would have come in the late
'60s. He was there while Lawrence was still here. He'd come from Livermore, I
think. I'm not clear what he was doing; whether he was with the Medical
Department out there, or whether he was a researcher. After Ed Alpen came, Tom
was the head of that whole medical group: the Research Medicine Group, which for
a time included the cyclotron irradiation program.|
At this point, Joseph Castro had come on-board. When I say, "At this point," I'm not sure exactly when Castro came. I think that was in the early, mid-'70s; not long before Ed Alpen came to the Lab. Castro eventually used the Bevatron,29 using the cyclotron for certain kinds of cancer. Whereas, the other program had been [focusing on pituitary gland irradiation for] acromegaly30 and Cushing's disease.31 They started out early trying to treat breast cancer,32 but it wasn't very successful. That's something that Jan[ice] DeMoor could tell you an awful lot more about than I could.
I think I'm slightly out of gas at this point. Is this the direction that you want to go in?
|BERGE:||Sure. Do you want me to just keep asking questions?|
|BERGE:||I'm interested inyou mentioned quite a number of people who were very
active at that time. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more
about them, such as Hardin Jones or Cornelius Tobias and Rex Huff.|
|WHALEY:||I don't know very much about Berlin, Huff, Elmlinger. I know that, when I
arrived, Paul Elmlinger had had some serious psychological problems. He left the
laboratory very shortly after I arrived. Other than by reading things, most of
which I'm afraid I've forgotten at this point, I don't know very much about
Hardin Jones was a very early associate of John Lawrence's. It goes back I think to the late '30s, probably. He was a physiologist.33 I remember Dr. Lawrence telling me one time that Jones was the finest experimentalist that he had ever run across. He became, at some point, the scientific assistant director under Dr. Lawrence. He had a group. Ernest Dobson34 worked under himLola Kelly,35 Margaret White. In later years: Colonel Lawrence Milch, Colonel Alex Grendon.
A little diversion there: There had been a group called "the RZ Group." I don't know where that title came from, but they were military people who came in to study what was called "bioradiology." [The University] offered a master's degree in Bioradiology. I think you perhaps better ask somebody else before we put this into print, but it was more focused on the industrial safety end of things. Colonel Grendon became, I guess it was under [California Governor] Pat Brown, the Coordinator of Radiation Safety for the State of California. Thomas Jukes was another who briefly, before he went to the Space Science Laboratory, came under the aegis of Hardin Jones.
|BERGE:||What years were these?|
|WHALEY:||Oh, boythe RZ Groupmy impression is, late '40s, or early '50s.
Alex Grendon would have been there duringcertainly late '60s to early
'70s. It might have been longer than that. I can't remember when Larry Milch was
there. It was not very long. Tom Jukes was there for a long time, but not at
Donner. He was with the biological end of the Space Sciences Laboratory. He may
still be. He still writes letters to the editor. He's pretty well-along now; I
bet he's pushing 90 at this point. He was not on the tenured faculty, but a step
down, in the Division of Medical Physics.|
Hardin became very (both he and Dr. Lawrence were politically very conservative) much upset by, and then involved against, the counter-culture movement of the '60svery much involved and concerned about, "the marijuana question." He had a course about marijuana, which was very popular. He was strongly against marijuana use. He devoted perhaps more effort on that than what was appropriate, considering what his other responsibilities were. He died of a heart attack. It's been a long time ago, I would say it was late '70s, after Ed Alpen came on.
|BERGE:||Why do you suppose he and Dr. Lawrence were so conservative?|
|WHALEY:||I don't think they became conservative because of anything that went on at
the Laboratory. I think they just lived conservative. Dr. Lawrence's backgroundhe
grew up and sometimes referred to himself as "a South Dakota farm boy."
He was a product of his times. He was appointed to the Regents by
[then-Governor] Ronald Reagan, not by Pat Brown. The two of them were apparently
quite conservative. Dr. Tobias, I hadn't ever had the slightest idea what his
politics were. Jack Gofman was very much on the other side of the fence: "Any
radiation was damaging. There is no threshold there to stop at."|
|BERGE:||You mentioned before, also [Joseph] Hamilton's group. What did you know
|WHALEY:||Very little. Pat Durbin36 is the person who is still at
the laboratory, that could tell you everything that you wanted to know, and
more, about Hamilton. Crocker Lab was physically separate (it was only a block
away), and it was very much administratively separate. They did all of their own
salary, administration, etc. They dealt directly with the main administration at
the Laboratory, not through Donner.|
I think one of the really interesting things is: "What was the Donner Laboratory?" In my opinion, there is no definitive agreement or document anywhere that describes specifically what the Donner Laboratory was. I'm not talking about the Donner Laboratory building. But as an administrative unit, "What was the Donner Laboratory?"
|BERGE:||Were there any specifications that Mr. Donner had for what the building was
|WHALEY:||Yes. You do know about the plaque on the building? I just refreshed my
memory a touch this morning, by looking in the Fiftieth Anniversary booklet.
That's another question: "When is the fiftieth anniversary?" It'sfifty
years after the place started. Well, when did it start? Anytime you care to
name, from 1936 up through 1941. For reasons that I don't know, they picked
1937. So that made the fiftieth anniversary, 1987. It's a booklet that you ought
to get ahold of. It's not very well-written, but it has a lot of interesting
information in it. It has a picture of the plaque, which as far as I know is
still down on the front of the building. The plaque says, "The Donner
Laboratory. A gift to the Donner Foundation, March 14, 1941, in memory of Joseph
William Donner," who was the son of William Henry Donner (who was the head
of the foundation). Joseph died at age 37 from cancer. "For the application
of physics, chemistry and the natural sciences, to biology and medicine."
William Henry Donner's portrait (there's a picture of it in here) hangs in the
lobby, or it used to hang in the lobby, of the Donner Laboratory building.|
He had become acquainted with the work of Ernest Lawrence, and, through him, the work of John Lawrence. And, because of the untimely death of his son, he was very much interested in Dr. John Lawrence's work. He was very wealthy and had founded the International Cancer Research Foundation, which then mutated into the Donner Foundation. They gave, if my memory serves me, the money that built the original wing of the building, and they gave half the money for the addition. Because at that time, there was a lot of competition for state funding. You could get to the top of the [state's funding] list if you could get private support for half the cost of the building.
John Lawrence went to the Donners, and they put up half the money. I think the building cost, it seems unbelievable now, was somewhere in the neighborhood of five-hundred thousand dollarsthat's the addition. The original building was under two-hundred thousand. You couldn't do that now. They also gave money, but not the whole thing, for the Donner Pavilion. They gave enough so they got their name on it. And they made various gifts for remodeling the old wing of the building. The clinic got remodeled, and various other things were renovated, after the new wing had been built.
They gave money for the publication of a brochure, which we decided to do in two versions: the long brochure and the short brochure. It was very difficult to get everybody to agree on the text. I spent a lot of time trotting manuscripts around to various people. They were changing other people's changes. As a consequence, to the best of my knowledge, the long brochure never was completed; and the money for it was still kicking around somewhere on campus. When I left, they did do the short brochure, which was the sort of thing you'd slip in an envelope to respond to inquiries about what goes on at the Donner Laboratory.
|BERGE:||You mentioned that it's not really clear what the purpose of the Donner
|WHALEY:||Well, no, I didn't make that clear. I don't think there's any question as
to what the purpose of the Donner Laboratory was. But I think there was
considerable question as to: "What was the essential nature?," not in
terms of its scientific program, but in terms of it as an administrative entity.
"What exactly was the Donner Laboratory? Was it just another name for the
Biology and Medicine Division of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory? Was it, in
fact, an organized research unit under the Berkeley campus? Was it an organized
research unit, with references statewide?" You can find all of those things
supported at one time or another; in various publications that may or may not
still be available.|
John Lawrence liked to steer an independent course. He, I think it's fair to say, held that the Donner Laboratory was all of those things at different times; whichever particular one suited whatever the goal was he was pursuing at the moment. Great men very seldom, great people I should say, very seldom accomplish great things by following all the rules and procedures, and bowing and scraping to all of the people in line above them. They find ways of getting things done. John Lawrence was a person that did that. People who don't find those ways, generally don't leave any monuments behind them.
I don't think that anybody knows what Donner was, as an administrative entity. I don't know that I understood what it was. It was a chameleon. It changed its nature according to what was most expeditious at the time. That did not always sit well with the faculty, who were a small fraction of the professional staff of the Bio Med Division. As far as the Donner Laboratory being an organized research unit: there were all kinds of conditions and requirements that there be a faculty oversight committee, although there never was anything like that.
|BERGE:||When were the requirements put in place?|
|WHALEY:||That, I don't know.|
|BERGE:||By "faculty oversight committee," what does that mean?|
|WHALEY:||That would be a group of faculty. There would be an institute or
laboratory, or something or other, and it has a faculty director. It may have a
small staff, and then faculty members from various departments (appropriate to
whatever field of study the institute has) conduct research there. It's
different from an academic department. There are rules and requirements, which
I'm pretty fuzzy on at this late juncture. Every five years or every ten years,
it may have changed somewhere along the line, a faculty oversight committee
would look at the program and the functioning of this institute or laboratory or
bureau or whatever it was; really for the purpose of seeing whether or not it
ought to be continued, or whether it had outlived its usefulness. That put these
things under the control of the faculty. The Donner Laboratory never had that
kind of oversight. The oversight committee was John Lawrence.|
|BERGE:||He just went out|
|WHALEY:||He did his thing.|
|BERGE:||So when you needed to do something that he couldn't do, by being a
university entity, how did you go about doing it?|
|WHALEY:||If the campus was about to bear down on him, on some administrative
bureaucratic requirement that he should do thus-and-such, he would say, "We're
part of the Radiation Laboratory. We're the Biology and Medicine Division of
UCRL [(University of California Radiation Laboratory)], or LRL [(Lawrence
Radiation Laboratory)], or LBL, whatever it was at the time. We don't respond to
you people." Likewise, if something were coming down [on him] from the
Laboratory (this was less true in the latter part of his regime, when he tended
to be more LBL-oriented), he would assume a campus position.|
I think that there where probably a flock of factors. I think his desire to be independent (amateur psychology being just as valuable as amateur brain surgery)37 probably had something to do with a wish not to be totally overshadowed by his brother. Because, in his own right, he accomplished a great deal. He might have accomplished different things in a different place if his brother hadn't invented the cyclotron. But he did, and John Lawrence came to Berkeley. And he took that situation, and he parlayed it into quite a considerable scientific achievement. But, certainly, very many people, when they hear Lawrence and Berkeley, they think it's Ernest.38
|BERGE:||How does John Lawrence, then, end up directing the Donner Lab?|
|WHALEY:||He had either the skill or the good fortune to associate with him some very
capable people, and the good sense to give them their head. He wasn't an easy
man to work for. I don't know how the scientists felt. Administratively, he
wasn't easy to work for. I remember Jack Schooley often said, "That was the
one great thing about Donneris that John Lawrence let you do your thing
scientifically." He hired you because he had an idea of where it was that
you wanted to go, and so, he let you go there. If he wasn't interested in where
you were going, then he probably wouldn't hire you. I think that was one of his
strengths. He didn't always pick top-notch people.|
Everybody who works in that end of things makes some boo-boos. I certainly did. The other thing is: he was very good at raising money. He certainly cultivated the Donners. They put, over those early years, a lot of money into the Laboratory. Later, the foundation changed. There again, Robert Donner, who was William Henry's son, lived in Colorado Springs. He was, politically, exceptionally conservative. Whether there was any rapport because of that, I don't know. William Henry Donner was certainly a conservative man. But the foundation, and I don't remember at what point, split. The older members of the family formed (I think it was called), the Liberty Foundation. It remained in Philadelphia, which is where the headquarters for the Donner Foundation was.
The money came out of Donner Steel Company, which was absorbed by one of the big steel companies; either Bethlehem or Republic. It's a wonderful story. I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not. Supposedly, William Henry Donner had been badgered, by whichever of the large steel companies it was, to sell out his little company; which was in Donota, Pennsylvania (named after the Donners). He is reported to have sold out for cash, at the very height of the boom before the 1929 crash. I think it was $20 million. Which, according to the story, he took in currency and put in a safety deposit box.
The crash came. And when things got down to the very bottom, he took his money out of the box and he started buying stock right left and center, with considerable acumen. And that's how the family got very wealthy. That's a good story. I don't really know if it's true or not, but certainly they had a lot of money. The older half of the family, the Liberty Foundation, they were involved in conservative political causes. The other half of the foundation were the younger members of the family. There was one of the Roosevelt grandchildren. I met some of the young people way back in the '60s. I think it was when the board of directors came out here. They kept up the medical end of it for a bit.
They moved their headquarters to New York, and then it went to Roanoke, Virginia. I don't know why. I think maybe because the guy that was president lived in Roanoke. I don't know that for a fact. They became interested in health care delivery, the health care for native Americans in the southwest, and gradually pulled away from us. However, before the end, they made a pledge of $20,000 a year for 20 years, to fund a Donner professorship of Nuclear Medicine. That's a whole other long story: the difficulties, the impossibilities. Budinger was the only one that ever got, [a salary] even close to that. Berkeley campus is not set up for medical professors on its salary scale. The way these things were set up, called for "research professorships." And there is no such thing as a research professor.
You can't endow a professorship. You can endow it in the sense that you can provide money to support the professor's research, while the salary comes off of the regular budget. But if you endow salary, then they take the equivalent amount of state money away. This was the source of incredible conflict. Because the university, although full-well knowing that, for some reason accepted some of these gifts that required them to do things, their rules prohibited them from doing. They weren't thinking. All of those professors of Nuclear Medicine, with the exception of Budinger, who had a different title, never got appointed.
I'm diverting here from Donner.
I should mention, before it goes out of my head, that Robert Donner's daughter (Peggy Donner Spencer), when I last knew, was still alivelives in Marin County[, California] someplace. If you're interested in getting into the history of the Donner Foundation, she might be somebody to contact. She often came out here with her dad. There was periodic contact with the laboratory.
I think I diverted about three or four times from what I was talking about originally, which has sort of gone out of my head at this point.
|BERGE:||You made a couple of interesting [points] about John Lawrence. I was
wondering. You mentioned that he would hire anyone who was going to do research
that he was interested in. What types of things?|
|WHALEY:||That's something you should ask the scientists. But I think he always kept
his interest in blood research, anything to do with that. He had developed the
32P [(phosphorus-32)] treatment for polycythemia.39 Some say the thyroid,40 the iodine-131,
was the first treatment with radioactive isotopes. I don't know what was the
first one. But certainly, 32P was an early one, and a very successful one. We
did the 131I alsoand also, things like Jack Schooley's basic research.
There were the people who treated patients and who were interested in the use of
isotopes for diagnosing hematologic41 disorders, and treating
them. Then there were the people who liked to do basic research. Schooley would
be an example.|
|BERGE:||I heard from someone else that the person responsible for discovering 32P's
usefulness for polycythemia was someone elseHollaendersomething like
|WHALEY:||There was an Alex Hollaender.42 It certainly wouldn't be the
Hollander I'm thinking of, who was a hematologist at Kaiser Oakland [Hospital]but
that was decades later. There was a Hollaender who was one of that very early
group of researchers. I think his name was Alex, and I think he worked at Oak
way back when. I don't know. A scientist might know.|
Certainly, whether or not Dr. John Lawrence was the very first to do that [form of systemic radiotherapy], he certainly was the one that exploited the heck out of it. He treated a lot of people. They were still treating polycythemics when I joined the laboratory, and continued to do so for quite a good number of years. Have you run across the story where he traveled to Yugoslavia to treat Cardinal Stepinac? That was newsworthy, and the kind of publicity that doesn't hurt fundraising, either.
|BERGE:||You also mentioned that he was difficult to work for as an administrator.|
|WHALEY:||I think maybe I prefer not to go into that. It's not an unknown phenomenon
that people who are outgoing, and aggressively pursuing the building of great
institutions, are perhaps not going to get the Nobel Prize for being marvelous
supervisors. It's a privilege to have been a part of all of that. But it wasn't
always a pleasure.|
|BERGE:||We talked a little bit about Hardin Jones. Can you tell me a little bit
about people like Gofman and Tobias?|
|WHALEY:||I don't know an awful lot about Jack Gofman. I guess he was just a
certified genius. He had his Ph.D. [in Nuclear/Physical Chemistry]. He worked
with Glenn Seaborg44
on the plutonium work.45
Then at some pointI think this must have been in the early '40sI
guess it was, he went to medical school and got an M.D. [in 1946]. As I recall,
he won the "Gold-Headed Cane," because he was the top student in his
I think he went to UCSF. He came back to the laboratory, and formed a group.
Again, you should talk to the scientists, but he was interested in lipoproteins.47 There were those
that thought he was a little obsessed with them. Looking back on it now, it
appears that he probably was decades ahead of his time.48 One person you could talk to
would be Tom Hayes.|
|WHALEY:||H-A-Y-E-S. Tom was a grad student of Gofman's. He got his Ph.D., and stayed
at the laboratory. He did not stay in that field, however. He was deputy
division head under Ed Alpen, and retired a couple of years ago, and still comes
in a little bit. He lives in Oakland. Thomas L. Hayes was interested in diet, as
it related to heart disease and lipoproteins.|
Another one of his grad students was Alex Nichols, who is a professor and is still, currently, now on the staff of the Laboratory. Also, Frank Lindgren. I don't know if Frank is still there or not. Frank was the one who really developed ultracentrification49 as the means for measuring the various classes of lipids.
I think that, in some ways, perhaps Gofman's greatest impact might have been through the people that he trained, and what they did later. That's a judgment I'm not really qualified to make. It strikes me that some of those people, who were associated with him in the early days (I guess Hayes and Nichols got their Ph.D.s just after I got there, the rest of them had them before), had a big impact on the field. Gofman himself, as you probably know, in 1963 went out to Livermore to start up, at the AEC's request, a biomedical program out there.50 He took some of his group with him; not Lindgren, Hayes, and Nichols. Bob San Souci, who I mentioned earlier, was an administrator who went out there with him.
|BERGE:||Why did they leave? Were they asked to leave?|
|WHALEY:||Gofman was asked by Charlie Dunham.|
|BERGE:||Who was that?|
|WHALEY:||Dr. Charles L. Dunham. His is a name that would figure prominently in
Donner history. He was the head of, what I think they called, the Division of
Biology and Medicine of the AEC [between 1963 and 1967]. He was our funding
source. There was, and this I remember very clearlyit was 1963, and there
was concern about fallout [from atmospheric atomic testing],51 and the
biological impact of fallout: "What was happening to us?" The AEC
didn't have as much of a research program as was desirable.|
And so, Dunham asked Jack Gofman to go to Livermore and set up a program there to study fallout.52 Remember, Livermore is a weapons laboratory. And this may have been more than to just study fallout. He went there because Dunham asked him to go there [to Livermore, California] and do it. Gofman was the kind of man who inspired very intense loyalty in his staff. They went with him because they wanted to continue working for him. He had AEC support. The AEC support for Dr. Gofman wasn't going to continue at Berkeley when he wasn't at Berkeley anymore.
|BERGE:||How did Berkeley react when he left? What happened to the funding?|
|WHALEY:||I don't remember, but I think some of it stayed. Lindgren got some. Nichols
got some. Gofman had some NIH grants. I think Lindgren also had one at that
time. He may have been more-or-less self-supporting. Nichols, that's an
interesting question. I don't think the NIH grants could go to Livermore. This
was when these were all on-campus in Berkeley. They couldn't do it at the
Laboratory. I think Nichols may have inherited one of Gofman's [NIH grants] as a
substitute P.I. [(principal investigator)], and then went ahead and got one on
I don't think that there was any animosity generated by the move. John Lawrence was a very forceful, vigorous individual who was pursuing his vision of the Donner Laboratory. And Jack Gofman was a very forceful, aggressive individual who was pursuing his vision of a research program. Sometimes those things collided. I would suspect, but I don't know, that neither one of them was terribly unhappy that this separation had taken place. Certainly, a program in that scientific area (lipids) continued at Donner. It has certainly been on a long-term basis through Lindgren and Nichols. Tom Hayes, although he had been a grad student of Gofman's, really didn't stay in the lipid area. He ended up in electron microscopy.53 That's what I associate him with.
|BERGE:||What about Cornelius Tobias?|
|WHALEY:||Tobias, as I recall, was a graduate student from Hungary, and was trapped
here by the war, [a refugee from Hitler]. He became associated with Lawrence at
the end of the 1930s. It's awfully hard to say.|
Some feel he was the most brilliant scientist in the whole history of Donner Laboratory. That would be very hard to say. But certainly, he would be one of the top contenders for that. He did, really, much of the basic research that led up to the use of the cyclotron and the bevatron, medically. That's what he will most be remembered for. I think, very likely, that's what he would want to most be remembered for. He was very widely respected in the country. He had very good success in generating money; particularly from the National Institutes of Health. He told me, one time, because I dealt with personnel, that he didn't like "technicians," because they always went home at five o'clock.
He came out of the central European academic tradition, the: "Herr Doctor, Professor." He expected very hard work from his graduate students, and he much preferred to use graduate students. That was, to put it frankly, the source of some conflict within the faculty. Because many of his graduate students took an inordinately long time to get a degree. And it was the feeling that it was because they kept getting diverted to work on this project and that project of Dr. Tobias's, instead of their thesis. On the other hand, the grad students of Cornelius Tobias usually did very well in the world, because of Toby's reputation. Anybody that got a Ph.D. with him was well-vouched-for when they went out to look for jobs.
He is now retired, and I believe he's living in Oregon. I had a fair amount of contact with him. He was a nice man. He was the sort you enjoyed working with. He too, had his vision of the research that he wanted to do. And I think there was some feeling, occasionally, that perhaps the research that he was doing with money from Source A, may not really have been quite the research that Source A money was given for. I don't think that was one of his primary concerns: that the funding and the research should be very tightly related. That was not uncommon.
We accomplished a good deal in this country by operating in that mode. But the trend has been quite in the other direction: that of rigid accountability. You can make a good case for that. If money is given for a certain purpose, that's what it should be used for. But you can also make some historic allusions to money that was given for X and was used instead for Y, and look what Y turned out to be. A little gain and a little loss as you go along. He was a very bright and able man.
|BERGE:||What about on the administrative side, what about Bob San Souci?|
|WHALEY:||I was very fond of Bob. And he was very good to me; to help me to learn the
ropes. He had been in World War IIArmy officer, lieutenant colonel. I'm
not quite sure how he got to the laboratory. I would put his arrival in
probably, the late '40s: '47, '48, somewhere in there. If you look at the
administrative history of the laboratory, I think that Donner, or Bio-Med, was
the only Division at that point that had somebody specifically hired and
designated to do that kind of administrative work. This is really an interesting
thing. After all, there was this big administrative structure centrally: Wally
Reynolds, and Rex Barton, and all of those purchasing people, etc. Most
divisions didn't have people like Bob.|
Although I can't speak for the very early times, but a little later on, they in fact did have people like that. But they didn't call them administrators. For the most part, they were scientists. Bill Nolan was, in effect, Louis [(pronounced "Louie")] Alvarez's administrator, but he was classified as a scientist. To some extent, Earl Hyde had an administrative role in chemistry. When I was hired, I was a replacement for somebody else. So, sometime between the time Bob came on, there were now two administrative people in Bio-Med. There was some negative feeling by scientists in other divisions of the laboratory that that was wrong, and that you didn't need that, and you shouldn't have it. Gradually, that [formal administrative] structure evolved in other Divisions. Because, in fact, you did need itin fact, you did have it. It's just that you masked it [by having scientists do administrative work part-time] and, whether deliberately or not, and you didn't call it that. Long before I left, every division had a division administrator, who was so designated, plus supporting administrative personnel in the division.
|BERGE:||Why do you suppose Donner was the first?|
|WHALEY:||I think because John Lawrence was trying to carve an independent way. It
gave you a little more flexibility; plus the fact that we had a good foot in the
campus, which was not true with the other divisions. There weren't really
anything like the "odd funds" in the other divisions. They all had
ties to campus departments through the faculty members that had joint
appointments in Physics or Chemistry. But that wasn't an arrangement at all like
Donner. Why was that? I don't know why that was. It just grew that way. Perhaps
because, in Donner, they were inventing a discipline that later became the
subject of the academic Division of Medical Physics.|
I think it's one of the few cases that I can think of where it worked in that direction. Usually, you had a historic scientific discipline, and that spawned an institute or a bureau or a laboratory, whatever.
But this was the other way around. You were creating research on topics that had never before existed. And now you had to have some kind of an academic unit to teach itit certainly was true. And when Igor and I were both there, there was certainly criticism of there being two such highly paid [administrative] people.
|BERGE:||What kinds of things was Bob San Souci doing?|
|WHALEY:||He looked after the budgetboth in terms of costingthat's what
budget people do at the division. They cost proposals and they monitor expenses.
They tell you, "Yes, you can afford this kind of person. No, you can't
afford that kind of person with that budget." They're really, in a place
like Donner, they're an interface between the scientists and the people who are
really accountable, who certainly arethe central administration. You need
somebody to interface with the plant and facilities people.|
It puts a unit at a tremendous disadvantage, if you don't have somebody at a level that can speak to decisionmakers in the departments you depend on for service supportif you're in a situation where you either have to take a scientist to deal with this, which is what they did to some extent on the hill54 (before they got into the present structure), or you have to have a clerical person. Clerical people don't carry any weight. So if you have a recurring problem with your ventilation system or with the electrical system, you're not going to get very far if you have a clerk calling up somebody at this leveland saying, "Gee, you have to get out here and do something about it." This guy has a budget to worry about, and he's got people at his level to deal with.
I think it evolved because there was a real need there. It didn't matter what you called it, whether you covered it up, or whether it's as Donner did and was explicit about what these people did: personnel, salary. Bob was very good on the "thing" end of things. On the budget, he was remarkably good. Somewhere, and I suppose the people that followed me threw it away, I discovered and saved a device he used to monitor the AEC budget. This must go back into the '50s. It was sheets of columnar accounting paper, and what was obviously something cut out of a huge sheet of cardboard; probably used for a technical illustration. All of the numbers were filled out by hand in ink: July, August, September, October, November, and all the budget numbers.
Contrast that with the computer-generated spreadsheets today. It's just remarkable what has happened in one person's lifetime, less than a whole life.
Bob probably was less strong in the people end of things. That's what I ended up in. I was good in the budget. I had the math background. I wasn't particularly interested in dealing with the plant and facilities. I had to have Igor do that, or hire somebody to do that after he had left.
|BERGE:||What do you mean you were strong on the people end of it? What did you do?|
|WHALEY:||Not for scientists, now. We're talking about support people,
clerical people. For years I interviewed every applicant, along with the
supervisornot sitting in the same room, but we both interviewed them. A
joint decision: "Who would get hired out of a pool of applicants for a
particular position?" I did the staff work for salary adjustments. We had a
salary committee that actually made the decisions. But I prepared all of the
stuff, and it never really came to a vote. So I don't know whether I would have
had a vote or not; probably not. But there are ways that you can influence the
committee toward a particular objective.|
|WHALEY:||Sometimes you're not successful. In the very early days, there was tendency
not to hire people as "Technicians." There was a tendency to hire
people, because it carried more prestige, as "Junior Professionals."
There was a series that the lab had for many years. Put in the name of a
discipline: Biologist, Physicist, Chemist; with grades P-1 up to P-8 (actually
there was P-9 and P-10, off the end of the scale). It was so much classier to be
a "Biologist P-2," than to be a "Laboratory Technician." But
it didn't really reflect what they were doing.|
Gradually, that changed, except in a few cases. These people ended up being very badly treated on salary, because they didn't get general adjustments, and the technicians did. I kept trying to persuade the committee to change these people. They did, but it took me a long time. It wasn't until Dr. Alpen came in that I was successful in doing that.
Another example: if somebody pipes up and says, "I think that X ought to get a 15 percent increase," you think, "Now X works in your group, right?" You don't say that, but you think that, because nobody wants to contradict. You say, "Let me just point out people: that a minute ago, you only gave B six percent. And B and X have been equal [in their annual raises], if you look at the record for the last seven years, and nobody has put up a justification for changing that now." Then you can get people to back offnot always, but often you can do that.
It's not just a question of filling out forms, and sitting there and taking the minutes. You can take an active participation. Even if push comes to shove, [however,] you're not [ultimately] going to make the decision.
What else? That was really mostly what it was. It's interesting, now, looking back over the years. There aren't very many administrators in the division. There was Bob and Igor and there was me, up until my retirement. That is 40 years. Bob became very heavily allied with Jack Gofman.
It's a kind of situation where: yes, you are supporting everybody in the division. Everybody is equal, but some are more equal than others. You do a little more support here. Don't ask me why. I have no idea what started that. But it was certainly true that Bob was heavily associated with Gofman and did a lot of things for him in an administrative way, that other groups had to pretty much do for themselves. Because there wasn't enough of us to go around to do that sort of thing. The same when Igor Blake became associated, in exactly the same way, with Tobias. And he did a lot of things for him that did generate some complaints, every now and then. I didn't really become associated that way with any one group. I didn't think you could point to anyone and say, "Baird's showing favoritism for so-and-so, and doing extra work for them that he doesn't do for me." I don't think it was because I was good or pure or anything. It's just that that wasn't my vision of the job.
|BERGE:||What about Dr. Born?|
|WHALEY:||He was a fabulous man. He was an attorney first, and practiced as an
attorney for a short time, and then he went to medical schoolgot his
medical degree. He came out here and was working. I'm not sure if he was still
in his residency, or if he was actually working for Kaiser [Hospital]. He died a
number of years ago. His wife [(widow)] is still living in the area. She was a
physician too, and worked in the Student Health Services at Cowell [Hospital]
for many, many years. I think, perhaps, she may have even been there when he was
at Kaiser. I don't know that.|
John Lawrence was looking for somebody who had administrative skills, and was a medical person. Jim [Born] just fit the bill ideally. It was probably through the University, through Bill Donald, Sr. (not Bill Donald, Jr., who was in practice in Berkeley for so long and just retired a year or two ago). Bill Donald, Sr. was the university physician. And I think he may have put John Lawrence and Jim Born in touch.
Jim was very good. He was very smooth. He could interact with all kinds of people on all kinds of difficult problems, and work out resolutions and compromises. Whatever that quality is, he had it. In something like that, I think the medical degree helps; not because of what he learned in medical school, but it carries a certain amount of clout with it. Bob and I were given the nuts-and-bolts, and the routine things. Jim was, for example, good on dealing with the campus architect, and he had a savoir-faire.
He was also very active in both the clinic research program (saw lots of patients), and also, although he had a less direct involvement patient-by-patient, in what we called the Pituitary55 Irradiation Program. Not Joe Castro's program, but the original one: Cushing's [disease] and acromegaly. He was a really nice man. He was appointed [Donner Lab] Director, as you probably know, after John Lawrence went on the Regents, and it wasn't permitted that John Lawrence continue as director. You can't be on the Regents and also have an administrative position. Although, I think there was the one exception: that was a professor at UCSF.
Jim became director, and I think he was not a very successful Director. It pains me to say that, because I thought the world of him and he was very, very nice to me. I worked very closely with him. During the time when John Lawrence was director, I worked much more closely with Jim than I did with John Lawrence. We had our offices right next to each other, and we were in and out all the time. Maybe he was too nice; I don't know. I think that he lacked the ability to say, "No," often enough. That's one thing about Ed Alpen, he knew how to say, "No"for the most part, in a way that people would accept it, although they might not be thrilled.
Jim did have that difficulty. Also, I think there's a difference between managing an organization, and administering an organization. I think in managing an organization, you are placing a good deal of emphasis on planning, and the future, and the changes that you have to make in order to remain at the forefront of conditions that are always changing. Administering is taking what you have and seeing that it runs smoothly. I think that maybe, in Jim's reign, there was too much administration and not enough management. Because he was forced out, as you may or may not know.
When Andy Sessler became Director, after Ed Macmillan and Andy and Earl Hyde pushed him out, that's what they did. They felt he wasn't the one, because the program was not running successfully. There was a big review by the AEC for three or four days, and the programs were presented. And a lot of programs were held to be no longer strong and viable. And scientists were laid off.
|BERGE:||How do you think that happens? Do you think that was only because John
Lawrence left, or was it something that was developing over a long time?|
|WHALEY:||I think it was developing over a long period of time. Because I don't think
in just three or four years that you're going to have a going-down-hill. It's
true, I think, that many scientists, looking back on it, that they have a period
of intense creativity and then they continue doing the same research for the
rest of their careers. And a point comes when you can't continue in that area
successfully. I think that's it. Obviously, that's a gradual process. He on
whose watch it becomes very apparent, tends to get blamed.|
|BERGE:||You mentioned the pituitary program several times already in the earlier
period. Can you talk a little more about that?|
|WHALEY:||That's whatagain you really need to talk to the scientists. The
pituitary is a nice target for the cyclotron because it's symmetric and you can
do the rotation. There were all kinds. It was thought that breast cancer might
be dependent on hormones, that were either secreted by, or in one way or another
controlled by, the pituitary. There were these other conditions where, in fact,
the pituitary was involved: acromegaly and Cushing's [disease]. The technology
was such (as much as I understand about it) that they weren't really able to
deliver odd-shaped doses of radiationdoses of radiation to odd-shaped
tumors that weren't symmetrically located [(centered at the axis of a rotating
But you could irradiate the pituitary, because of its symmetry. You ended up with the heaviest dose concentrated on the pituitary, and then a double cone56on either side. Of course, you are trying to spread the radiation that doesn't go to the pituitary, out over as much area as possible. That was a major thrust of the program, from 1954 right up until several years before the time I left. The 184-inch [cyclotron] was converted to the ALS. And, I guess, the Bevalac57 isn't there any more. I hear that Dr. Castro is still doing therapy at [UC] Davis. And Dr. Fabrikant, who inherited theit wasn't pituitary, because he was working on arteriovenous58 malformations (AVMs)has died. I assume the program is defunct. Because, unless they go some distance, there isn't a machine to do it on anymore. It was really a centerpiece for 30 years.
|BERGE:||What kind of contact did the scientists have with the patients? And what
kind of contact did you or others have with the patients?|
|WHALEY:||The people that had the greatest contact were our physicians. There were a
whole flock of them over the years working backwards from the time: Jack
Fabrikant, who had the Arterial Venous Malformation program. Before him, John
Linfoot was for many years chief physician at the pavilion. Before him, we had a
variety. C.C. Wang was there from Massachusetts, and John Constable. I think
they may have both been from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).|
|WHALEY:||Yes, just like the famous painter. May even have been related to him.
Richard Carlson, Rollin McCombsthat goes way back.|
|BERGE:||Could you spell his name?|
|WHALEY:||McCombs, Rollinthat must go back to the '50s. At that time, it was
fairly typical for younger physicians to come in and spend a little time, and
then go on to something else. Linfoot was there for a long time.|
|BERGE:||These peopleyou said they were physicians.|
|WHALEY:||They were physicians.|
|BERGE:||They did research too, didn't they?|
|WHALEY:||It was a research program. At least, it was supposed to be a research
program: simply the conduct of the therapy, the evaluations of the patients, the
follow-up. That was one of the big key things, was the follow-up; to bring
people back. If you don't do that, you're just running a clinic. But if this
treatment really is a research program, then if you don't bring the people back
and find out how they did, how do you know whether the thing was successful or
not? Follow up; and most of these people, essentially all of them, came back at
their own expense.|
|BERGE:||How would the follow-up procedures [be] executed?|
|WHALEY:||Again, you'll have to check with somebody, but it was understood at the
outset that they were expected to come back. There were some. Not all of
them had the money to do that. I honestly don'tI don't think we paid.
There may have been a rare case where we paid to bring them back, because of
some particularly interesting aspect. Or we would work with their physician. We
only took people on referral from physicians. You couldn't call up and the
Donner Lab and say, "I'd like to have my pituitary irradiated, because I
think it would do me a lot of good."|
I think there was a tendency for the referrals to come, not just randomly. But there were a number of physicians who referred more than one patient. And they'd work with the physician to do whatever kind of tests and measurements that they wanted, so the patient wouldn't have to come here. I have no idea what the proportion was. That wasn't something I would have become involved in. Tom Budinger is a physician that comes to my mindthat was involved with patients and did research, in the sense that I think you mean: putting on a white coat and going into the laboratory, and there's no patients there and you've got animals or test tubes or whatever it is. Most of the physicians didn't do that. This probably wasn't true of the Hematological Group. They did some of what you're talking about. But the people with the Pituitary [Irradiation] Program, really, that was the research.
|BERGE:||The Hematological Group, that was the earlier?|
|WHALEY:||That's the Jim McRae and Myron Pollycove and Tom Budinger and Rex Huff and
Nat Berlin, and the whole|
|BERGE:||I didn't ask you about people like Budinger or Pollycove yet.|
|WHALEY:||Let me just go back. You asked me whatabout the contact the patients
had? We talked about the physicians, the scientists. The patients did have
contact with both. There was a team of people at the cyclotron who ran it. The
physicians did not run the machine; the physicians were in charge of making sure
that the patient was properly positioned. But the people who pressed the buttons
and looked at the control panels were not physicians. Those people, if there was
one characteristic about that groupand I get a little angry when I read in
the paper about the heartless experimenters subjecting people without their
consent, as guinea pigs. I know there was some of that that was done. I don't
think there was very much of that that was done down here. But it certainly did
The care that people got, the personal attention that they got from not just the physicians, but the administrative personnel . . . I didn't have a lot of contact with patients, but I had a little. It was quasisocial contact. The secretarial people, the nurses, the technicians, the people at the cyclotron . . . And I don't know if they still exist anywherethe letters that people wrote in probably would be in their charts. Those charts have been preserved, and I suppose they are in San Bruno[, California]. You'd know those people really appreciated the kind of care they got. It was remarkable. If we could convert medicine in the United States to that kind of carenobody could afford it, but it was fabulous.
|BERGE:||The general overall feeling was that everybody was really dedicated?|
|WHALEY:||Yes. Dedicated to what they were doing, and really cared about these
individuals as people; not this picture that you get out of some of the accounts
that they thought they [(the patients)] were ciphers, and thought no more of
them than they do of the mice running around in the experiment.|
And we had nice people working for us. This wasn't something artificial that was being put on to make the patients like us. These were good people, who were interacting in ways that you want to with sick people. They were dedicated to what they were doing. I think it was a fabulous model for good medical care.
|BERGE:||Before I get back to the other question, what kinds of collaborations did
Donner Lab have with other hospitals or medical facilities?|
|WHALEY:||In the early days, a lot of patients were referred in by local physicians.
We're talking, now, primarily about the blood dyscrasias,59 the polycythemia, and leukemia and
so forth. The physicians in the BerkeleyOakland area: some of whom may
have come in and worked half-a-day-a-week in the clinic, or maybe not, or knew
about us because they did physical exams on the employees, or knew about us
because they read the literature, whateverit was a much more informal kind
of thing. There was no question of any kind of payment to those people.|
I understand now it's a fairly typical thing, that you make a payment to a physician that refers; because he's losing revenue. Here's my patient X, and I could treat them with standard therapy Y and I could make Z [amount of dollars]. Now I refer him over to you, and I'm not going to make Z. You're going to go ahead. I don't know much about payments. But I do know, I remember a discussion just before I left, that they were including that in the budget. And an assertion was made by somebody that that's perfectly acceptable to NIH. It was a payment of 1,000 dollars.
I have gone off the trolley again here.
|BERGE:||Oh, collaboration with others.|
|WHALEY:||Collaborations. There again, that's a hard thing to dredge up. There
wasn't, I don't think, a lot of early collaboration with UCSF. I think there was
jealousy involved there. I think there was turf. That tended to dissipate over a
very long period of time. Certainly, in the early years, UCSF believe[d] that
only at the medical school, and only there, can they treat patients.
That is a fact, and it crops up; but maybe not in official histories.60|
However, I think in the later years there was a good collaboration. That's another story: George Brecher and Shirley Ebbe and all those. That's modern history now (of the Department of Laboratory Medicine at UCSF). We had a very close relationship, during Ed Alpen's time. We had very good and close relationship with them, and good relationship with the radiology department over thereAlex Margulies.
|BERGE:||Is that M-A-R-G-O-O-L-E-S-S?|
|WHALEY:||I'm not sure. The name will comethe Radiotherapy Department, the
department that Joe Castro was a part of. I can't think of the nameTed
Phillips. We're talking about the time between 1976 and 1986. [When] we go back
to the 1940s and 1950s, it wasn't quite such harmony.|
|BERGE:||In what way are they cooperating with each other now, in terms of: what
kind of research is Donner doing that they're not doing?|
|WHALEY:||I couldn't answer that, I don't know. But Joe Castrowhen that program
was going full-force down at LBL, Joe Castro was a member of that department in
San Francisco who was essentially dedicated full-time to doing this work. He
continued to be paid in San Francisco. We paid them, but they paid him.
That's part of the administrative history. We wouldn't have been able to pay
him, because his salary's too high. These rules that govern salary caps in a
National Laboratory, you wouldn't [have] been able to do it.|
The problem that we alluded to earlier about the inability to get, so-called "research professors" of Nuclear Medicine at Berkeleyapart from all the other things, you couldn't pay a physician on the Berkeley salary scale and get them here. What we ended up. . . Also, there's a whole process of hiring professorsand this is a fact, whether we admit it or notthere is a tendency for the Ph.D. Berkeley faculty types to feel that physicians are not quite scholarly: mechanics, plumbers. That's a difficulty in getting them. Even if that didn't exist, you couldn't possibly pay them.
So what we did was: find a friendly department in San Francisco, put them on according to the San Francisco [salary] scale, and then somehow get money over there. That's how we solved the 20,000 [dollar]-a-year, 20-year Donner professorship problem. That turned out to be Shirley Ebbe, who I think is still working there because I see her driving towards the laboratory in an old classic Porsche. That's how we worked that. That involves a good relationship, which I think now exists at UCSF. But it didn't in the early years.
|BERGE:||What was it like in the early days?|
|WHALEY:||I really don't know, because I wasn't high enough up in the hierarchy to be
privy to this; other than they (UCSF) didn't want medical treatment to go on
over here in Berkeleycertainly, not any treatment that was being given by
a physician who wasn't on the faculty. It was very much of a turf kind of thing,
which they may really have believed or they may not havethat this was:
they were looking out after the interest of the patient. But the equipment was
all over here. And there were people Robert Stone was one61in the
Radiology Department at UCSF, that came over and collaborated for a time with
John Lawrence. We took care to have a consultant: Dr. [Bert] Low-Beer,62 from some department
over there for the Pituitary [Irradiation] Program. But there was a jealousy, a
turf kind of thing, going on. I don't know if there's anybody still left around
that would be able to give you examples. This was a long time ago.|
|BERGE:||What kind of collaboration did Dr. Lawrence have with Dr. Stone?|
|WHALEY:||I think it was in theit had to do perhaps with neutron therapy.
Again, I don't know. Jan DeMoor is somebody that would know about that sort of
|BERGE:||What was Low-Beer?|
|WHALEY:||Low-Beer. B.V.A. Low-Beer. I think he was a radiologist; he may have been a
radiotherapist. He was a consultant with the pituitary program. I haven't talked
about a couple of people. I can't remember who they were.|
|BERGE:||I was wondering about the other collaborative hospitals. Were they only
from the areas around [the area]?|
|WHALEY:||There must have been. But I can't remember. There was a tendency, I think,
to form ties to particular physicians who might have sent out one or two
patients; and the patients did well under the therapy they got here. And that
encouraged the physician, wherever he was, to refer others. The patients for the
pituitary program came from all over the country, and some of them from outside
the United States. Because, and I'm sure that this is correct, for a substantial
part of this time there was only one other place in the country where you could
get this therapy. And that was at MIT.63 The man's name was Kjellberg.64 I think his first
name was Raymond, but I won't swear to it. They did it.|
We didn't charge patients. He did it for a fee. We did come, in the later years, to bill their insurance carriers. We would accept whatever the carriers would pay. And if they didn't have insurance, that was okay. We didn't charge the patient. That [policy] was a source for a lot of administrative garbage, too. But that's another whole long story. I can't come up with, and Jan might, the kind of collaboration that I think you're talking about; where it's almost the kind where you might have had a written agreement: "We will participate in your pituitary study and agree to send to you any patients you want to accept of the following sorts." I don't recall anything of that sort.
We were widely known; we published the results in the literature. It wasn't any secret that we were the place on the west coast that did this therapy. [There was one collaboration, I remember, with Highland Alameda County Hospital, where Donner ran the isotope unit for many years.]
|BERGE:||There are two people that I didn't ask you about before: Dr. Budinger and
|WHALEY:||Myron Pollycove was very early in my time at the laboratory. I would put
him right in there in the '50s. There are ways of checking on this. I don't
remember how long he was there. Was it 10 years? And then he moved to San
Francisco, but kept a, kind of a foot in his research program here for a while.
And then, it sort of dwindled away.|
He was a hematologist. He was still using the device called the Monster (the Multiple Port In-Vivo65 Counter). They were scintillation counters;66 that could be positioned over four or five areas of the patient's body to see where the radioisotope was going. Again, you really would need to talk to the scientists about that. Pollycove was in charge of the Multiple Port In-Vivo Counter.
However, Dr. Lawrence was not one to have a formal group structure like [the one that] Ed Alpen put in. When Ed came, he said, "Okay, I've worked on this, and I want to see what you people think about this. These are the four groups I have identified"I think there were four"The group leaders are going to be Joe Blow and Bill Brown and Mary Smith, and whoever the people will be." And he would name them: "This is the research." I think people pretty much accepted that. The group leader was the group leader. He was appointed as the group leader and he had specific duties, in addition to whatever his research obligations were.
John Lawrence would never have dreamt of doing that. He didn't organize things that way. The organization chart was John Lawrence. And then a line that went 40 feet in either direction [(branching left and right, from a single descending line)] with everybody having a little box underneath that. That's just the way he was. When I say Pollycove was in charge of thatwell, John Lawrence was in charge of everything. In terms of what we might think of now, with the kind of structure that Alpen put in; yes, Pollycove was in charge of that.
There were other people working on itbut the names, the time frame . . . There was a doctor named Rashed Fawwaz. I know he was there for quite a while. But without referring to some documents, I couldn't say whether he came while Pollycove was there.
Saul Winchellthat was another name. Saul was a really bright, able guy, who left to go into private industry. I don't know what the heck he's doing now, other than he has a winery, Gan Eden [(Hebrew for "Garden of Eden")], and they make very good wines. There were a series of them. I think Saul followed Myron. Myron followed this (Nat Berlin, Huff, Elmlinger) group. Jim McRae followed Saul Winchell. In a sense, I don't think we can say that Budinger followed Jim McRae. They were there at the same time.
I think Tom [Budinger] came from Livermore. I may be repeating myself here. I don't know what he was doing out there. He was a man that would have been at home in the days of the Regency. He was an oceanographerphysicistphysician, a man with interests in and capabilities in a whole wide variety of scientific fields. I think that perhaps the criticism that some have made is, that his interests are so wide that it precludes some of them from being very deep. Certainly, he was a ball of fire and bundle of energyinterested very early on in NMR [(nuclear magnetic resonance)], which is now called MRI, [(magnetic resonance imaging)] because we don't like to get the "nuclear" name in it. Really, the whole medical end of it, almost the first time there was anybody, below the "Directors" level, that was overseeing the whole thing: the clinic, the hematology, the pituitary, and the Castro therapy thingexceptionally bright guy.
Again, sometimes hard to work with, sometimes short fuse. An absolute, a certified genius, and the sort of person that drives you nuts when you're trying to do any kind of orderly management planning when you have to have in mind, "Who will succeed X, if X should step in front of a bus or decide to move to Florida?" or whatever. I don't think that anybody has ever come up with a person that could succeed him; there isn't anybody. The mold got thrown away. [Had he left,] we really would have to reorganize that whole thing. There's a whole flock of stuff in there, instrumentationthe name escapes me now. It's very sophisticated. It's beyond CAT scans.
|WHALEY:||Yes, it's an imaging technique. They were, when I left, trying to get the
resolution down to 3 millimeters, or 1 millimeter. It is in use now, clinically,
in several places. I can't think of the name. [Positron Emission Tomography,
|BERGE:||You mentioned that there wasn't very much organization, for quite a long
time, until Dr. Alpen came on. What was it like for you, working as an
administrator in unorganized fashion?|
|WHALEY:||I became used to it, right off the bat. I suppose, everybody else became
used to it, right off the bat. A certain amount of it continued even after Alpen
reorganized things. Let me come back to that. Looking back on it, it might seem
it would be unusual and it would be difficult, because there wasn't a chain of
command. But I just dealt with everybody. If Dr. Lawrence68 was in this [organization-chart]
box up here
(holds his hand above his head, palm-down), here's this 80-foot-long
line with everybody. (spreads his arms apart) Now I'm off at the side
somewhere. I just dealt with all those people. If somebody said, "My
technician has left and we have to get a new one and I need your help,"
that's fine. I didn't say, "You better go to your group leader and come up
through that direction." I said, "Fine, sit down and we'll do that,
and I'll make sure that you have approval to replace that position." Or
they would say they talked to Dr. Lawrence and that was fine, or talked to Jim [
We weren't perhaps always consistent in what we checked up, and what we decided was so obviously okay that we would go ahead. The group leaderswhen Alpen came, a lot of the way the groups functioned depended on the personality of the group leadersome of them followed the academic model: the first among equals, the spokesperson model. But in no sense was Dr. X the supervisor of Doctors A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, who were in that group of which Dr. X was the leader. Dr. X just happened to be the unlucky one that got named to head the thing up. He was out of the room when they said, "Who's going to head this thing up?" That's the way an academic department runs.
Then there was the industrial model. There were group leaders: whereby George, the group leader, was in fact the supervisor of all the people in that group. Certainly, Dr. Budinger's grouphe was very clearly the supervisor of, and he had some very high-level scientists in there. That's the way he organized his group.
There were other groups. I would say Dr. Tobias's group was probably like that. It's hard for me now to remember who was in which group, but there was a group that Dr. Gertrude Forte was the group leader of at that moment. I would say that's very definitely the academic model.
In dealing, as an administrator, with people of that sortif somebody from the later group came up, I seldom would go and talk to Dr. Forte about it. You just went ahead and dealt with it. But I would be very sure that anybody from Dr. Budinger's group had checked with Dr. Budinger before they came up to talk about hiring a replacement. There is that kind of a difference. The difference really came in when it got organized, not before.
That's what happened. This [need to be] conscious of which group people were coming from and [to know] whether that's a group where they had to go through the group leader, or whether it was one in the academic model, where that wasn't. That's what I meant. The change came when we got organized, when Alpen came in 1976. Before that time, it was really a question of dealing with these people individually, because the group structure was very very loose, and without formally designated leaders. Simply because Dr. Lawrence didn't operate that way.
Where are we now?
|BERGE:||I have a couple more questions. They're going back to things you talked
about before, that I didn't quite follow up on them. One of them was: you
mentioned the Donner Pavilion a number of times. I was wondering, how did that
work? And, was there any follow-up from people there?|
|WHALEY:||Yes, very definitely. The clinic patients, I think, were more likely to be
local, although that isn't universally true. The clinic was physically a clinic.
For a long time, it was located on the second floor of the old wing of the
Donner Laboratory; remodeled with money from the Donner Foundation. And it had
little examining rooms and a secretary's office and glass windows, just like you
see in a regular doctor's office.|
Then there was a clinical laboratory, with licensed clinical laboratory technologists. Patients would be referred, many of them by local physicians, some of them from greater distances. I think the reason there weren't perhaps so many from greater distances is that we weren't unique. We weren't one of two places in the country where you could get treated for polycythemia or leukemia, at this point.
We had a group of thyroid patients, because we had a physician, who was interested in thyroid, who actually had been a member of John Gofman's group. He stayed. And he went into private practice in San Carlos, but he came over one morning a week. That was Don Rosenthal. The patients would return, and they did actually get treated with whatever therapy. They continued to see their own physician for other problems, and we would send summary letters to the physicians on what had been done. That was a research project.
That work would be written up and published in the medical literature, the JAMA [(Journal of the American Medical Association)] or the New England Journal of Medicine, etc. The clinic moved to Building 55. I don't remember whentowards the end of its existence. Then it got phased out. There just really wasn't more research content. It would be a very difficult thing to know when to stop a research project. When the performance is over and you've taken your bows, and now it's time to turn up the house lights, sometimes there's a tendency to come out for another bow.
|BERGE:||Another question I had wasI know that you and your responsibilities
lay with the "odd funds." What particular interest did the AEC or
|WHALEY:||ERDA and DOE.|
|BERGE:||What particular interest did they have?|
|WHALEY:||Lots. They were the biglet me see if I can remember. We're talking
about a proportion here of 80 to 90 percent AEC funding, and 10 percent the
other funding. I don't swear to those numbers, but the ratio was very large. The
vast, vast bulk of the money . . . That ratio changed, as time went on, so that
by the time I left it was nearly 5050. By that point, all of the other
monies were coming in through the laboratory, not through the campus. In the
early times, the AEC was funding the lipoprotein work, they were funding the
clinic, they were funding the pituitary program, and they kept that right up to
the end; along with many other programs.|
I think the reason that the clinic was phased out was: there wasn't that much more research content; or at least, research content that they were interested in. By this time, it was DOE. I was very heavily involved with this major funding. Even though Bob San Souci and later Igor Blake were actually doing the budgeting and the managing of that, all of the personnel were heavily funded out of this. When I became the only administrator, I was responsible for that as well as everything else. That was certainly was one of the trends in the funding: that the DOE funding was essentially level, for I don't know how long. It would wiggle up and down a little bit. That, of course, is a decrease, when you're talking about purchasing power. I can't remember the numbers to tell you. It got [to] 5545 [percent DOEother], maybe.
|BERGE:||Why was the AEC and Department of Energy interested in these particular
|WHALEY:||That's an interesting question. Why were they funding them? The National
Laboratories had been created, in significant measure, during the war as part of
the Manhattan Project.69
And the AEC inherited them when civilian control of atomic energy occurred right
after the war. In most of these places, there had been a biology and/or medical
component to the research. So, it was history. There wasn't anything like the
National Laboratories at that time. I'm not qualified to comment on what it's
There are those that say that Ernest Lawrence's greatest contribution to science wasn't the development of the cyclotron; it was the creation of big science:70 the multidisciplinary approach, the large institutionthe mechanics, and the engineers, and the glass blowers, and the scientists of every conceivable discipline. I think the National Laboratories were really the only places of that sort, back in that time. Once you get rolling on something, it's inertia: a body keeps on going unless something stops it.
What is the Department of Energy doing running a biology research program? I can't answer that question. Why are they doing it? I think it's because it has always been that way. Should they be doing it? That's another issue. But, if they don't do it, will there be in this country the capability of doing big science, such as the [Human] Genome Project?71 Many feel it can only be done at the National Laboratories. There isn't any other place that has this massive engineering and computer capability to bring to bear on it. I don't know whether there are other places. There certainly aren't many of them.
|BERGE:||You've pretty much answered most of the questions I've got on here. There's
one that I'm looking down on my list that I didn't follow-up onto. You mentioned
that John Lawrence had a very strong personality and Hamilton had a really
strong personality. Do you have any|
|WHALEY:||I don't know that I, more than once, met Dr. Hamilton. That is an
impression that I gleaned. I don't know. I don't really know that they clashed.
It's just that: as Dr. Lawrence didn't like to go through intermediate people on
the way to the president of the university, if he wanted to get a new building,
or whatever; I don't think Dr. Hamilton liked to go through Dr. Lawrence on his
way to the director of the Rad Lab. In that sense, I think that the powers that
be at the Rad Lab (and this is speculation on my part) sensed that it would
probably be better if they left those two separate parallel lines of
communication alone; rather than trying to scrooch a group under thereto
make one of them boss of the other one, figuring it wouldn't have worked.|
There's an awful lot, as I have seen over the years, in organizational practice. And it's not supposed to be, according to the theory. But that is, in fact, derived from the personalities of the people who are involved. If you have an assessment of those personalities, and they are people that are making valuable contributions to the organization, you certainly are a damn fool if you take the organization theory (that professor X at Harvard says is the only way to go) and cram those people into that thing. You will have a much better, more productive, organization if you forget professor X's theories and organize it in a way that allows those people to contribute to the maximum extent, and not provide lots of opportunities for them to clash.
|BERGE:||I'm sort of running dry. If you have anything else that you'd like to tell
me about . . .|
|WHALEY:||It was a marvelous place to have been. It was full of people with all of
the plus-and-minus attributes that people have when they interact with each
other. It was a marvelous thing. Even though I wasn't in the scientific or
medical end, it was a marvelous thing to be associated with. I take great pride
in what the laboratory accomplished during those years. I have a feelingand
one has to be terribly careful as you get older, that you don't say, "It
was so much better in the old days." But I do think that, as time has gone
on, we have glorified structure and process to the detriment of accomplishmentthat
things were not highly structured and highly organized in the earlier days; and
we did achieve an awful lot of wonderful results at that point.|
You never can prove what your results would be if you could go back 20 years and organize it differently. People who say, "It would have been better," or, "It would have been worse," are only speculating. Of course, I'm only speculating, too.
I think one of the best illustrations (this is not going to be popular with the lab management) is the five-year plan. Now, every person or organization that's intelligent has a plan of some sort. It seemed, to me, that the description of what the plan was to be, when it was first created, is a far cry from what it has turned out to be. That it has in fact, to some extent (instead of a guide to what the laboratory plans to do), has become an end in itself. The creation of the plan, the modification of the plan, the review of the plan, and the meetings about the plan are, to a certain degree, divorced from what the plan says the laboratory is going to do.
I think that there are a lot of changes in administration, in bureaucracy in the very best sense of what it really means (not in the negative sense), that have also moved us in that direction. Maybe we used to get seven dollars' worth of science for ten dollars' worth of appropriation. And I wonder, now, if we're not getting three dollars' worth of science for ten dollars' worth of appropriation. It's not a trend that's going to be reversed. I think it's not a positive thing, for the laboratory or the country. At that point, I'll end if you have no further questions.
|BERGE:||I can't think of any exceptmaybe, if I have any in the future, if I
can call you up?|
|BERGE:||Thank you very much. |