Work on the Cambridge Electron Accelerator, previously scheduled to begin by January, will probably be started by early April, it was learned yesterday.
Although plans for the six-billion electron volt machine are ready, delays in ratifying the contract by the Atomic Energy Commission have held up start of the work.
According to Norman F. Ramsey, professor of Physics and coordinator of the project here, one of the reasons for the delay is the decision by the planners to do a "great deal of work at once, rather than beginning in bits and pieces." The contracts, he said, are at present making the rounds of the AEC in Washington.
The Charles T. Main Engineering and Construction Company in Boston has been selected to construct the buildings and do all the construction not directly involving the machine. The work is, at present, being coordinated in Palfrey House at the Graduate School of Education.
The machine is to be run jointly by Harvard and M.I.T., although it is to be built with funds from the AEC. The cost is expected to be in the range of 6.5 million dollars, and it will be the largest of its type in the world. The projected date of completion is some time in 1960.
The main body of the machine will be housed underground in a large doughnut-shaped tunnel in the vicinity of the cyclotron, just north of the University Museum.