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An oil fire yesterday virtually destroyed Princeton University's $400,000 cyclotron. The cause of the blaze, which gutted nearly all of the 18,000,000 volt machine, could not be determined.
Dr. Milton White, professor of Physics at Princeton, estimated it would take six months to rebuild the cyclotron. He said that only the magnets could be salvaged.
Built in 1936, the machine was one of this country's first atom-smashing devices and played a large part in making the atom bomb. It was currently, being used on a nuclear research project for the Office of Naval Research.
Some of the 35-ton machine had been shipped to Los Alamos, New Mexica, during World War II and returned to Princeton after the bomb had been made. The reassambling process took place in 1946.
Yesterday's fire was described by an observer as being "slow, stubborn, and smoky." It begin at approximately 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon and was still smouldering 11 hours later. Over 1,000 gallons of soy bean foam were poured into the blaze.
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