Virtual Public Lecture on the History of the Rochester-Chandigarh Cyclotron

Joanna Behrman's picture
November 3, 2021
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Film and Film History, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, South Asian History / Studies

The Lyne Starling Trimble History of Science Public Lecture Series Presents:

The Rochester-Chandigarh Cyclotron

Presented by Jahnavi Phalkey

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Talk: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Live Webcast over Zoom Webinar



The Rochester-Chandigarh Cyclotron is today the world’s oldest functional particle accelerator. Operational in 1936 at the University of Rochester, United States, it was built merely three years after the very first cyclotron was built by Ernest Lawrence at Berkeley. The entire set-up in Rochester was dismantled and sent to India in 1967, and is now housed at the Panjab University, Chandigarh. The cyclotron has been running for nearly fifty years in Chandigarh. With the cyclotron, the regional university became one of the very few places in India for research and education in nuclear physics. This was otherwise possible only in the facilities of the Department of Atomic Energy. Dr. Phalkey has also made a film to explore the life and legacy of the machine and the struggles and triumphs of its technicians, researchers and students. My talk and the film Cyclotron, both, are a commentary on the state of experimental research and higher education in Indian universities.


Jahnavi Phalkey was appointed Founding Director of Science Gallery Bengaluru in November 2018. Previously Jahnavi held a tenured faculty position at King’s College London. She started her academic career at the University of Heidelberg, following which she was based at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, France, and Imperial College London. Jahnavi was Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin). She was also external curator to the Science Museum London, and has been a Scholar-in-Residence at the Deutsches Museum, Munich. Dr. Phalkey is the author of Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth Century India and has co-edited Science of Giants: China and India in the Twentieth Century. She is the producer-director of the documentary film Cyclotron. She read civics and politics at the University of Bombay and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. She holds a doctoral degree in history of science and technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.

The Lyne Starling Trimble History of Science Public Lecture Series is hosted by the Center for History of Physics at the American Insittute of Physics. Every year it features prominent science historians and writers who highlight the important roles that science plays in modern society and culture. Subscribe to receive notifications about upcoming Trimble Public Lectures: 

Contact Email: