Nevis mansion house for
which the property is named. Constructed in 1835.
RARAF was conceived in the late 1960s by Drs.
V. P. Bond and H. H. Rossi. The immediate aim was to provide a
source of monoenergetic neutrons designed and operated specifically
for studies in radiation biology, dosimetry, and microdosimetry.
The facility was built around the 4 MV Van de Graaff accelerator
that originally served as the injector for the Cosmotron, a 2
GeV accelerator operated at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
in the 1950s and early 1960s. In 2006 the Van de Graaff was replaced
by a 5 MV Singletron from High Voltage Engineering Europa (HVEE)
in the Netherlands.
RARAF operated at BNL from 1967 until 1980, when
it was dismantled to make room for the ISABELLE project, a very
large accelerator which was never completed. A new site for RARAF
was found at the Nevis Laboratories of Columbia University where
the Nevis Cyclotron was being disassembled. The U.S. Department
of Energy provided funds to move RARAF to Nevis Laboratories and
reassemble it in a new multi-level facility constructed within
the Cyclotron Building. The new RARAF has been routinely operating
for research since mid-1984.
In addition to the research conducted by members of Columbia
University's Center for Radiological Research (CRR), during the
more than four decades that RARAF has been in operation, experiments
have been performed for over 50 different research groups from
more than 40 institutions including universities, national laboratories,
cancer centers, and private corporations. These experiments, along
with those conducted by members of the CRR, have resulted in more
than 300 publications in refereed journals, proceedings, and books.
Research has been conducted in the fields of radiation biology,
radiological physics, radiation chemistry, health physics, and
medicine. These research groups have visited from at least 19
states and 7 countries.
Nevis Laboratories are located on a scenic 60-acre estate originally
owned by the son of Alexander Hamilton. The DuPont family of Delaware
donated the estate to the University in 1934, and construction
of physics facilities at Nevis began in 1947. In the early 1950's
Dwight D. Eisenhower, then President of the University, inaugurated
what was then the world's most powerful cyclotron, which was eventually
retired in 1978.