A self-contained, water moderated nuclear reactor was installed on the OSU campus in 1957. Purchased with a grant from the Atomic Energy Commission and the National Science Foundation, it was the first reactor installed at a university in the Southwest.
John B. West, a member of the chemical engineering faculty (seated), demonstrates the reactor to President Oliver S. Willham (right) and Robert Maddox, head of the School of Chemical Engineering.
Though considerably less powerful than today's microwave ovens, it was a source of controversy."We faced a lot of opposition moving the reactor onto campus," Maddox later said. "When we were done with it (1970s), it was almost as hard to get rid of the thing, but it ended up in Taiwan. There was some talk about the Chinese using it to steal nuclear secrets, but they weren't going to get any secrets from that reactor."
Oklahoma A&M College began offering the state's first courses in nuclear engineering as early as 1955.