This timeline highlights the dates of many important scientific breakthroughs, as well as many of the key points in GRC's history.

1931 - 1949
  1950-1969 »
Legend: Scientific Breakthrough GRC Event
Summer research conferences on chemical physics are held at Johns Hopkins University.
Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll develop a prototype of the electron microscope.
Harold Urey proves the existence of deuterium.
Five summer research conferences meet at Johns Hopkins.
Conferences move to Gibson Island, Maryland.
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin and John D. Bernal record the X-ray diffraction pattern of a protein.
Wendell Meredith Stanley crystallizes tobacco mosaic virus, laying precedent for the molecular treatment of viruses.
Alan Turing introduces the concept of the Turing machine to provide a mathematically precise definition of algorithm.
Conferences are held at Virginia Beach.
The National Cancer Institute is established.
Neil Gordon ensures continuity for the conferences by persuading the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to manage the conferences; Gordon serves as conference secretary for the AAAS Special Research Conferences on Chemistry.
DuPont announces that it will start producing nylon, the world's first synthetic fiber, which was invented by Wallace Carothers in 1935.
Gordon serves as secretary for the conferences and is named director in the fall.
Edwin McMillan and Phillip Abelson synthesize neptunium, the first transuranic element.
In order to expand meeting and lodging facilities, Gordon purchases the Symington House and Annex with $8,000 secured from AAAS and $1,000 from each of thirty-three companies with significant R&D operations. For many years afterward industrial sponsors are guaranteed conference registration slots in return for their generosity. The Symington House is renamed the Neil E. Gordon House by the AAAS executive committee.
Conferences are renamed the AAAS-Gibson Island Research Conferences.
Enrico Fermi and his colleagues achieve a controlled, self-sustaining nuclear fission reaction.
George Nicholas Papanicolaou introduces Papanicolaou's stain for smear preparations of bodily secretions, now commonly used for cancer screenings.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is founded, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is built.
Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is developed.
Gordon resigns; Sumner B. Twiss manages the conferences.
Twiss resigns; George Calingaert is appointed chair of the management committee.
Conferences move to Colby Junior College in New London, New Hampshire.
Argonne National Laboratory is founded.
The world's first fully electronic, programmable, digital computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), is developed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania under contract with the Army Ordinance Department.
W. George Parks is appointed director of the conferences, and headquarters move to Rhode Island State College (changed to the University of Rhode Island in 1951). Alexander M. Cruickshank is hired as assistant to the director, and Irene Cruickshank is hired as secretary and treasurer.
The conferences are renamed the Chemical Research Conferences.
John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invent the point contact transistor under the leadership of William Shockley at Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Brookhaven National Laboratory is founded.
The Chemical Research Conferences are formally renamed the Gordon Research Conferences.
Percy Julian synthesizes Reichstein's Substance S, which is present in the adrenal cortex and differs from cortisone by only one specifically positioned oxygen atom. Hydrocortisone is produced from this substance today.

  1950-1969 »