The Fossil That Was SLAC’s First Discovery
Adele Panofsky, wife of SLAC’s founding director, creating a cast model of a rare fossilized skeleton of the ancient marine mammal Neoparadoxia repenningi (formerly Paleoparadoxia). The fossil was discovered in 1964 during construction of the lab’s 2-mile linear accelerator.
Stanford University, which owns the land SLAC sits on, donated the original fossil to the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology. Berkeley scientists made plaster copies of each bone and gave a set to Panofsky.
Over the course of more than two decades, she filled in missing pieces and assembled the skeleton for exhibition in the SLAC Visitor Center. Her cast model is now awaiting display at the San Mateo County History Museum.
Photograph taken in 1991. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)