MC 00478 Guide to the Raymond LeRoy Murray Oral History, 1999

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[Half Box 1, Folder 1]
Use may be restricted. Playback of media dependant on available equipment.
[Half Box 1, Folder 2]
Digital content. Copies of digital files are available upon request.
Probably duplicates content of mini digital video cassettes.
[Half Box 1, Folder 3]


North Carolina State University. Libraries.


0.25 Linear feet

General Physical Description

1 archival halfbox.


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff.



Acquisition Information

Oral history conducted by staff of the NCSU Libraries in 1999 (Accession 2013.0087).


Processed by Todd Kosmerick, 2013 April; machine-readable finding aid by Todd Kosmerick, 2013 April.

Scope and Content Note

In this oral history, conducted in 1999, Dr. Raymond L. Murray talks about the following topics: his education and early work at Oak Ridge during World War II, the first nuclear reactor at NC State (design, construction, and safety), early experiments and nuclear engineering research using the reactor, development of the nuclear engineering program at NC State, colleagues (especially Clifford Beck and Arthur Menius), ideas people had in the 1950s and 1960s on the use of nuclear energy, and his own contribution to the field of nuclear engineering. He also postulates on the future of nuclear energy from a perspective in the 1990s. The interviewer was Andrea Gabriel, at the time Acting Head of NCSU's Design Library. The collection consists of a CD and digital video cassettes that contain video of the oral history, as well as a printed transcript of the interview.

Biographical Note

Raymond Leroy Murray was born on February 14, 1920, in Lincoln, Nebraska and died on June 22, 2011, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He received his B.S. in education, 1940, and M.S. in physics and mathematics, 1941, from the University of Nebraska. Beginning in 1941, he studied physics for a year at the University of California, Berkeley, under J. Robert Oppenheimer (he later went with Oppenheimer to work on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee). His Ph.D in physics, 1950, from the University of Tennessee, was the first awarded in that field at that institution.

Murray married three times: first in 1941 to Ilah Mae Rengler (died 1966), then to social worker Quin Davies Meyer (died 1977), and finally in 1979 to local historian and Raleigh city council member Elizabeth Davis Reid. Murray and his first wife had 3 children.

From the Manhattan Project (he eventually worked on criticality safety) to the Three Mile Island (he was a consultant on the recovery), Murray took part in milestones of nuclear engineering and atomic power. His career in physics and nuclear engineering began at the Oak Ridge atomic research center in Tennessee during World War II. In 1950 he joined the new nuclear engineering program at North Carolina State College (later University) as a physics professor. He was a key figure in establishing and operating NCSU's nuclear reactor, which was the first operated on a college campus. He helped develop the curriculum for NC State's nuclear engineering program. He taught a course on nuclear reactor design, and he authored the widely-used textbook Introduction to Nuclear Engineering (published in several editions, the first in 1954). In 1957 he was named Burlington Professor of Physics, and from 1963 to 1974 he headed the Department of Nuclear Engineering.

After retiring from teaching at NC State in 1980, he remained active in research and consulting, and he was an advocate of the beneficial aspects of nuclear energy. He spent several years in an unsuccessful attempt to get a low-level waste disposal facility built in the southeastern United States. Murray received many honors, including the O. Max Gardner Award from the University of North Carolina system, the Arthur Holly Compton Award, and the Eugene Wigner Reactor Physicist Award of the American Nuclear Society.

Access to Collection

Collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

For more information contact us via mail, phone, fax, or our web form.


Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111


(919) 515-2273


(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Raymond L. Murray Oral History, MC 00478, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Access to Collection

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