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"For Official Use Only"

Laboratory logbooks are witnesses to an epoch. The dates on the covers count off: 1950, 1952, 1953… Stalin is still alive. There is no international scientific organization—the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) yet, just the secret Hydraulic Laboratory (HL) at the heart of forests and marshes on the Volga bank. Employees must record all activities in the logbooks, submit their notes to the First Department (a State Security unit) in the evening, and take them back in the morning. Pages are bound and numbered. Drafts are in special drawing books.

After the JINR foundation, the secrecy level declined. Laboratory logbooks were given back to their owners. The HL employee Bruno Pontecorvo made his first logbook recordings in a quaint mixture of English and Italian, Russian emerged a bit later. Working records of the scientist are kept in his Museum-Study in his much-loved Laboratory of Nuclear Problems.

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