The Hymn of Life
|The Hymn to Life mosaic that
now hangs in the Pollard Technology Conference Center at Oak Ridge Associated
Universities has a unique history and holds a special place in the hearts
of ORAU employees as well as many Oak Ridge residents. An image of
of leaves reaching upward toward a dove carrying an olive branch, it
represents a period in Oak Ridge's history that is recalled with great
pride and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It carries a message
of hope shared by all who served, were served or knew about the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies
efforts to treat cancer and the hope that continues in all aspects of
ORAU's work. The mosaic was designed to honor the staff and to
memorialize former patients at the Cancer Research Hospital of the
Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, according to Amy Lakin in
the May/June/July 2004 issue of ORAU News. ORINS was
the origin of what has now become the broad-based and many-faceted ORAU.
This highly successful company and key element of Oak Ridge's nuclear
technology based industry is described at
ORAU Web Site .
The mosaic was originally dedicated on May 1, 1970 and was the product of work by the nationally known Oak Ridge artist Charles Counts. It is 12 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds. The Hymn to Life is actually made up of thousands of handmade ceramic tiles. The design of the mosaic artwork reflects both the hope of ORINS and the hope of the Oak Ridge community regarding nuclear studies and the use of radiological medicine for cancer treatment. Much was learned about cancer treatment during the operation of ORINS and many patients' lives were extended with improved quality life as well as a direct result of their treatment at ORINS. The Oak Ridge community also took care of the patient's families and friends who came to visit the patients. ORINS was truly a community effort and one that created a great deal of pride in all who were involved in the effort.
While Oak Ridge was created to obtain the enriched uranium needed for a nuclear weapon to end the terrible carnage and economic drain of World War II, no sooner was that accomplished than peaceful uses of the power contained in the atom was focused on medical research and the treatment of cancer. ORINS was the key element of that early research and application of practical treatment to critically ill patients, some 3,500 of them during the 24 years of operation from 1950 to 1974.
Dr. Gould Andrews and Dr. Ralph Kniseley had the original vision for the mosaic. As they had received donations from appreciative friends and families of patients, in the 1960's they wanted to use those donations to create a lasting memorial. Charles Counts was chosen to craft the artwork they envisioned. When completed, the mosaic was mounted on the outside of the Vance Road facility where the ORINS hospital was located. There it hung for some 29 years enduring weather damage (employees collected the damaged tiles as they fell from the mosaic) before being moved indoors to its present location in 1999. It was restored, using the fallen tiles, by Charles Counts with help from artist Earl Johannabor.
On September 28, 1999, the treasured mosaic was rededicated and hung inside the entrance foyer in the most prominent visual location of the main entrance lobby to the Pollard Technology Conference Center. In placing this work of art in the new location, ORAU has effectively connected its famous and bellwether past effort, ORINS, with its future technologically advanced efforts. Truly a work of art that carries enormous meaning to many and conveys a tremendous message of compassion and creativity to all who view the mosaic that is known as The Hymn of Life.
|This plaque located near the mosaic reflects the feelings
conveyed by the visual work of art:
"For where there is love of man, there is also love of the art" - Hippocrates
A tribute to the patients and staff of the ORINS Cancer Research Hospital
Partners in hope, partners in courage, inspiration to us all.
Dedicated May 1, 1970
Rededicated September 28, 1999
Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Other Oak Ridge, Tennessee Links:
American Museum of Science and Energy
Oak Ridge Convention and Visitor's Center
Oak Ridge History
Secret City History
John Hendrix and Y-12
Historical Markers in Oak Ridge
Back of Oak Ridge and John Hendrix (Prophet of Oak Ridge) book
The Calutron Girls
Secret City The Movie
Bear Creek Valley