Sterling Hall bombing – August 24, 1970

“The Sterling Hall bombing that occurred on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus on August 24, 1970, was committed by four men as a protest against the university’s research connections with the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. It resulted in the death of a university physics researcher and injuries to three others.  Sterling Hall is a centrally located building on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. The bomb, set off at 3:42 am on August 24, 1970, was intended to destroy the Army Mathematics Research Center (AMRC) housed on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the building. It caused massive destruction to other parts of the building and nearby buildings as well. It resulted in the death of the researcher Robert Fassnacht, injured three others and caused significant destruction to the physics department and its equipment. Neither Fassnacht nor the physics department itself was involved with or employed by the Army Mathematics Research Center. The bombers used a Ford Econoline van stolen from a University of Wisconsin professor of Computer Sciences. … The staff at the center, at the time of the bombing, consisted of about 45 mathematicians, about 30 of them full-time. Rosser was well known for his research in pure mathematics, logic (Rosser’s trick, the Kleene–Rosser paradox, and the Church-Rosser theorem) and in number theory (Rosser sieve). Rosser had been the head of the U.S. ballistics program during World War II and also had contributed to research on several missiles used by the U.S. military. … AMRC became a magnet for demonstrations, in which protesters chanted ‘U.S. out of Vietnam! Smash Army Math!’… The bombers were Karleton ‘Karl’ Armstrong, Dwight Armstrong, David Fine, and Leo Burt. They called themselves the ‘New Year’s Gang’, a name which was derived from an exploit on New Year’s Eve 1969. In that earlier attack, Dwight and Karl, with Karl’s girlfriend, Lynn Schultz (who drove the getaway car), stole a small plane from Morey Field in Middleton. Dwight and Karl dropped homemade explosives on the Badger Army Ammunition Plant, but the explosives failed to detonate. They successfully landed the plane at another airport and escaped. Before the Sterling Hall bombing, Karl committed several other acts with anti-war sentiments, including setting fire to a ROTC installation at the University of Wisconsin Armory and Gymnasium (the Red Gym) and one meant for the state Selective Service headquarters which instead held the University of Wisconsin Primate Research Center. …”
Wisconsin State Journal – Archival photos: Remembering the UW-Madison Sterling Hall bombing 49 years ago
Sterling Hall Bombing of 1970 (Video)
NY Times: Dwight Armstrong, Who Bombed a College Building in 1970, Dies at 58 (June 26, 2010)
YouTube: Remembering the University of Wis. bombing

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