In 1964 Dick Weiss was a physicist working for the US Army Materials Research Command at the old Watertown Arsenal near Boston, Massachusetts. He was charged with organizing a conference for physicists on the topic of "electron charge spin and momentum densities." To host the conference, he looked for a place conducive to the exchange of information among colleagues of different disciplines in a compelling but informal atmosphere with few competing distractions. He decided that the Sagamore Conference Center of Syracuse University would be the perfect place for such an event. The first meeting held that year attracted the leading scientists in the field from across the United States and many different nations.
This experiment was such a success that it was decided to repeat the experience at Sagamore three years later. The 1967 conference proved the adage that "once is an innovation, but twice establishes a tradition." The idea of meeting in a remote location that fostered personal connections proved to be an important part of the success of that formula.
However, when it came time for the next conference in 1970, Syracuse University was already limiting operations at the Sagamore Conference Center and it was decided that the Conference would move around the world to places near the study of this specialized branch of physics, but in "quiet, pleasant and remote locations" to replicate the atmosphere of the original experience. It was also decided that the conference series would always bear the name "Sagamore" as a reminder of its here at Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks.
Through the years Sagamore Conference has been held fifteen times at sites on four continents and many countries. It has been to Russia,Portugal as well as Sweden, Poland and Australia. The Sagamore XIX Conference will be held in July, 2018 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
It proves that the spirit of Sagamore is strong and lives on in many unexpected ways.
An important resource for writing this article was a history of the conference written by Malcolm Cooper, of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick. The complete article is available here.