AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXII , No. 2, Fall 2000

 

Recent Acquisitions of the Niels Bohr Library

The following report describes the rich variety of historical materials preserved during the past year in the Niels Bohr Library. But this is not all that the AIP History Center helps to preserve, nor even the most important part. Center staff continually work to place records and papers of important scientists at their home institution's archives or another appropriate repository.

Oral History Interviews

Staff have been kept busy processing interviews-arranging for transcription, editing, retyping and indexing, and meanwhile keeping track of the whereabouts of transcripts at each stage. In the first place this means interviews conducted by our Postdoctoral Historian, Alexei Kojevnikov, who conducted interviews this past year with Sam Schweber, Dmitry Ryutov, Conyers Herring and Moisey Kaganov. We have also been processing interviews conducted with support of funds provided as grants-in-aid from the Friends of the Center; these include Joanne Simpson interviewed by Kristine Harper; Francis Low and Sidney Wolff by Patrick McCray; Isaac Khalatnikov by Anne Fitzpatrick; and Brian Gardiner, Joseph Farman, Jon Shanklin, Richard McPeters, P.K. Bhartia and Charlie Jackman, all by Steve Norton.

Historians of science recognize that our Niels Bohr Library is the premier repository for interviews of physicists, astronomers and geophysicists conducted in connection with other projects, and deposit copies here. In some cases we provide additional assistance ranging from transcription to cataloging. Such interviews received by the Center in the past year include Robert Gales conducted by D. Lubman; David Pines by Lillian Hoddeson; J. Bell-Burnell by David DeVorkin; Fred Decker by Ron Doel; Joseph Smagorinsky by John Young; Ed Lorenz and Phil Thompson by Nancy Gauss; and Klaus Wyrtki by H. von Storch, J. Sündermann and L. Magaard (this last was published by GKSS-Forschungszentrum Geesthacht GmbH).

Photographs

The Emilio Segrè Visual Archives's online searchable database now contains approximately 2,000 images of physicists from our collection of over 25,000, with more being added every month.

Brenda P. Winnewisser donated about 260 photographs originally held by Hedwig Kohn. Most of them came to her from Wilhelm Tappe, who was a postdoctoral student with Kohn at the time of her death in 1964. (There are two photos from this collection on page 12.)

Donald Clayton, Clemson University Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has donated well over 100 photographs of pioneers in nuclear astrophysics. Most of these images can be found now at Clayton's own Web site, http://photon.phys.clemson.edu/wwwpages/PhotoArchive/index.html. They will all eventually be available on AIP's site as well.

We are also grateful to the following people from whom we received photographs during the past year: Paul H. E. Meijer; Fred Bucheit; Kenneth R. Hogstrom; Ivan A. Sellin; Ruth Howes; James Langer; Bert M. Coursey; Howard Pettersen; Connie Chidester; Raymond Davis; Masatoshi Koshiba; Gerardus t'Hooft; Ahmed H. Zewail; Paul Forman; Hugh Logan; Young Kim; Theodore Geballe; Donat Wentzel; C. Sharp Cook.

Other Audio-Visual Materials

The Niels Bohr Library received a number of new and interesting audio-visual donations in the last year. Jean Kumagai sent us a videotape recording, "The Long Walk of Fred Young," the story of Fred Begay, a Navajo physicist. Following the recent success of the play Copenhagen on Broadway, Brian Schwartz and Harry Lustig donated three videotapes of the symposium "Creating Copenhagen," held at the Graduate Center of the CUNY on March 27, 2000. From Thomas Ott we received a copy of the segment from the PBS American Experience series on "The Race for the Superbomb."

Gennady Gorelik donated an audio tape recording of excerpts of Andrei Sakharov's "Science and Freedom" speeches, delivered on his receipt of the Einstein Foundation's Peace Prize at Lyon, France in 1989 (a clip may be heard in the Center's Web exhibit on Sakharov). We were also given a recording of James Franck's talk "Reminiscences of a Physicist, " from the APS Southeast Section meeting on April 5, 1962 in Tallahassee, Florida, thanks to Frank von Hippel.

The Library also added two CD-ROMs to its collection, "Cosmic Cabaret" and "Maxwell's Equations, " an entertaining multimedia presentations on science and technology subjects from Science Entertainment and Lynda Williams.

Book Donations

As usual the Niels Bohr Library purchased hundreds of books, including old texts in physics and allied fields and virtually every significant newly published book on the history of the field. The funds come from Friends donations, plus money earned by selling donated books that duplicated items we already held. The Library's holdings in its fields of interest are so complete that a large part of any donated collection is likely to contain such duplicates. We retain whichever copy is in best condition; we sell the other to a dealer in used scientific books, so it is likely to wind up in a library where it is wanted.

This year the number of Russian titles in the collection grew remarkably thanks to several generous donations (see article, p.7). Two other large donations were received from Martin Nisenoff, who donated four boxes of books, and Eric Stusnick, who donated about 400 technical and scientific books. We are also grateful for donations received from Nicolaas Bloembergen, John Rigden, A. A. Bartlett, Ralph B. Baldwin and Ruth H. Howes.

Manuscript Materials

The Center tries to help place important papers in the most suitable repository, which is usually not its own Niels Bohr Library. One class of papers for which we are often the most suitable home is the records of societies (whether or not they are Member Socieities of the American Institute of Physics) and international organizations. The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics and its Secretary-General, JoAnn Joselyn have deposited in the Niels Bohr Library their historical records dating from 1919 to the mid-1990s (approximately 40 lin. ft.).

Additional copies of the Executive Committee minutes, Annual Business Meeting and Board of Director meetings of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, dating from 1971-1999 were received from Farhana R. Khan (.5 lin. ft.). Editorial files from the American Journal of Physics (1972-1985) were added to the records of the American Association of Physics Teachers by Bernard Khoury. Additional records of the American Vacuum Society sent by Yvonne R. Towse included one lin. ft. of records from 1999, plus exhibit materials and photographs (1962-1971). Nancy Passemante of the American Physical Society, Washington Office contributed correspondence, reports, articles and press releases from the APS's Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) study, 1983-1988 (2 lin. ft.). David DeVorkin of the American Astronomical Society, Historical Astronomy Division sent 5 lin. ft. of divisional records spanning the years 1898-1998. These include photos, correspondence, manuscripts, oral history transcripts, notes and production materials for their Centennial Book published in 1998.

The records of the American Institute of Physics itself are of course among our responsibilities. The American Institute of Physics, Physics Today Division donated 5 lin. ft. of records from Irwin Goodwin who has reported on many physics events out of his office in Washington, DC. The files accessioned contain information on the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), CEBAF (Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility), and "Star Wars"/Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) dating from 1983-1993.

There were a few noteworthy additions to the small physics collections. These included some papers of Hedwig Kohn and Rudolf Ladenburg donated by Brenda Winnewisser, containing correspondence, typescripts, booklets, school records, and clippings from 1885-1950. Alex Harvey donated 128 pp. of letters, manuscripts and reprints (1960-1973) he received from other physicists, including notables in the field of relativity. Finally, further additions to the papers of Homer Levi Dodge in the form of correspondence (1957-1994) were received from Alice Dodge Wallace (11 pp.).

Manuscript Biographies and Institutional Histories

We received a brief autobiography from William W. Kellogg in response to our recent History of Geophysics survey. Also from that survey, Jack Oliver donated his autobiographical "Shakespeare got it wrong. It's not 'to be', it's 'to do'!" (244 pp.). Jeremy C. Marwell sent us a copy of his thesis from Yale University about Gregory Breit entitled "Dogs that did not bark: Nuclear fission, scientific self-censorship, and the specter of a Nazi bomb," 1999, (58 pp.). David Hawkins contributed "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Robert Oppenheimer and Niels Bohr," his story of their attitude towards the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos (19 pp.). From Alexei Kojevnikov we received a samizdat copy of Kora Landau-Drobantseva's "Memoirs of a private life of Lev Landau", in Russian (252 pp.). Some recent newsletters and an updated history of the AAPT Appalachian Section, 1999-2000 were sent by Folden B. Stumpf.

Finding Aids

Finding aids to archival collections are a basic tool of historical research, and in the past year the Center has completed a major effort to make important ones widely available online (see article, p. 1). Meanwhile the Library's collection of finding aids received significant additions from both sides of the Atlantic. The University of Toronto in Canada sent the finding aid to Helen (Battles) Sawyer Hogg papers. The Niedersächsische Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek in Göttingen, Germany contributed the finding aid to the Friedrich Hund papers. The description of records of the International Astronomical Union was sent by the Kapteyn Institute in the Netherlands. We received from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow the guides to the papers of: Anatolii Petrovich Aleksandrov, Aksel Ivanovich Berg, Aleksandr Naumovich Frumkin, Ivan Vasilevich Obreimov, Aleksandr Iosifovich Shalnikov, Vasilii Vladimirovich Shuleikin, and Sergei Arkadevich Vekshinskii, which were processed under one of our archival grants-in-aid (see article, p. 5). The University of Edinburgh in Scotland furnished the guide to the interviews collected as part of The use of mosaic arrays in infrared astronomy project.

In the United States, the California Institute of Technology sent us finding aids to the papers of Robert B. Leighton and R. L. Walker. From the Carnegie Institution of Washington we received the finding aid to the Philip H. Abelson papers; from Iowa State University, the papers of John V. Atanasoff; from Stanford Linear Accelerator Center the papers of Burton Richter. Washington University in St. Louis contributed guides to the papers of Dan Bolef and Office of Chancellor, Records of Arthur Holly Compton. From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution we received the finding aid to the Raymond B. Montgomery papers; University of California-San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography's Robert Sinclair Dietz papers; the papers of William Whithill Rand from U-C Santa Barbara; the Alfred O. Nier papers from the University of Minnesota, and the Carl L. Kober papers from the University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.


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