AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXVI , No. 2, Fall 2004

 

Recent Acquisitions of the Niels Bohr Library

Oral History Interviews

Kai-Henrik Barth interviewed the distinguished physicist Marshall Rosenbluth shortly before Rosenbluth's untimely death. A group of physicists aware of the historical value of Rosenbluth's recollections had arranged for the just-in-time interviewing; the project was funded by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and administered by the AIP Center for History of Physics. Another project, organized by volunteers, has tape-recorded the recollections of the remarkable scientist and educator Philip J. Morrison; interviews by Owen Gingerich and by Robert Norris were received in 2002-2003. Yet another special effort by the Center was the organization of a variety of interviews conducted over the years with Philip W. Anderson by various individuals. Anderson, who generously helped with the editing, is an author in five of the top 100 papers, ranked by citation impact, published in the Physical Review since its foundation.*

Many oral history interviews were acquired in 2003 as part of the Physicists in Industry Project (see article, p. 2). These were structured interviews of 1-2 hours, built around questions about the administrative organization and record-keeping practices of industrial research laboratories, but including a variety of interesting personal and historical information. Those interviewed were: Doug Allen, Charlie Bennett, David Bishop, Steve Bolte, Dick Chapman, Peter Crean, Mark Debe, Bob Doering, Bijan Dorri, Charlie Duke, Ed Furlani, Thomas Halsey, David Lohse, Dan Nolan, John Schenk, Bernie Silbernagel, Tom Theis, and J. Anthony Tyson, all interviewed by Joe Anderson, and Tom Anthony, Tom Aton, Badri Badrinarayan, Gary Boyd, Dennis Buss, Praveen Chaudhari, Sanjay Correa, Alan Evans, Gil Hawkins, Dan Hays, John Huizinga, Eric Isaacs, Donald Keck, Mark Ketchen, Robert Lorentz, Joe McPherson, Jim Milch, Howard Mizes, Cherry Murray, Loren Pheiffer, Phil Platzman, Harry Ringermacher, John Spoonhower, James Stoffel, Hans Stork, and Alice White, all interviewed by Tom Lassman.

This past year Patrick McCray (formerly on the History Center staff and now at U. California Santa Barbara), interviewed A.G.W. Cameron, Peter Goldreich, G.D. Preston, W.L.W. Sargent and Joseph Taylor. Other interviews received this year were: Hélène Langevin-Joliot conducted by Azam Niroomand-Rad, Dudley R. Herschbach and Robert Vivian Pound by John Rigden, Chester M. McKinney by David T. Blackstock, J.A. Westphal by David DeVorkin, Philip W. Mange by Ron Doel, G. Toraido di Francia by Olival Freire, William O. Baker by R. Cargill Hall, and Douglas D. Osheroff, A.M. Prokhorov and D.V. Shirkov by Alexei Kojevnikov. Oral history interviews acquired in 2002 and not previously listed were conducted of Robert Furman by Finn Aaserud, Michael A. Horne and Abner Shimony by Joan Bromberg, David Beckler and Leon Lederman by Ron Doel, Margaret Geller, James Houck and John P. Huchra by Patrick McCray, and A.D. Linde by Christopher Smeenk.

Book Donations

The Niels Bohr Library received a number of important donations from generous contributors, giving Library staff much to do. First, each book must be evaluated to be sure it's appropriate for the collection. If we already have a copy, we keep the best one and sell the duplicate to a used book dealer, so that it may find a good home, and bring us some funds to buy additional books. If the book is fragile, this is entered in a database for scheduled conservation. A call number must be assigned, and finally the book is cataloged in the Library's online catalog and the national RLIN books database.

Sally Morris contributed close to 800 books from the library of Cabell Arnold Pearse. Milton Katz and Martin J. Klein each donated books from their libraries, and Richard Hanau gave us a number of physics texts as well as two autobiographical papers. Virginia Trimble gave us pre-conference manuscripts from the 5th of the Triennial Symposia on General Relativity and Gravitation, held in 1968, from the library of the late Joseph Weber. The U.S. Naval Observatory contributed several duplicates from their collection to augment our astronomy books. David Roberts made several separate donations. The Niels Bohr Library was also fortunate to receive Edward Teller's copy of Werner Heisenberg's Einfuhrung in die einheitliche Feldtheorie der Elementarteilichen (1967) from Glen E. Bugos. Finally, Ben Stein of the American Institute of Physics Media and Government Relations department donated a number of recent books on popular science that will not only be used in the Library's in-house loan collection, but will contribute to the overall collection as well.

Manuscript Materials

As usual, some unusual manuscript collections found a home in the Niels Bohr Library this past year. Robert Romer donated a typescript of Herbert Goldstein's Classical Mechanics (preliminary edition) from 1949 a textbook studied by practically every physicist of the postwar generations (0.25 lin. ft.). Jeff Hecht contributed interview materials including notes and transcripts for his recent book City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics, 1994-1996 (1.5 lin. ft.). Scholarly work published on the Web is threatened by impermanence; Spencer Weart donated a text printout of his Web essays on "The Discovery of Global Warming" as a "record copy," 2003 (0.5 lin. ft.). We received some additional materials for the Thomas C. Mendenhall collection (1851-1936) from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (1.0 lin. ft.), containing photographs and other materials from Mendenhall's time in Japan, where he helped introduce modern physics instruction. The annual addition of the 2004 entries to the Gravity Research Foundation's Essay Contest were sent by George Rideout (0.5 lin. ft.).

Our member societies continue to add documentation of their activities to the archives. Copies of the four-volume set Powerful Ideas in Physics Science (2nd ed.), 1996, arrived courtesy of the American Association of Physics Teachers (1.0 lin. ft.). The volumes include Light and Color, Electricity, Heat and Conservation of Energy, and Nature of Matter. Arlo Landolt, outgoing Secretary of the American Astronomical Society, is in the process of donating all his records from that office, from about 1961-2003 (ca. 50 lin. ft.). We received some Annual Meeting Posters for the American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics from Russell J. Donnelly. These give general historical information on the annual meetings, including photographs of locations, officers and executive committee members from 1948 up to 1997 (1.0 lin. ft.). Some of the records relating to AIP's move to Maryland (1990-1993) came from AIP's Office of the Director (0.5 lin. ft.). AIP's Office of the Secretary donated records from 1965-1985 on the Meggers Award (0.25 lin. ft.).

The number of our small manuscript collections continues to grow. Joseph Reader has donated photocopies of letters to National Bureau of Standards staff on Atomic Energy Levels from the years 1949-1971 (6 pp.). These include letters to staff at NBS from Samuel Goudsmit, I. I. Rabi, Linus Pauling and Niels Bohr. We received a photocopy of a biographical index from Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, Vol. 62 for 2003 from Roy H. Garstang (10 pp.). From Lila Landé we received some copies of letters, postcards and photographs from noted physicists to her grandfather, Alfred Landé, from the years 1919-1973 (31 pp.). A. Ravi Prakash Rau donated photocopies and originals of handwritten notes from a 1978 NASA Astrophysics Workshop he attended in Aspen, Colorado; the workshop was held to formulate NASA's projects in satellites and space exploration (18 pp.). An essay on "A Discovery and its Uses: the Story of Particle Tracks in Solids" (1975) by Roland W. Schmitt was received from the author (101 pp.).

Manuscript Biographies, Institutional Histories, and Archival Finding Aids

Richard G. Brewer sent us a bound copy of his "Memoirs" (2003) as well as PDF copy on CD-ROM (262 pp.). We received another memoir, this one by Ella Ryndina, niece of Lev Landau, called "Lines to the Portrait of Lev Landau" (43 pp.) from Arthur Gill via Steve Benka at Physics Today. A "Technical Biography of Albert Wattenberg" (2003) came to us from the author, Albert Wattenberg (32 pp.). And J. Lamar Worzel donated a self-published copy of his "Autobiography" from 2001 (325 pp.). Folden B. Stumpf provided us with new materials as well as an updated history of the AAPT Appalachian Section History from 2002-2004 (10 pp., newsletters, pamphlet). Finally, James R. Heirtzler sent us a collection of reminiscences called "Early Lamont" (2002) that he collected from colleagues who worked at Lamont from its early days in the 1950s as the Lamont Geological Observatory to its present incarnation as the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (194 pp.).

The Académie des Sciences, Archives et Patrimoine historique, Paris, France has sent us the finding aids for two of their collections: the Papers of Francis Perrin, 1917-1973 and the Jean Perrin Papers, 1887-1942. We also have received information on a half-dozen other finding aids that have been made available on the Web: see box below.

Photos and other Audio-Visual Materials

We continue to maintain a complete set, thanks to donations, of portraits received from the AIP Member Society Presidents, physicist Nobel Prize winners, and the Physics Today Obituary files. This year we also are grateful for donations of collections of photographs from Peter Trower of Luis Alvarez; Wolf Prize recipient François Englert of himself; Ken Ford of himself; Charlotte F. Fischer of Douglas Hartree; Dr. and Mrs. John F. Kielkopf with John R. Hale of Edwin Hubble; Ellen Ryndina of Lev Landau; Keith MacAdam of his father and former Optical Society of America president David MacAdam, and Emmanuel Rashba of various Russian physicists. We also received donations of one or two photographs from Alice Calaprice, Warren Washington and John Howard.

The number of our audio-visual accessions is rapidly growing as these forms of media become increasingly common. Margaret Wiley of the AIP Director's Office gave us a VHS copy of "The Beauty and Complexity of the Mandelbrot Set" (1989), a presentation by Science Television with John H. Hubbard. A videotape of a colloquium in 2004 at NIST by I. M. Khalatnikov titled "Spark of a Life in Physics" on the life of Lev Landau was donated by Florence G. Parkhill of the NIST Physics Laboratory. Patrick McCray donated a video copy of a Smithsonian Institution film, "So Many Galaxies . . . So Little Time" . We also received a copy on CD-ROM of the American Institute of Physics multimedia program "Physics: It Moves & Speaks" from 2003. A DVD copy of Philip Morrison's lecture at James Madison University in 1987, "Nuclear War: Waking from the Nightmare" was donated by William H. Ingham.


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