Recent Additions to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives

The Library & Archives rely heavily on donations. We work with other repositories to ensure that collections offered to us find the most suitable home, often not in our archives, but even so we still acquire many historically valuable collections and materials. We collect often difficult-to-find and unique items that we are able to make readily available to researchers and scholars. Over the past year we have made great strides in filling out our collections from various American Institute of Physics’ member societies and other subject areas.

Audiovisual Collections

The Emilio Segrè Visual Archives (ESVA) now makes available over 20,000 images online at

The past year was a very good one for photo donations to ESVA. Notable are images given by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies, a working photographer in the U.K., who gave us 37 photos used in her book and exhibition, Portraits of Astronomers. Susan Kilbride donated four photos of her great, great grandfather, Henry Anton Erikson. Richard Zallen, recently retired Professor of Physics at Virginia Tech, donated several images spanning his career. Paula Sanders gave us almost a dozen photos taken by her mother, Esther Mintz, at an American Physical Society (APS) meeting held in Washington, D.C. in the late 1930s. Jerome S. Danburg sent us over 100 negatives taken Oct. 30 & 31, 1968 at UC Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory during celebration of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics to Luis W. Alvarez. Erasmo Recami donated several dozen additional photos of Ettore Majorana, his family and colleagues collected over Recami’s years of research into the life of Majorana.

The 2009 Nobel Laureates in Physics, Willard S. Boyle, Charles Kao, and George Elwood Smith, donated photos at our request. We also solicited images this year of several contemporary, still-active scientists and among those who generously donated to us were: Ignacio Cirac, Cees Dekker, Charles M. Lieber, Geoffrey Marcy, Shuji Nakamura, Sir John Pendry, and Adam Riess.

We thank these generous donors for giving us their images as well: Richard Epworth, Will Fastie, Ignacio Rodrigues-Iturbe, Brian Kennett, Jean Knapp, R. Beverly Orndorff, Art Poskanzer, Eric R. Priest, Dileep V. Sathe, Elias Snitzer, Joseph Silk, Jozef Szudy, and David Williams. Lastly, we thank the following AIP Member Society Presidents for sending us their photos for our Gallery of Member Society Presidents: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., David G. Castner, David M. Cook, Jr., Debra M. Elmegreen, Michael G. Herman, Judith Kelly, Michael J. McPhaden, Faith Morrison, and James C. Wyant.

Along with the ESVA, the Archives has collected conference proceeding and symposium videos from the American Physical Society’s (APS) 2010 Annual meeting in Washington DC and 2008 Annual meeting in St. Louis, MO; American Association of Physics Teachers’ (AAPT) International Conference in 1991 in Fuji, Japan and Physics for phun video; American Vacuum Society’s (AVS) 55th International Symposium from 2008 in Boston, MA and a talk from the 1999 AVS symposium on the vacuum contributions to the semiconductor industry.

Other additions included reminiscences by A. B. Wood; Ed Gerjuoy’s recollections of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Julian Schwinger; lectures and collected recordings of Emilio Segrè; the motion picture by Roald A. Schrack “The Search”; a copy of a Japanese public broadcasting program from NHK Entapuraizu detailing the development of semiconductors in Japan; a session from a colloquium at the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology titled “New Insights into Old Problems”; a documentary from Sky Fabin from the 40th anniversary of Los Alamos Laboratory; and a copy of Squaredog Radio in Britain’s radio broadcast “The Death-ray in your Pocket — Fifty years of lasers” which includes excerpts of some of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives Oral History interview collection.

Manuscript Collections

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives is the official repository for the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and most of the AIP member societies. Each year we receive valuable material from them as well as from physicists, historians, and other important individuals. This year is no exception with new collections from the American Astronomical Society’s records of the obituary committee; the American Physical Society’s (APS) centennial meeting records and records from its Southeastern section; the history of geophysics committee records from the American Geophysical Union; an addition of records and oral history interviews from the American Vacuum Society; editor reports and John Layman’s records from the American Association of Physics Teachers’ (AAPT) Office of the President; and from the Board of Directors of the American Center for Physics records from Bernie Khoury.

Along with all of these collections that have been accessioned into the holdings of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, we are in the process of acquiring a large addition to the APS collection that will include records that begin where our collection now ends and bring it to the present. As well, we are working closely with the staff at AAPT to accession new materials that will expand our holdings. Furthermore, we had another of our yearly additions to the Gravity Research Foundation’s essay contest collection.

In addition to our archival manuscript collections, we collect single or few item collections of “miscellaneous physics,” manuscript biographies and institutional histories. These collections often have large amounts of information for researchers to supplement their research with. And as these items are often too interesting to throw away, they have become some of our largest collections over the years and continue to grow.

Donations to these collections this year include institutional histories from Lillian C. McDermott on the University of Washington’s physics department; Tulane University’s Department of Physics and Engineering; an update to the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Appalachian section; also the new version of the history of the University of Mississippi’s Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1933 to 1996 by Henry E. Bass; Henry Garon’s history of Loyola University’s physics department; and Jasper McKee’s history of the Canadian Association of Physicists. We also received many unpublished historical and biographical accounts to add to our manuscript biographies. These include Nan Dieter Conklin, Henry A. Erickson, Margaret Hartree Booth’s recollection on Douglas R. Hartree; Albert Wallace Hull, a remembrance of John Pound, James M. Stewart; and a manuscript titled “Entropy in cosmology” by Charles W. Misner.

Other donations to our miscellaneous physics collection include scanned documents of the Jules Gueron papers from the United Kingdom’s National Archives; a web exhibit from the U. S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory Archives that showcases various course materials; bound lecture notes from a quantum mechanics class taught by Julian Schwinger that were written by John Markus Blatt; and a dissertation by William Carl Lineberger titled “Ionization of Lithium Ions by Electron Impact” that was signed at his 70th birthday celebration by former colleagues, including a few Nobel laureates and some of the graduate students that he taught.

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