Mystery Photos

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June 13, 2018; updated June 26, 2018

Sean McEnroe, Photograph Collections Assistant

At the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives we have a small box of photographs without identifying information, (i.e. nothing written on the back) which we call the box of mysteries. We thought it would be a fun exercise to reach out to see if anyone recognized the people or places in the photos. Most of these images were first published in our newsletter in May and we have since had two photos identified (see below). Thanks to our newsletter readers, we have identified:

Robert Resnick...

...and Donald W. Kerst working on one of his betatrons.

We are now posting some of those same mystery images here online with a few new photographs to see if our online followers can identify any of the people, places, or equipment.

Click on any photo below to view a larger version. If you recognize someone or something in the below images, please contact Sean McEnroe at: smcenroe [at]

Photo 1

The photo was taken in the Cour d’honneur in front of the chapel of the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The inscription dated 1642 on the architrave honors Cardinal Richelieu.

UPDATE: This photo on the steps of the chapel in the Cour d'honneur of the Sorbonne is of the 1955 International Conference on Low Temperature Physics in Paris, France, also known as LT 4.

Photo 2

Here is a mystery gathering of well-dressed people. Note the table and sink in the foreground.

UPDATE: This photo is of a lecture hall likely in the Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw (Building) at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands.

Photos 3 & 4

Two views of the same piece of equipment or construction of equipment.

Photo 5

A dapper, relatively young physicist, photographed in what looks like a studio.

UPDATE: This photo has been identified as a young Hermann von Helmholtz. The photo was taken in 1848.

Photo 6

A distinguished looking group.

UPDATE: This photo has been identified as the dedication of the Yerkes Observatory, October 18, 1897.