POTM: The letter H

POTM: The letter H

Hello, history-of-science horde! Here we’ll happily heed historical happenings having highly-held heroines, HBCUs, humanitarian helpers, and hypothesis-supporting hollows. 

In other words: In a continuation of last month’s alphabetically themed photos of the month, let’s explore the letter H in the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives!

Hertha and Hedwig

Side by side portraits of Hertha Sponer and Hedwig Kohn.

Left: Caption: Hertha Sponer-Franck working with equipment in a laboratory. Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Lisa Lisco, Gift of Jost Lemmerich. Catalog ID: Sponer Hertha F3.

Right: Caption: Hedwig Kohn enjoys the outdoors. Credit: AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, gift of Dr. Wilhelm Tappe, Kohn Photo Collection. Catalog ID: Kohn Hedwig B11.

Physicists Hertha Sponer and Hedwig Kohn were two of only three women to meet pre-World War II Germany’s requirements to teach physics at the university level (the other being Lise Meitner). But in the 1930s, they were both removed from their teaching positions in Germany due to Antisemitism and misogyny. Years later, both Hertha Sponer and Hedwig Kohn ended up at Duke University. Hertha set up a spectroscopy lab there, and continued her research in quantum mechanics. After Hedwig Kohn’s retirement from Wellesley College, Hertha invited her to conduct research at Duke.

Hydrogen Bubble Chamber

Photo of the 80-inch Liquid Hydrogen Bubble Chamber at Brookhaven National Lab.

Caption: The 80-inch Liquid Hydrogen Bubble Chamber at BNL. Credit: Photo courtesy Brookhaven National Laboratory (For Publication Permission Request contact Jane Koropsak, BNL-Media and Communications). Catalog ID: Brookhaven National Laboratory F26.

This is the 80-inch Liquid Hydrogen Bubble Chamber at Brookhaven National Lab, which was created in the 1960s. This 1963 bulletin from Brookhaven celebrates the new chamber, and also includes some fun internal news such as stats from a baseball league and updates about a lab picnic (which suggests that the BNL Personnel Office liked alliteration as much as I do). 
Bonus: Here is some artwork inspired by the bubble chamber.

Hideki Yukawa

A signed portrait of Hideki Yukawa.

Caption: A signed portrait of Hideki Yukawa. Credit: Photograph by B. Hackstone, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, E. Scott Barr Collection, Weber Collection. Catalog ID: Yukawa Hideki A1.

Hideki Yukawa (湯川秀樹) was the first Japanese scientist to win a Nobel Prize (in 1949). He was also one of eleven scientists to sign the Russell-Einstein manifesto of 1955 which called for global nuclear disarmament. The manifesto (available here), also called for a conference for scientists to further discuss the need for disarmament. The first Pugwash Conference took place just two years later in Nova Scotia, and Hideki was in attendance. 

Here, also, is a brief 1962 oral history interview with Hideki.

Hawai’i hosts High Energy Physics

A group portrait from the Third Hawaii Conference on High Energy Physics.

Caption: Attendees at the 1969 Hawaii Topical Conference on High Energy Physics. Credit: University of Hawaii High Energy Physics Group, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives. Catalog ID: Hawaii Conferenece E4.

This group portrait was taken at the High Energy Physics Conference of 1969 in Hawai’i. The attendees, dressed up in lovely Aloha-attire, include Melvin Schwartz, Jean Yamasaki, San Fu Tuan, Caroline Chong, Jean Hokama, Murray Gell-Mann, Carol Underwood, Nancy Bow, Leon Van Hove, and Robert D. Tripp.


Dadourian, Bridgman and Davis rest while hiking.

Caption: (L-R) Haroutune Dadourian, Percy Bridgman and Harvey Davis (and a dog, possibly?) take a rest from hiking above the timber line. Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives. Catalog ID: Dadourian Haroutune C3.

There are lots of photographs in ESVA that show scientists hiking and enjoying nature (see?). This one is one of my favorites: it shows Haroutune Dadourian, Percy Bridgman, and Harvey Davis taking a break during a hike. As a frequent taker-of-breaks myself, I will aim to get this comfortable while I rest up on my next hike.

Henry at Howard University

Photo of Warren Henry with a student.

Caption: Warren Henry (right) outside his office with a student at Howard University. Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Henry Collection. Catalog ID: Henry Warren C2.

Here is Warren Henry with a student at Howard University. Henry was a Professor of Physics at Howard from 1969 until his retirement in 1977. Prior to that, he worked at the Tuskegee Institute, Morehouse College, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, and MIT. According to this Physics Today obituary for Henry, he was also a leader of the National Society of Black Physicists in the organization’s early days. 

That’s all for the June photos of the month! To subscribe to monthly Ex Libris email updates, visit https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/exlibris-subscr….

About the Author

Samantha Holland

Samantha Holland

Samantha Holland was the AV & Media Archivist. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Humanities with a concentration in English from the University of Hawai’i- West Oahu and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. One of her favorite collections in the archives is the William F. Meggers films. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her dogs, watching movies, and listening to music (preferably the Beatles). 

Caption: A still image from one of the Meggers films showing Megger’s travels to Dublin, Ireland, to attend the International Astronomical Union Ninth General Assembly in 1955. 

See all articles by Samantha Holland

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Submitted byDavid N. Schwartzon Thu, 07/08/2021 - 10:09

Browsing through the photos of the month and when I got to the Hawaii conference brought together by San Fu Tuan, lo and behold there is a photo of my dad at the far left! We have a that photo in my dad's archives, in color. He brought the whole family with him, and we went on a sailboat ride with the Gell-Mann family. Memories!