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This short interview touches briefly on Erwin Hahn's education at Juniata College, Purdue University, and the University of Illinois; initial interest in nuclear magnetic resonance; his postdoctoral years with Felix Bloch's group at Stanford University; and his three years as a research scientist with IBM. Hahn also comments briefly on his consultantship with Hughes' maser group; his work on self-induced transparency; and his collaboration with Richard Brewer at IBM. Also prominently mentioned are: Sam Bass, Jesse Wakefield Beams, Felix Bloch, Nicolaas Bloembergen, Richard Brewer, John Clarke, Gene Commins, Harry Daghalian, Robert Henry Dicke, Gordon Gould, Donald W. Kerst, Theodore Maiman, Sam McCall, Mitsunaga, Arthur Leonard Schawlow, Norman Shiren, Charles Slichter, Dick Slusher, Russell Harrison Varian; Bell Telephone Laboratories, Columbia University, IBM Watson Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Science Foundation (U.S.), United States Navy, and University of Virginia.
Family background and childhood in Germany, 1919-1934; emigration to U.S. and undergraduate study and life at Princeton University, 1934-1938. Graduate work at California Institute of Technology, 1938-1942; work with Jesse W. M. DuMond, course load, and importance of his thesis. War work at California Institute of Technology; problems because of enemy alien status; work on firing error indicators. War work at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory: atomic bomb explosion, feelings concerning implications. Research at University of California at Berkeley, 1945-1951: construction of linear accelerator under Luis Alvarez (training, funding, working relationships, work schedules, relationship with other research groups), work on synchrotron, bevatron, Material Testing Accelerator project, neutal meson work and pion work; campus life, teaching responsibilities, textbook writing with Melba Phillips; security measures at Berkeley, 1945-1951: Berkeley's loyalty oath leads to move to Stanford University, 1951. The "Screw Driver" report (with Robert Hofstadter) for the Atomic Energy Commission. Korean War-related work (Felix Bloch, Edward L. Ginzton, Robert Kyhl); rigid politics of physics department; Washington involvement; consultant to the Air Force Science Advisory Board; Hans Bethe, Edward Teller; Bethe's Conference of Experts, 1958; Geneva negotiations, 1959; George Kistiakowski and Isidor I. Rabi; appointment to President's Science Advisory Committee, 1960; Dwight D. Eisenhower. Government support of science; Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC); Joint Committee on Atomic Energy hearings (Ginzton, Varian Associates); avoiding the "Berkeley image" at SLAC. Also prominently mentioned are: Sue Gray Norton Alsalan, Carl David Anderson, Raymond Thayer Birge, Hugh Bradner, Henry Eyring, Don Gow, Alex E. S. Green, William Webster Hansen, Joel Henry Hildebrand, Giulo Lattes, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Edwin Mattison McMillan, John Francis Neylan, Hans Arnold Panofsky, Ryokishi Sagane, Robert Gordon Sproul, Raymond L. Steinberger, Charles Hard Townes, Watters, Gian Carlo Wick, John Robert Woodyard, Dean E. Wooldridge, Fritz Zwicky; Federation of American Scientists, and Lawrence Radiation.
<p>Then, the project finally got authorized in 1961 — but again after a rather amusing set of coincidences. At that time the Stanford project was sort of known as the Republican project because Eisenhower had proposed it to a Democratic Congress. At that time there was a project that the Democrats wanted in Congress which the Republican administration did not want. This was for the Hanford Reactor to generate power into the electrical net, because it was considered to be socialized electricity by the Republicans, to have power generated by a production reactor. There was also good economic and technical reasons against such a project. It’s a very inefficient reactor, for power generation because of the low temperature at which the Hanford reactor operates. Anyway, the Democrats wanted it and the Republicans didn't.</p>
<p>On the other hand, the Stanford linear accelerator was considered to be a Republican proposal, opposed by the Democrats. So after a while the Republicans and Democrats in the Joint Committee essentially said, "If you approve Hanford, then we approve Stanford." So it ended up with both of them getting approved, and it was this entirely political infighting in the Congress which resulted in that last hurdle being passed. However in 1960, we already had very good confidence that it would go, because the three million dollars was fundamentally a signal to us that Congress really meant it but that they wanted to slap Mr. Eisenhower’s wrist for non-consultation.</p>
Early influences and education; A.B. from Willamette University in physics and math, 1926; fellowship and M.A. from Stanford University; graduate study at Columbia University on x-rays. Work at Bell Laboratories, starting 1929, on vacuum tube amplifiers with John B. Johnson; carbon microphones, semiconductors and the solar battery; work atmosphere and supervisors, Peter J. W. Debye; technical colloquia. History of “thermistors” and transistors. First color TV demonstration. Work during World War II on bombing using radar techniques and infrared. Organization of the Morgan-Shockley solid state group, 1946; appointment as department head at Bell Labs; academic appointment at Stanford University. Also prominently mentioned are: Joseph A. Becker, Hendrik Wade Bode, Walter Houser Brattain, Oliver E. Buckley, Chapin, Carl Christensen, Karl Kelchner Darrow, Clinton Joseph Davisson, Henry Eyring, James Brown Fisk, Harvey Fletcher, Gaylon T. Ford, Lester Halbert Germer, Gibney, Frederick Goucher, H. E. Ives, Frank Jewett, Mervin J. Kelly, Jack Morton, Foster Cary Nix, Ogg, Russell S. Ohl, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, Morris Tanenbaum, Gordon K. Teal, Russell Harrison Varian, Oliver Weisner, Dean E. Wooldridge; Pacific Academy in Newberg, and Stanford Solid State Industrial Affiliates.
Early family life and early education in Toronto during the Depression. Interest in radio engineering; math-physics scholarship to University of Toronto 1937. During World War II (from 1941) teaching Army, Air Force, Navy students in basic physics. Masters degree with Arnold Pitt during that period. Work with G. Byers on microwave guide antennas. Poor graduate education at Toronto. Interest in nuclear physics; constructs atomic beam light source; 'his definition of a diatomic molecule. Receives Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation post-doc fellowship (Rabi); work with C. Townes at Columbia University on application of microwave spectroscopy to organic chemistry; comments on faculty and co-workers at Columbia. To Bell Labs to work on superconductivity in Stan Morgan's group in early 1950's. Work with Lewis and Matthias on the intermediate state nuclear quadrupole resonance. The Clad Rob Laser; work atmosphere at Bell Labs; decision to leave Bell for Stanford. Works with graduate students; Emmett, Holzrichter on flashlamps; solid state spectroscopy. Role in Optical Society of America and American Physical Society.
Testing klystrons at Wright Field for blind landing, at request of Wilmer L. Burrow of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sperry Gyroscope research contract with Stanford University, San Carlos and Garden City plants. Contact with solid state physics through use of old-fashion crystal detectors in the klystron. Bell Laboratories and other centers for research in microwaves; John Pierce and other scientists in semiconductor work. Cooperation among industrial labs and the military for war effort; doping of germanium; history of silicon detectors, Winfield Salisbury’s contribution, William P. Cook, Karl Lark-Horovitz. Sperry patent; first semiconductor amplifier designed by Woodyard but not claimed on patent; the Sperry-Texas Instruments patent suit. Work on the Manhattan Project, 1942. Joined Lark-Horovitz at Purdue University following war to continue research in electron linear accelerator. Move to Berkeley’s Radiation Laboratory; continued work on transistors. Also prominently mentioned are: William Webster Hansen, R. A. Heising, Vivian Annabelle Johnson, Jones, Guglielmo Marconi, Arthur Norbert, Russell S. Ohl, David Sloan, and Bill Wasson.
In this interview, Nadya Mason, Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses her life and career. Mason recounts her family background and her childhood growing up in New York City, then Washington DC, and then Houston. She discusses her dedication to gymnastics between ages 8-16 and her rise to national stature in that field. Mason describes her developing interests in math and science, including a formative internships at Rice University and the Exxon Production Research Center where she discovered her love for lab work. She describes her undergraduate experience at Harvard, the supportive mentor she found in Howard Georgi, and her work in the condensed matter physics lab at Bell Labs where she developed her interest in liquid crystals. Mason explains her focus on condensed matter physics for graduate school, and she describes her graduate work at Stanford, where her initial intent was to work with Doug Osheroff before she became interested in working with Aharon Kapitulnik on superconductivity. She explains some of the main questions that drove her dissertation research, including the behaviors that are possible in a low-dimensional superconductor. Mason discusses her postdoctoral work back at Harvard where she pursued research on carbon nanotubes quantum dots. She describes her decision to join the faculty at Illinois and what it was like to set up a major lab and the strong support she enjoyed from the university. Mason describes her research agenda over the course of her career, she discusses her current interests in mesoscopic low dimensional materials with correlated materials, and she describes the opportunities and challenges teaching at a large public university. She shares her thoughts on where physics can go as a community to enhance diversity and inclusivity in the field, and she emphasizes the importance of individual responsibility as a means to achieve those goals. At the end of the interview, Mason describes some of the exciting avenues of research in the future, including work on combining topological and magnetic materials, and she considers the importance of machine learning for the future of condensed matter physics.