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Slater leaves Harvard University for Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930 (Karl Compton) to build up Physics Department there; work on quantum electrodynamics. Growth of MIT Physics Department in the 1930s and 1940s, relations between experimentalists and theorists; discussion of works and publications during the 1930s. Changes in U.S. physics; overview of post-World War II physics to 1951, and reasons for establishing own research group; establishment of the Radiation Lab, 1940; magnetron work; Bell Labs visits, 1941-1942 and 1943-1945. Planning of postwar development in MIT Physics Department; transition from Radiation Lab to Research Lab of Electronics; formation of laboratories of nuclear science, acoustics, and spectroscopy; the Lincoln Laboratory, the Instrumental Lab; growth of nuclear branch of Physics Department; physics activity in general in postwar years, Solid State and Molecular Theory Group; the Compton Lab.; Materials Science Center established ca. 1958; interdepartmental and interdisciplinary work; visits to Brookhaven National Laboratory; Slater and Per Olov Lowdin’s Florida Group. Also prominently mentioned are: John Bardeen, W. Buechner, Arthur Holly Compton, Edward Uhler Condon, Jens Dahl, Robley Dunglison Evans, James Brown Fisk, George Harrison, Douglas Rayner Hartree, Raymond George Herb, Milton Stanley Livingston, Millard Manning, Jacob Millman, Wayne B. Nottingham, Isidor Isaac Rabi, Schafer, William Shockley, R. A. Smith, Julius Stratton, Robert Jamison Van de Graaff, John Hasbrouck Van Vleck, Eugene Paul Wigner; American Physical Society, California Institute of Technology, Florida State University, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Princeton University, University of Bristol, University of California at Berkeley, and University of Chicago.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Bertrand Halperin, Hollis Professor of Mathematicks and Natural Philosophy, Emeritus, at Harvard. Halerpin recounts his upbringing and education in Brooklyn, and his decision to study at Harvard as an undergraduate. He describes some of the leading physicists of the department during that time, and his developing interest and talent for theory. Halperin describes a formative summer internship at New York Life Insurance Company and his work at the dawn of the computer age, and another summer internship at Los Alamos, where he worked on a project on neutron scattering from aluminum. He explains his decision to move to Berkeley and then Princeton for graduate school where he developed his interest in solid state physics. Halperin describes his post-doctoral work in France and his subsequent job at Bell Labs, where he worked on dynamic critical phenomena. He describes being recruited back to Harvard by Paul Martin and his subsequent work on quantum Hall effects and one-dimensional systems research. In the last exchange of the interview, Halperin describes his current interests in experimental puzzles and the behavior of quantum systems.