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Education in chemistry and physics at Washington State University in early 1930s; graduate studies and work on cyclotron under E. O. Lawrence at University of California, Berkeley from 1935-1939; investigations into products of neutron irradiation of uranium; identification of transuranic element 93 with Edwin McMillan; scientific activities at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at Carnegie Institution of Washington; work on enrichment of uranium for nuclear submarine project at the Naval Research Laboratory; describes information channels between scientists and government officials during World War II and his perspective on the use of the atomic bomb; continued work at Carnegie by investigating biosynthesis of E. coli using radioactive tracers; as director of Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory conducted organic geochemical investigations of amino acid decay in Mercenaria mercenaria; co-editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research; reflections of his editorship of Science.
Early education in physics, University of Chicago 1930’s; high-energy particle counter; discovery of positron; discovery of neutrons; neutron experiments; reminiscences of Berkeley; Foundation support of research; 60-inch cyclotron building cloud chambers; neutron spectroscopy; neutron time-of-flight; magnetic moment of the neutron: transuraniun elements; announcement of fission; Tizard Mission; war research work; building of a betatron; effect of war techniques on post-war research; cyclotron work 1947; impressions of present day nuclear physics 1966.
Family background; early interest in physics; chance meeting with Enrico Fermi in youth and early friendship with Emilio Segrè; enrolling in physics at University of Rome; recollections of Orso M. Corbino; 1931 Rome Conference on Nuclear Physics; 1934 visit to Cambridge with Segrè; transition from spectroscopy to nuclear physics work at Rome; reaction to discovery of neutron; Ettore Majorana's work; slow neutron experiments; Fermi's approach toward theory and experiment; failure to discover fission; break-up of Rome group; 1936 trip to America; construction of two accelerators at Rome; 1939 trip to America; decision to discontinue fission experiments at Rome; usefulness of Hans A. Bethe's review articles; style of Rome group; physics elsewhere in Italy during 1930s; contacts with physicists outside Rome during 1930s; Italian physics during the war; postwar concern with elementary particles; recollections of Fermi in postwar period; work considered personally satisfying. Also prominently mentioned are: Herbert Anderson, Gilberto Bernardini, Torkild Bjerge, Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Niels Henrik David Bohr, James Chadwick, Conversi, Otto Robert Frisch, George Gamow, Ettore Majorana, Pancini, Oreste Piccioni, George Placzek, Franco D. Rasetti, Westcott; Accademia Nazionale (Italy), Cavendish Laboratory, Columbia University, Conference on Nuclear Physics (1931 : Rome, Italy), Istituto superiore di sanità, and University of California at Berkeley, CA.
Anderson talks almost exclusively about his work during the thirties with particles of high energy involved in nuclear reactions. He covers in detail his discovery of the positive electron, his pair production work with gamma rays, his expedition to Pike’s Peak with Neddermeyer and their discovery of the mesotron. He mentions that it was in his speech accepting the Nobel Prize in 1936 that he first mentioned the possibility of negative and positive particles of intermediate mass. After noting the absence of any cosmic ray work during the war years, he mentions the postwar development of cosmic ray work into high energy physics.
Family background; undergraduate and graduate studies at Princeton University: electrical engineering 1921, graduate research on ionization of argon and HC1, spectroscopic interests, (MA 1924, PhD 1925); developmental research as engineer for American Telephone and Telegraph Laboratories (1921–23); National Research Council Fellow at Harvard University (1925–27); Bartol Research Foundation Fellow (1927–29), research on “impact of protons on atoms and molecules.” Assistant professor at Cornell University (1929–31), high voltage x-ray research, visit to Cavendish Laboratory, associations (1930); Founding Director of the American Institute of Physics (1931–57): discussions on the origin, nature and funding of AIP; early associations with the Chemical Foundation and American Chemical Society; history of selected AIP journals; public relations to promote physics; Impact of Depression on physics; Depression and post World War II studies on physics manpower and industries.
Natural radioactivity; ideas of nuclear constitution, size in 1920s; Gamow-Condon-Gurney theory of alpha decay 1928; discovery of neutron 1932; Cambridge as a center of research 1933; early theories of nuclear forces; analysis of short-range nuclear forces 1935-40; reasons for writing Rev. Mod. Phys. review articles 1935-37 and detailed review of articles' contents; beta decay and the neutrino hypothesis; application of group-theoretic methods to nuclear physics 1936-37; compound nucleus model 1936; nuclear models in general (compound nucleus, evaporation, liquid drop, direct interaction, statistical); contemporary knowledge of nuclear physics 1938-39; stellar energy production; energy limit on cyclotron; accelerators and theoreticians; nuclear physics at Los Alamos; post-war conferences; origins and development of the shell model of the nucleus; many-body theory in nuclear physics; current algebras in particle physics; origins and development of the optical model; of the collective model; autobiographical comments on political, social, scientific conditions in Germany and England in early 1930s ; nuclear studies at Cornell after the war; building the H-bomb; the Oppenheimer hearings; work as a consultant 1950-1970; involvement with PSAC 1956; views on disarmament; receipt of 1967 Nobel Prize.
Recollections of physics community in 1920s and early 1930s; opportunities for physics work in Europe; awareness of political climate in Germany (1932); relationship with Werner Heisenberg at University of Leipzig; awarded Rockefeller Fellowship to study at University of Rome; contacts with physicists after Leipzig and before Rome; John Von Neumann's list of refugee physicists; offered appointment to position at Stanford University; visit to University of Copenhagen and Niels Bohr's advice to accept appointment; relinquishing of second half of fellowship; influenced by Bohr, Heisenberg and others; Bloch's influence on Enrico Fermi leading to theory of neutrino; met by Gregory Breit on arrival in New York; initial teaching duties at Stanford; theoretical physics in America in 1934; distinctions between Europe and America on theory vs. experiment; seminars with J. Robert Oppenheimer; first interest in experimental work; early research on neutrons; recollections of 1935 Michigan Summer School; started Stanford Summer School in 1936 with George Gamow as first visitor (Fermi 1937, Isidor Isaac Rabi 1938, Victor F. Weisskopf 1939); origin of idea of neutron polarization; 1936 paper proposing neutron magnetic moment experiment; 1937 Galvani Conference in Bologna; use of Berkeley 37-inch cyclotron for magnetic moment experiment; decision to build cyclotron at Stanford; construction supported by Rockefeller Foundation; initial involvement with Manhattan Project; recollections of receiving news of fission; neutron work for Manhattan Project at Stanford; marriage in 1940; work on implosion at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory; reasons for leaving Los Alamos; work on radar at Harvard University; first ideas on measuring nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR); helpfulness of radar experience in NMR work; William W. Hansen and the klystron; fate of the first Stanford cyclotron; knowledge of Edward M. Purcell's work on NMR; publication of initial results, 1946-1948; Rabi and Polykarp Kusch's work on molecular beams; development of NMR field; Nobel Prize award; association with CERN, 1954; contributions of greatest impact.
Family background; early interest in mathematics; physics at University of Manchester; Ernest Rutherford's influence; early research under Rutherford at Manchester; examination by Joseph J. Thomson for degree; recollections of associates at Manchester, including Niels Bohr; scholarship to Universität Berlin and work there with Hans Geiger; internment during World War I; scientific work at internment camp; return to Manchester; move with Rutherford to University of Cambridge; appointment as Assistant Director of Research at Cavendish Laboratory (ca. 1923); work with Rutherford on artificial disintegration; Rutherford's idea of the neutron; early experimental search for neutron; duties and experiences at the Cavendish Laboratory from 1919 to 1936; Rutherford's personality; Solvay conference of 1933; reasons for leaving Cambridge for University of Liverpool; initial plans, personnel and activities at Liverpool; cyclotron; award of Nobel Prize; encounter with Joliots, also in Stockholm for Prize in chemistry; influx of refugee theoreticians; work on the meson; changes effected by large machines; recollections of announcement of fission; World War II work; involvement with A-bomb project, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and General Leslie Groves; postwar considerations regarding international control of atomic energy; effect of Rutherford's death on Cavendish; return to Cambridge as Master of Gonville and Caius College; circumstances of resignation as Master; appraisal of personal satisfactions. Also prominently mentioned are: H. K. Anderson, John Anderson, Homi Bhabha, Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Albert Einstein, Charles D. Ellis, Walter M. Elsasser, Ralph Howard Fowler, Maurice Goldhaber, Otto Hahn, Walter Heitler, J. R. Holt, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Douglas Lea, Lise Meitner, Stefan Meyer, Henry N. Moseley, Walther Nernst, Giuseppe Occhialini, Mark Oliphant, Maurice H. L. Pryce, Stanley Rolands, Heinrich Rubens, Joseph John Thomson, Merle Antony Tuve, Walke, H. C. Webster, Charles Thomson Rees Wilson; Department of Scientific and Industrial Research of Great Britain, Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Ministry of Aircraft Uranium Development Committee (Great Britain), Physikalische-Technische Reichsanstalt, Royal Society (Great Britain), University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge Cavendish Physical Society, and University of Liverpool.
Three years of preparation which led up to achievement, with Ernest T. S. Walton in 1932, of the first artificial transmutation of elements by accelerated protons, and the joyous reactions of his colleagues at the Cavendish Laboratory. With a three month grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, in 1933 visits with Robert Van de Graaff in Boston, Merle Tuve in Washington, Charles Lauritsen in Pasadena and Ernest O. Lawrence in Berkeley. In 1937, on his second American trip, noticed that the "sealing wax and string" at University of California at Berkeley had been replaced by engineering. Effect of influx of German refugee physicists. Rutherford's attitude toward a cyclotron at Cavendish because of Marcus Oliphant's low voltage ion source. Need for higher voltages and benefaction of a quarter million pounds from Lord Austin. Rutherford's complete control of Laboratory, the changing role of Cavendish over time; impact of the discovery of fission in England; effects of the war on nuclear physics and the differences in postwar planning and funding of research. Also prominently mentioned are: Niels Henrik David Bohr, James Chadwick, Ralph Howard Fowler, Petr Kapitsa; Cavendish Laboratory, European Council of Nuclear Research, Dept. of Physics at University of California Berkeley, and University of Oxford.
In this interview, Edward Uhler Condon discusses topics such as: his family background; early education; influence of high school physics teacher, William Howell Williams, 1914-1918, and later teacher at University of California, Berkeley; interval as boy reporter. Undergraduate years at Berkeley, beginning in 1921 in chemistry department; Ph.D. in physics, 1926; association with Fred Weinberg. Discovery of Erwin Schrödinger's wave mechanics papers; International Education Board fellowship to study quantum mechanics at Göttingen, 1926. Work on Bell Systems technical journal for six months before accepting lectureship at Columbia University; teaching post at Princeton University; Condon and Philip Morse's Quantum Mechanics, result of Columbia and Princeton courses. Relations with University of California; role in persuading Ernest Lawrence to go to Berkeley from Yale University. Recollections of Michigan summer school. Work at Westinghouse on applications of nuclear physics to industry, including completion of Van de Graaff machine, 1937-1940; setting up Westinghouse research fellowships, 1938; Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference on applications of nuclear physics, October 1940; war work on microwave radar. J. Robert Oppenheimer asks Condon to come to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory; tour of Los Alamos with Leslie Groves; reasons for leaving Los Alamos after a few weeks. Work as head of theoretical section of Lawrence's laboratory, August 1943-1945; British scientists. Evaluation of Westinghouse's four million-volt machine. Description of Nimitron, a physical computer, designed for 1939 World's Fair. Discussion of 1928 radioactivity. Reminiscences of Ronald Gurney's later career and his trouble with security. Discussion of postwar events, such as the Quebec Conference, McMahon Act, Moran's book about Winston Churchill. Peacetime development of atomic energy; establishment of the Senate's Special Committee on atomic energy. Directorship of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), 1945-1951. Work on superconductivity; W. Emmanuel Maxwell and John Pelham. Accomplishments at NBS. Hearings in 1948 and 1952 before the Department of Commerce under Truman's loyalty program; Averell Harriman. Director of Research at Corning, 1951. House Un-American Activities Committee hearing, 1954; J. R. Oppenheimer and Bernard Peters; reopening of clearances, loss of Corning position; becomes Corning consultant. Head of Washington University physics department, 1956-1963; Oberlin College, 1962; interest in modernizing teaching; Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), from 1963; editor of Reviews of Modern Physics, 1957-1968; establishment of the National Accelerator Laboratory (Chicago); the UFO story. Comments on his most satisfying and his least satisfying work. Also prominently mentioned are: Raymond T. Birge and Henry Wallace.