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Born July 19, 1915 in Cleveland, OH; family background and early childhood growing up in Cleveland; early interest in acoustics, the flute, electronics, and radio; graduated from high school in 1933; attended Case Institute of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in physics in 1937; moved to University of Illinois for graduate school, specialized in nuclear physics research (also maintained abiding interest in acoustics); thesis research on nuclear cross sections classified by wartime Manhattan Project; completed Ph.D. in 1941; awarded Westinghouse Research Fellowship in 1941 to work on wartime microwave electronics at corporate laboratories in Pittsburgh; collaborated with researchers at MIT Radiation Laboratory; concentrated on development of magnetrons and other high-power electron tubes; accepted full time position at Westinghouse in 1944; developed x-ray image amplifier, major innovation for medical fluoroscopy; transitioned into management positions initially overseeing electronics projects (and some nuclear physics work); graduatlly moved into senior management positions focusing on research strategy and policy; retired in 1980; continued work in acoustics field.
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.