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Born in Russia 1921, moved to New York 1922; Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (physics); Purdue University (Ph.D.), 1942- 1949; works teaching military students, 1943-1945; cyclotron and beta ray spectroscopy projects (related to Manhattan Project); Karl Lark-Horovitz as blanket-adviser; semiconductor project with Ron Smith; spreading resistance measurements; Edward Teller, John Bardeen, William Shockley; the self-transistor effect (Bell Laboratories); third electrode work by Seymour Benzer, 1949; semiconductor project; comments on Lark-Horovitz. Also prominently mentioned are: Joseph A. Becker, Walter Houser Brattain, Bill Fan, Arthur Ginsburg, Vivian Annabelle Johnson, Bernard Kurrelmeyer, Robert Green Sachs, Isidor Walerstein, Hubert J. Yearian; American Physical Society, Brooklyn College, Manhattan Project, and United States Army Signal Corps. Interview conducted as part of the International Project in the History of Solid State Physics.
Born in Oregon 1912, entered Purdue University, 1932, studying solid state physics, teaching assistant work with Lothar Nordheim on crystal structure, 1937; Ph.D. thesis, 1937 (published 1940); physics department under Karl Lark-Horovitz grows in the 1930s, visiting lecturers (refugees from Germany and Europe: Lothar Nordheim, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner). First cyclotron (homemade), 1935. War work: basic research in germanium, rectification of crystals (Bethe), close connections with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania; Lark-Horovitz chose solid state physics as less sensitive field with respect to clearance; showed silicon-germanium intrinsic semiconductors, 1942; General Electric’s germanium interest; success interpreting resistivity and thermoelectric behavior in germanium, 1944. American Physical Society meeting intense interest in Purdue presentations, January 1946; the transistor, 1948 (William Shockley, Ralph Bray); how to grow germanium crystals, 1949; Esther Conwell’s thesis (Victor Weisskopf). Also prominently mentioned are: John Backus, Seymour Benzer, Hubert Maxwell James, A. A. Knowlton, K. W. Meissner, E. P. Miller, Ronald Smith, Herbert J. Yearian; and Purdue University Department of Physics.
Founding of the school of physics, Università di Roma, role of Orso Mario Corbino and others in recruiting young physicists; the decision to work on nuclear physics; financial support for and public knowledge of work at the university; contacts with other laboratories in Europe and the U.S.; available technology in Rome, ca. 1930; journal literature; visitors to Rome; circumstances of move to Università di Palermo, 1936; work and facilities in Palermo; early failures of physicists to recognize fission; early uses of cyclotron; mathematics and nuclear physics in 1930s; models of the nucleus and experimental work; circumstances of move to University of California at Berkeley, 1938; experiment and theory in nuclear physics at Berkeley; work on radiochemistry; alteration of half-lives of beta-radioactive substances; detection equipment; effect of work at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory on nuclear physics; significance of nucleon-nucleon scattering experiments; entry into nuclear physics of students trained in technology during World War II; beginnings of high-energy physics; experimental physics and particle accelerators; fashions in physics; discovery of the antiproton; work considered personally satisfying. Also prominently mentioned are: Edoardo Amaldi, Felix Bloch, Niels Henrik David Bohr, Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, Michael Faraday, Otto Robert Frisch, Guglielmo, Georg von Hevesy, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Tullio Levi-Cività, Lo Surdo, Ettore Majorana, Lise Meitner, Ida Noddack, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Carlo Perrier, Franco D. Rasetti, Ernest Rutherford, Glenn Seaborg, Elfriede Segrè, V. Volterra, Chien-Shiung Wu, Hideki Yukawa; Columbia University, and Purdue University.