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The interview ranges from Inglis’ youth and family origins to his current (1977) activities. Topics include his student days (Amherst College 1924-28, Ann Arbor 1928-31), contact with European physicists and rising Nazism (1932-13), the physics departments at Ohio State, University of Pittsburgh, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins in the 1930’s, and the last of these in the 1940’s; atomic spectroscopy, ferromagnetism, uses of the vector model, shift from atomic to nuclear spectroscopy, the Thomas precession and spin-orbit coupling in nuclei, shell and droplet models for nuclei, intermediate coupling model for light nuclei, the earth’s magnetic field, wind-dynamos and nuclear reactors; Los Alamos during World War II, Argonne Laboratory in the 1950’s and 60’s; expression of social concern, especially in relation to the nuclear arms race, in the 1950’s through the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the political victimization of Donald Flanders, the Federation of American Scientists, congressional testimony concerning Lewis Strauss’ (nominee for Sec. of Commerce) experiences at Pugwash Conferences, obstacles to slowing or reversing the arms race.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives for the History of Quantum Physics project, which includes tapes and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with ca. 100 atomic and quantum physicists. Subjects discuss their family backgrounds, how they became interested in physics, their educations, people who influenced them, their careers including social influences on the conditions of research, and the state of atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics during the period in which they worked. Discussions of scientific matters relate to work that was done between approximately 1900 and 1930, with an emphasis on the discovery and interpretations of quantum mechanics in the 1920s. Also prominently mentioned are: Max Born, Leon Brillouin, Dirk Coster, Peter Josef William Debye, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, William Vermillian Houston, Max Theodor Felix von Laue, Wolfgang Pauli, Erwin Schrödinger, H. Seeliger, Arnold Sommerfeld, Johannes Stark, Wilhelm Wien; Universität Leipzig, Universität München, and Universität Zurich.