Biography and History

Valentine Bargmann (1908-1989) was born in Berlin, Germany, on April 8, 1908. He began studying at the University of Berlin but moved to Zurich in order to escape Nazi oppression. He completed his doctorate at the University of Zurich in 1936. Wishing to flee Europe and the growing spectre of Nazism, Bargmann received help from another German refugee, Albert Einstein, who sponsored his move to the United States. Bargmann arrived at Princeton University in 1937 and began working as Einstein's assistant at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1943, Bargmann began working with John von Neumann, a member of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, on war-related research projects. His collaboration with von Neumann ultimately led to advances in computer technology. In 1946, Bargmann was appointed visiting lecturer in physics at Princeton. He joined the Princeton faculty as an associate professor of mathematical physics in 1948 and was promoted to full professor in 1957. As a professor, Bargmann wrote often about the quantum theory and the theory of relativity. He published in many of the leading mathematics and physics journals of the time. He eventually retired from teaching in 1976. After his retirement, he was awarded both the Wigner Medal and the Max Plank Medal for his contributions to group theory and quantum physics. One of the last projects Bargmann worked on was contributing to the planning and editing of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.

Source: From the finding aid for C0657

  • Valentine Bargmann Papers. 1908-1988 (inclusive), 1937-1979 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0657

    The Valentine Bargmann Papers consists of personal and professional correspondence, personal papers, awards, medals, lectures notes, drafts and published writings, and documents pertaining to the Einstein Papers Project. Valentine Bargmann was an assistant to Albert Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Study and later became a Princeton University professor of mathematical physics.