Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Creator:
Princeton University. Dept. of Physics.
Title:
Physics Department Records
Repository:
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/xs55mc05f
Dates:
1909-2015
Size:
36 boxes and 1 websites
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-36
Language:
English

Abstract

The records of the Physics Department document the scientific and teaching activities of Princeton University physicists from 1909 to 1962. While routine activities such as the hiring of faculty and the education of graduate and undergraduate students are recorded, these records also detail the Department's activities in early studies of theoretical physics, as well as its participation in World War II research activities. There is also a small amount of material that documents Milton White's efforts toward builing the cyclotron (1936).

Collection Description & Creator Information

Description:

Documents the scientific and teaching activities of Princeton University physicists from 1909 to 1962. While routine activities such as the hiring of faculty and the education of graduate and undergraduate students are recorded, these records also detail the Department's activities in early studies of theoretical physics, as well as its participation in World War II research activities. There is also a small amount of material that documents Milton White's efforts toward builing the cyclotron (1936).

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Dept. of Physics.

This collection contains documents dating from 1909, when the Physics Department was associated with the Engineering School, although the study of physics at Princeton University can be traced to the arrival of Professor of Natural Philosophy Joseph Henry in 1832. Under the leadership of Chairman William F. Magie (1908-1929), the Department gained independence from the Engineering School and increased its faculty to include noted professors such as Henry D. Smyth, Allen G. Shenstone, and Louis A. Turner. The Department became an international center for theoretical physics when Eugene P. Wigner and John von Neumann joined the faculty and when the University's association with the Institute for Advanced Study began in 1930. During the 1930s, the Department began to conduct research in the field of nuclear physics under Milton G. White and convinced the University to build a cyclotron in Palmer Laboratory. During World War II, most of the Physics Department faculty engaged in the war effort by joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Radiation Laboratory, becoming involved in the top-secret development of the atomic bomb, and teaching physics to servicemen who trained in Princeton. With the Nazi persecutions in Europe, eminent physicists such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Rudolf Ladenburg immigrated to the United States and became members of the Institute for Advanced Study, where they maintained close ties with Princeton's Physics Department. During the post-war years, the Department turned its attention back to theoretical physics and continued to expand its research with the help of generous government grants.

Collection History

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Meghan Glass and Gena Bursin in 2001. Finding aid written by Meghan Glass and Gena Bursin in 2001. Series 5 was added and the finding aid updated by Christie Peterson in June 2012.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. If copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers will not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with non-commercial use of materials from the Mudd Library. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.

Other Finding Aids:

Full text searching of the Physics Department archived website is available through the Archive-It interface.

Credit this material:

Physics Department Records; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/xs55mc05f
Location:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345