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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bhattacharya Pranab Kumar 's Name in American Philosophical Society in John Clarke Slater Papers 81.0 Linear feetMss.B.SL2p http://www.amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead%2FMss.B.SL2p-ead.xml in Quantum science [ see detailed inventory series -1 inventory]

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Abstract
After receiving his doctorate from Harvard in 1923, the physicist John Clarke Slater did postgraduate work at Cambridge University and on the continent working n quantum theory with both Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg. Slater was appointed to the head of the department of physics at MIT in 1930, which he and Karl Compton worked effectively to transform into one of international stature. His own work on the electromagnetic theory of microwaves was fundamental to the development of radar systems. During the Second World War, he was affiliated with the radiation laboratory and after he helped found the solid state and molecular theory group, the interdisciplinary Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. After his retirement from MIT in 1966, Slater moved to the University of Florida, remaining active until his death in 1976.

The Slater Papers contains a wealth of information on the development of physics at MIT, as well as Slater's post-1966 work at the University of Florida. There are about 133 (7 linear ft.) research notebooks, 1944-1976, and a long series (30 linear ft.) of folders, containing lectures, scientific notes, drafts of manuscripts and papers, correspondence during his collaboration with the Los Alamos Labs, 1966-1970, and extensive correspondence relating to the National Academy of Science. Information about American-Swedish exchange in quantum science is located in the correspondence with Per-Olov Löwdin.
Background note
Naturally inclined to interdisciplinarity, John Clarke Slater was an important proponent of quantum theory, a pioneer in the electromagnetic theory of microwaves, an early materials scientist, and a significant player in the 20th century development of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raised in an academic family in Rochester, NY, Slater had earned degrees in physics at Rochester (AB 1920) and Harvard (PhD 1923) before the age of 24. After receiving his doctorate, he entered into one of the most productive periods of his research career, studying as a Sheldon Fellow at Cambridge and Copenhagen, the latter under Niels Bohr, during which time he whetted his appetite for quantum theory while working on the quantum mechanics of the chemical bond. At this early point in his career, Slater developed what would become his personal approach to physics using quantum theory to integrate the theoretical and practical applications in the study of atoms, molecules, and solids.
After his return from Europe, Slater spent a few years in contented academic vagabondage, employed as an instructor at Harvard, but spending time at Stanford (summer, 1926) and Chicago (1928), until once again earning passage to Europe. As a Guggenheim fellow, he continued his studies in quantum theory under Werner Heisenberg until receiving the call to MIT. In 1930, the newly appointed president of MIT, Karl T. Compton, hired Slater to head the Department of Physics, and over the next decade, the two together helped to assemble a department of international repute. Identifying key areas of interests in physics and luring such talented persons to the university as George Harrison in spectroscopy, Robley Evans in radioactivity, and Robert J. van de Graaf in nuclear physics, Slater helped to guide a remarkable expansion of the department during the height of the Great Depression. During this period, his own research into the electromagnetic theory of microwaves, conducted with colleagues Julius Stratton and Nathaniel Frank, helped establish the theoretical basis for the development of radar. During the Second World War, Slater worked at the famed radiation laboratory at MIT, developing improvements in radar and the magnetron.
Slater served as chair of the Department of Physics until 1952, when he was appointed MIT's first Institute Professor and Harry B. Higgins chair, allowing him even greater latitude in pressing his interdisciplinary agenda. After a year spent at Brookhaven Laboratories, he returned to MIT to help establish the renowned group in solid state and molecular theory and the interdisciplinary Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. The new perspectives on materials science emanating from these groups was instrumental in the development of the transistor, in part through the doctoral work of one of Slater's best known students, William Shockley.
After Slater retired from MIT in 1966, he was hired by the University of Florida as Graduate Research Professor of Physics and Chemistry, remaining active at both institutions until his death in 1976. Slater's voluminous publications include several key works in shaping the several fields in which worked, including Chemical Physics(1939), Microwave Electronics (1950), Quantum Theory of Matter (1951), Quantum Theory of Atomic Structure (1960) and Quantum Theory of Molecules and Solids (1963-1966). Among his students were two Nobel laureates, Richard Feynmann and William Shockley.
Scope and content
The Slater Papers contains the voluminous correspondence and research notes (81 linear feet) of physicist John Clarke Slater. It is a quintessentially 20th century collection, focused not only on the demands of research on the individual scientist, but on the institutions with which he was affiliated and the sets of relationships that define the practice of modern physics.
Concentrated in the period from 1935 through the end of his career in the early 1970s, the Slater Papers provide significant documentation for the development of the Department of Physics at MIT during the 1930s through early 1950s, the Department of Physics at the University of Florida during the late 1960s, and on quantum theory, the electromagnetic theory of microwaves, and the development of materials science and solid state physics during the 1950s. His work at Los Alamos, correspondence with the National Academy of Sciences, and his participation in the Sanibel Island Conferences late in his career are also well documented.
Although sparser, some materials have survived from Slater's early career, including his notes on a course in wave mechanics at Harvard, 1927, however his connections with Bohr, Born, Ehrenfest, Einstein, Heisenberg, and Sommerfeld are typically represented by only one or two items. His various publications comprise a significantly greater part of the collection. In addition to a copy of his autobiography, A Physicist of the Lucky Generation, there are 34 typescript drafts of his multivolume Quantum Theory of Molecules and Solids, 9 copies of Solid State and Molecular Theory, and drafts of more than 100 articles.
The collection is arranged in five series:
Series I. Correspondence1908-197645 linear feet
Series II. Notes and bound volumes1926-197029 linear feet
Series III. Card filesn.d.3 linear feet
Series IV. Drawingsn.d.0.5 linear feet
Series V. MIT. Solid State and Molecular Theory Group Quarterly Progress Reports1951-19702 linear feet
Collection information

Provenance

The Slater Papers were donated to the APS Library by Rose Mooney Slater in 1980 and 1982. (98-1037ms)
Series V (Quarterly Reports of the MIT Solid State and Molecular Theory Group) was donated in August 2003 by Alfred Switendick (acc. no. 2003-31ms).

Preferred citation

Cite as: John Clarke Slater Papers, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Cataloged by Miriam B. Spectre, September, 1993; Scott DeHaven, November, 1999.

Separated material

Photographs have been removed for storage to the Photographs Division (call no. x.567-x.578).

Bibliography

Murphy D. Smith, "The John Slater Papers at the American Philosophical Society," Center for History of Physics Newsletter 13, 2 (1981): 3.

Physiology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics Note

Scholars of physiology, biochemistry, or biophysics may find the following of interest:
AuthorFormatDateLanguage
Tiselius, Arne, 1902-1971Correspondence (1 item)1956English
Wyckoff, Ralph W. G. (Ralph Walter Graystone), 1897-1995Correspondence (2 items)1957English

General note

Following his retirement from MIT, some of Slater's papers were damaged during transport from Massachusetts to Florida. The van carrying the collection crashed and caught fire, and as a result, the collection sustained fire and water damage. Some material was lost in the ensuing confusion, however it is impossible to know what.
Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Cambridge University
  • Harvard University. Museum of Comparative Zoology.
  • Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
  • National Academy of Sciences. (U.S.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Allen, Leland C.
  • Ballard, Stanley S.
  • Barnett, Michael P.
  • Bohr, Niels Henrik David, 1885-1962
  • Boring, A. Michael
  • Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974
  • Clark, W. Mansfield (William Mansfield), 1884-1964
  • Clementi, Enrico
  • Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962
  • Compton, K. T., (Karl Taylor), 1887-1954
  • Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974
  • Connolly, John W. D.
  • Coulson, C. A., (Charles Alfred), 1910-1974
  • Darrow, Karl K., (Karl Kelchner), 1891-1982
  • Debye, Peter J. W., (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966
  • Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954
  • Frank, Nathaniel Herman, 1903-1984
  • Grimaldi, Francois
  • Harrison, George Russell, 1898-1979
  • Hartree, Douglas R., (Douglas Rayner), 1897-1958
  • Herman, Frank
  • Hove, L. van (Leon)
  • Howarth, D. J.
  • Jaeger, Zeev
  • Johnson, Keith H.
  • Koster, George F.
  • Loucks, T. L. (Terry L.)
  • Löwdin, Per Olov, 1916-2000
  • Manning, Millard
  • Mattheiss, Leonard F.
  • Morse, Philip M., (Philip McCord), 1903-1985
  • Mulliken, Robert Sanderson, 1896-1986
  • Nesbit, Robert K.
  • Norton, C. L.
  • Nottingham, Wayne B. (Wayne Buckles), 1899-
  • Parr, Robert G., 1921-
  • Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994
  • Pegram, George B.
  • Pepinsky, Ray, 1912-
  • Ransil, Bernard J., (Bernard Jerome), 1929-
  • Roothaan, C. C. J.
  • Segall, Benjamin
  • Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972
  • Shockley, William, 1910-
  • Slater, John C., (John Clarke), 1900-1976
  • Slater, John Rothwell, b. 1872
  • Smith, Darwin W.
  • Smith, Robert Allan
  • Stratton, Julius Adams, 1901-
  • Stratton, Samuel Wesley, 1861-1931
  • Swann, W. F. G., (William Francis Gray), 1884-1962
  • Szent-Gyorgyi, Albert, 1893-1986
  • Tate, John Torrence, 1925-
  • Teller, Edward, 1908-2003
  • Ufford, Charles Wilbur, 1900-
  • Vallarta, Manuel Sandoval
  • Van Vleck, J. H., (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980
  • Waals, J. D. van der (Johannes Diderik), 1837-1923
  • Waber, James T. (James Thomas), 1920-
  • Waerden, B. L. van der, (Bartel Leendert), 1903-1996
  • Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008
  • Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995
  • Wilson, Edwin Bidwell, 1879-1964
  • Zacharias, Zerrod R.

Subject(s)

  • Physics--20th century
  • Physics--Study and teaching--20th century
  • Quantum theory
  • University of Florida. Department of Physics
Collection overview
Series I. Correspondence1908-201245 lin. feetBox 1-89
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Series I. Correspondence
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