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Edgar Buckingham papers, 1889-1938.

Description of Collection


American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives.

Papers created by

Buckingham, Edgar, 1867-1940.

Size of collection

2.75 linear feet
1 manuscript box,
1 half manuscript box,
2 records boxes

Short description of collection

Papers of physicists Edgar Buckingham.

Language(s) of collection


Collection number:


Biographical Note

Physicist (thermodynamics, fluid dynamics). On the faculty in physics and physical chemistry, Bryn Mawr College, 1893-1899; assistant physicist, Bureau of Soils, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1902-1906; and physicist with the Bureau of Standards, 1906-1940. The majority of Buckingham's papers are held at the archives of the National Bureau of Standards.

Scope and Contents of Collection

Lecture and instructional notes; manuscripts; laboratory notebooks; reprints; correspondence. Lecture and instructional notes (1896-1918) concentrating on fluid and thermodynamics and dimensional analysis. Unfinished manuscripts and notes for unpublished papers and books on the subjects of vector analysis and fluid, and thermodynamics. Laboratory notebooks (1889-1938) recording the research of Buckingham in fluid and thermodynamics from his years as a student at Strassburg University to a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C. Reprints (1894-1936) of articles written by Buckingham throughout his career. Correspondence (1932-1939) concerning publication matters and a critical discussion with Percy W. Bridgman over Bridgman's book, DIMENSIONAL ANALYSIS. Correspondents include: Percy W. Bridgman, Guy Chadwick, and James Swinburne.

Restrictions on Use and Access

Researchers must have an approved access application on file in order to access archival materials.

Selected Search Terms

These papers have been indexed in the International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences (ICOS) using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.


Bridgman, P. W. (Percy Williams), 1882-1961.
Buckingham, Edgar, 1867-1940.
Chadwick, Guy.
Swinburne, James.


Strassburg University.
United States. National Bureau of Standards
Université de Strasbourg.

Subject terms

Dimensional analysis.
Fluid dynamics.
Vector analysis.

Organization and Arrangement of Collection

This collection is organized into four series:

  • Series I: Notebooks
  • Series II: Lecture notes
  • Series III: Published articles
  • Series IV: Miscellaneous

Each series is arranged chronologically.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lara D'Agaro in 2009.

Preferred Citation of Collection

Box [number], Folder [number], Edgar Buckingham papers, . American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, College Park, MD 20740, USA.

Administrative Information


Finding Aid to the Edgar Buckingham papers, 1889-1938.


American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library & Archives

One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740


Encoding Information

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Melanie J. Brown in 2009. Any revisions made to this finding aid occurred as part of the editing and encoding process.

Series I: Notebooks

Box 1 Folder 1 Notebook I: various observations, 1889
Folder 2 Notebook II: various observations, 1889
Folder 3 Notebook III: various observations, 1890
Folder 4 Notebook IV: miscellaneous observations, 1890-1894
Folder 5 Notebook VI: chemistry, November 1890
Folder 6 Notebook VII: work on alloys, 1891
Folder 7 Notebook IX: experiments on freezing mixture of different substances to find the composition of ice, January 1891
Folder 8 Notebook XI: resume of various results, January 1890
Folder 9 Notebook XII, October 1892
Folder 10 Notebook XIII, Winter 1892-1893
Folder 11 Notebook XIV: fluorescence of quinine sulfate, Winter 1892-1893
Box 2 Folder 1 Notebook XV: experiments on the fluorescence of quinine salts, Summer 1893
Folder 2 Notebook XVI, April-June 1893
Folder 3 Notebook XVII, June-December 1893
Folder 4 Notebook XVIII: laboratory notes, December 1894-March 1902
Folder 5 Notebook, 1915
Box 3 Folder 1 Notes, 1920-1921
Folder 2 Notes, July 1921-June 1926
Folder 3 Notes, September 1926-June 1938

Series II: Lecture notes

Box 3 Folder 4 Thermodynamics I, 1908-1909
Folder 5 Thermodynamics II, 1908-1909
Folder 6 Thermodynamics III, 1908-1909
Folder 7 Thermodynamics IV, 1908-1909
Folder 8 Thermodynamics V, 1908-1909
Folder 9 Thermodynamics VI, 1908-1909
Folder 10 Advanced physical chemistry, September 28-October 8, 1909
Folder 11 Second law of thermodynamics, March 1910
Folder 12 Steam turbines and On the reheat factor, November 9, 1910 and March 31, 1911
Folder 13 Technical thermodynamics I: elements, application to turbines, 1910-1911
Folder 14 Technical thermodynamics II: graphical representations, the second law and entropy, 1910-1911
Folder 15 Technical thermodynamics III: gas machines, properties of vapors and refrigeration, 1910-1911
Folder 16 Technical thermodynamics IV: steam turbines, 1910-1911
Folder 17 On the computation of C2 in Planck’s equation, May 1911
Folder 18 Radiation laws, December 11, 1911 and December 18, 1911
Folder 19 Flight of projectiles, February 1912
Folder 20 Dynamical similarity, October 1912
Folder 21 Thermodynamics I: elements of theory for fluids, 1912-1913
Folder 22 Thermodynamics II: reciprocating motors, 1912-1913
Folder 23 Thermodynamics III: refrigeration, 1912-1913
Folder 24 Thermodynamics IV: equations of state and deductions from van der Waals, 1912-1913
Folder 25 Thermodynamics V: radiation, 1912-1913
Folder 26 Thermodynamics VI: radiation, 1912-1913
Folder 27 Thermodynamics VII: general principles, 1912-1913
Folder 28 Thermodynamics VIII: refrigeration, 1912-1913
Folder 29 Thermodynamics II: elements of theory, 1912-1913
Folder 30 Thermodynamics III: elements of theory, 1912-1913
Folder 31 Thermodynamics IV: compressors, 1912-1913
Folder 32 Thermodynamics V: internal combustion engines, 1912-1913
Folder 33 Thermodynamics VI: diesel engines, 1912-1913
Folder 34 Thermodynamics VII: refrigeration, 1912-1913
Folder 35 Thermodynamics IX: flow of ideal gases of steam through orifices and nozzles, 1912-1913
Folder 36 Thermodynamics X, 1912-1913
Folder 37 Dynamical similarity, 1912-1913
Folder 38 Refrigeration investigations, March 1913
Folder 39 Notes on some European Laboratories, December 1913
Folder 40 Principles of refrigeration, 1913
Folder 41 Notes on dimensions, May 1914
Folder 42 The theory of dimensions, December 1914
Folder 43 The theory of efflux viscometers, February 1916
Folder 44 General principles of thermodynamics, November 20-December 11, 1916
Folder 45 Thermodynamics, October 1917-February 1918
Folder 46 Submarine detection, June 1918
Folder 47 Miscellanea on war work, June 1918
Folder 48 Signaling, June 1918
Folder 49 Accuracy of naval gun fire, July 1918
Folder 50 Work at Bureau of Standards on aero-motors and radiators, July 1918
Folder 51 Subterranean sound racing, microseismometry, July 1918
Folder 52 Sound racing: fonotelemetria, July 1918
Folder 53 Sound racing: fonotelemetria: B.S.T.M. records, July 1918
Folder 54 Wireless telephony, July 1918
Folder 55 National Physical Laboratory, notes on visit, August 1918
Folder 56 Istituto Centrale Aeronautica, September 1918
Folder 57 Notes on weekly meetings of the Ufficio Invenz et Richerche, September 1918
Folder 58 Laboratorio di Precisione d’Artigleria, September 5-October 21, 1918
Folder 59 Rinaldi’s aero-torpedo, September 1918
Folder 60 Miscellanea and personal notes, Summer 1918
Folder 61 Theory of dimensions, April 19-May 17, 1920
Folder 62 Hydraulics, January 1923
Folder 63 Dimensions and models, February-March 1923
Folder 64 Metering natural gas, November 1924
Folder 65 Elements of electrostatics and magnetism, August 11-September 24, 1927
Folder 66 Talk to division III, February 1937
Folder 67 Thermodynamic Formulae, undated
Folder 68 Bomb-sights, stabilizers, undated

Series III: Published articles

Box 4 Folder 1 “Uber einige Fluoreszenzerscheinungen”, 1894
Folder 2 “On the establishment of the thermodynamic scale of temperature by means of the constant-pressure thermometer,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, February 1907
Folder 3 “The thermodynamic corrections of the nitrogen scale,” Philosophical Magazine, April 1908
Folder 4 “The theory of the Hampson Liquefier,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, May 1909
Folder 5 “The steam-turbine expansion line on the Mollier Diagram, and a short method of finding the reheat factor,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, March 1911
Folder 6 “On the computation of the constant C2 of Planck’s Equation by an extension of Paschen’s Method of equal ordinates,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, April 1911
Folder 7 “On the deduction of Wien’s Displacement Law,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, April 1912
Folder 8 “Windage resistance of steam-turbine wheels,” Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, July 1913
Folder 9 “On physically similar systems; illustrations of the use of dimensional equations,” The Physical Review, October 1914
Folder 10 “Model experiments and the forms of empirical equations,” paper presented at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, June 1915
Folder 11 “Notes on the dimensional theory of wind tunnel experiments,” Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, January 1916
Folder 12 “On the use of models in investigating the resistance of ship structures to external explosions,” Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, May 1921
Folder 13 “Notes on the method of dimensions,” Philosophical Magazine, November 1921
Folder 14 “On plastic flow through capillary tubes,” Proceedings of the American Society for Testing Materials, 1921
Folder 15 “Discharge coefficients of square-edged orifices for measuring the flow of air,” Bureau of Standards Journal of Research, March 1929
Folder 16 “Notes on the orifice meter: the expansion factor for gases,” Bureau of Standards Journal of Research, July 1932
Folder 17 “Dimensional analysis of model propeller tests,” Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, May 1936

Series IV: Miscellaneous

Box 4 Folder 18 Graduate thermodynamics, 1896-1897
Folder 19 Graduate thermodynamics: physical-chemical applications, 1896-1898
Folder 20 Graduate thermodynamics: physical applications, 1896-1898
Folder 21 Graduate thermodynamics, 1896-1898
Folder 22 Graduate thermodynamics: synopsis, 1897-1898
Folder 23 Gas engine testing, 1899
Folder 24 Thermodynamics: Boyle’s Law, 1901-1902
Folder 25 Thermodynamics: Chapters I-IX, 1904-1905
Folder 26 Thermodynamics: Chapters X-XII, 1904-1905
Folder 27 Thermodynamics: Chapters XIII, thermodynamic properties of fluids, 1904-1905
Folder 28 Thermodynamics: radiation laws, 1904-1905
Folder 29 Thermodynamics: solutions, 1904-1905
Folder 30 Phase Rule, notes on the , 1904-1905, 1908-1909
Folder 31 The reversibility of thermodynamics by James Swinburne, 1905
Folder 32 Reactions in ideal gas mixtures, 1905-1909
Folder 33 Thermodynamics, 1908-1909
Folder 34 Manuscript for book on thermodynamics, 1910-1912
Folder 35 Thermodynamics formulas, 1914
Folder 36 Joukowski’s Circulation Theorem, notes on, 1923-1924, 1934-1935
Folder 37 Bridgeman’s Dimensional Analysis, notes on, 2nd edition and correspondence, 1932-1939
Folder 38 Bernoulli’s Theorem, notes on, 1934-1935
Folder 39 Vector analysis, 1934, 1939
Folder 40 Circulation theorem, 1935
Folder 41 Thermodynamic surfaces and D. Berthelot on equations of state , undated
Folder 42 Calorimetry of saturated fluids by E. Mathias, undated