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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Norman Ramsey

Photo

Dates

August 27, 1915 – November 4, 2011

Authorized Form of Name

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Additional Forms of Names

Ramsey, Norman

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-

Ramsey, Norman F., 1915-

Ramsey, Norman Foster

Ramsey, Norman Foster, 1915-2011

Biography

Abstract

Physicist. Served as a member of the Radiation Laboratory from 1940-1943. Relocated to Los Alamos in 1943. Nobel Prize in Physics, 1989, for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks.

Important Dates

August 27, 1915Birth, Washington (D.C.).

1935Received A.B., Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1937Received A.B., University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1939 – 1940Carnegie Fellow, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

1940Received Ph.D., Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1940 – 1942Associate in Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

1940 – 1943Research Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory.

1941Received M.A., University of Cambridge, Cambridge (England).

1942 – 1945Expert Consultant to the Secretary of War, U.S. Department of War.

1942 – 1947Assistant Professor (1942-45) and Associate Professor of Physics (1945-47), Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1943 – 1945Group Leader and Associate Division Head at Los Alamos National Laboratory (1943-45) and Chief Scientist at Tinian Island (1945), Manhattan Project.

1946 – 1947Founding Head, Department of Physics, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

1947 – 2011Associate Professor (1947-50); Director of Nuclear Laboratory (1948-50; 1952); Professor (1950-66); Higgins Professor of Physics (1966-87); and Higgins Professor of Physics Emeritus (1987-2011), Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1948 – 1954Member, Scientific Advisory Board, U.S. Air Force.

1952Elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

1952 – 1955Member, Board of Trustees, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Associated Universities, Inc.

1953Received D.Sc., University of Cambridge.

1953 – 1954Guggenheim Fellow, University of Oxford.

1953 – 1958Member, Panel on Atomic Energy, U.S. Department of Defense.

1958 – 1959Assistant Secretary General for Science, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1960 – 1972Member (1960-72) and Temporary Chair (1968-69), General Advisory Committee, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

1963 – 1966Member, Board of Directors, Varian Associates.

1966 – 1981Founding President, Universities Research Association. Ramsey was involved in the founding of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory through this organization.

1973 – 1974Eastman Professor, University of Oxford.

1974Received the Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics of the American Physical Society (APS).

1977 – 1978Chair, Physics Section, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

1978President, American Physical Society (APS).

1980 – 1986Chair, Governing Board, American Institute of Physics (AIP).

1985Awarded Karl Taylor Compton Medal, American Institute of Physics (AIP).

1985 – 1988President, Phi Beta Kappa.

1986 – 1987Visiting Professor, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA), University of Colorado, Boulder.

1988Awarded National Medal of Science.

1988Visiting Professor, University of Chicago.

1989Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics "for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks.".

1989 – 1992Visiting Professor, University of Michigan.

November 4, 2011Death, Wayland (Mass.).

Occupation

Experimental physicist.

Places

Birth

Washington (D.C.)

Undergraduate Education

New York (N.Y.)

Cambridge (England)

Graduate Education

New York (N.Y.)

Cambridge (England)

Employment

New York (N.Y.)

Cambridge (Mass.)

Death

Wayland (Mass.)

Subjects

Accelerators.

Atomic bomb.

Atomic clocks.

Cyclotrons.

Hydrogen bomb.

Magnetic resonance.

Molecular beams.

Nuclear physics.

Radar.

World War, 1939-1945.

Relationships

People

Family

Ramsey, Elinor Jameson

First Wife, married in 1940. Died in 1983.

Ramsey, Minna Bauer

Mother.

Ramsey, Norman Foster

Father.

Welch, Ellie

Second wife.

Advisors & Collaborators

Berg, Howard C., 1934-

Advised by Ramsey at Harvard University on spin exchange and surface relaxation in the atomic hydrogen maser.

Chan, Sunney I.

Advised by Ramsey (post-doctoral) at Harvard University.

Hintz, Norton M.

Advised by Ramsey at Harvard University.

Kleppner, Daniel

Advised by Ramsey at Harvard University, "The Broken Atomic Beam Resonance Experiment" and both employed at Harvard University.

Nierenberg, William Aaron, 1919-2000

Advised by Ramsey at Columbia University, "The radiofrequency spectra of the sodium halides," and both employed at Columbia University.

Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988

Ph.D. advisor at Columbia University. Both employed at Columbia University.

Wineland, David J.

Advised by Ramsey at Harvard University, "The atomic deuterium maser."

Colleagues

Abelson, Philip Hauge

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Adler, Stephen L.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Almy, Gerald Marks, 1904-

Both employed at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988

Both employed at the Los Alamos Laboratory and Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Bainbridge, Kenneth T. (Kenneth Tompkins), 1904-1996

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project and Harvard University.

Birch, Francis, 1903-1992

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory and on Project Alberta, the Manhattan Project.

Bloembergen, N.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Booth, Eugene

Both employed at Columbia University.

Branscomb, Lewis M., 1926-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Bridgman, P. W. (Percy Williams), 1882-1961

Both employed at Harvard University.

Brillouin, Léon, 1889-1969

Both employed at Harvard University.

Brode, Robert B. (Robert Bigham), 1900-1986

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Brown, Harold, 1927-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Callan, Curtis G.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Coleman, Sidney, 1937-2007

Both employed at Harvard University.

Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978

Both employed at Harvard University.

Critchfield, Charles Louis, 1910-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Davis, Bergen, 1869-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Dunning, John R. (John Ray), 1907-1975

Both employed at Columbia University.

Fano, Ugo

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954

Both employed at Columbia University; Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project; and Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Foley, Henry Michael, 1917-1982

Both employed at Columbia University.

Furry, W. H. (Wendell Hinkle), 1907-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Gabrielse, Gerald

Both employed at Harvard University.

Gallagher, Thomas F., 1944-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Gates, S. James

Both employed at Harvard University.

Georgi, Howard

Both employed at Harvard University.

Glashow, Sheldon L.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Glauber, Roy J., 1925-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Goldhaber, Gertrude S. -1998

Both employed at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Goldhaber, Maurice, 1911-2011

Both employed at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Gross, David J. (David Jonathan)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Halperin, Bertrand I.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Haroche, S.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Hirschfelder, Joseph Oakland, 1911-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Hooft, G. 't

Both employed at Harvard University.

Horner, Kuper, J.B.

Both employed at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Huth, John Edward

Both employed at Harvard University.

Jackiw, Roman W.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Jaffe, Arthur, 1937-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Kemble, Edwin C. (Edwin Crawford), 1889-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Kerst, Donald William, 1911-1993

Both employed at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Kistiakowsky, George B. (George Bogdan), 1900-1982

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Kohn, Walter, 1923-2016

Both employed at Harvard University.

Kusch, Polykarp, 1911-1993

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lamb, Willis E. (Willis Eugene), 1913-2008

Both employed at Columbia University.

Leggett, A. J. (Anthony J.)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Lockridge, R. W.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Loomis, F. W. (Francis Wheeler), 1889-1976

Both employed at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Lyman, Theodore, 1874-1954

Both employed at Harvard University.

Maldacena, Juan Martin, 1968-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Martin, Paul Cecil, 1931-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Mayer, Maria Goeppert, 1906-1972

Both employed at Columbia University.

McMillan, Edwin M. (Edwin Mattison), 1907-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Morrison, Philip

Both employed on Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Murray, Cherry Ann

Both employed at Harvard University.

Neddermeyer, Seth H. (Seth Henry), 1907-1988

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Nelson, Ann E. (Ann Elizabeth)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Nelson, David R., 1951-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Parratt, Lyman G. (Lyman George)

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Parsons, William Sterling, 1901-1953

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory and on Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Penney, William George Penney, Baron, 1909-1991

Both employed on Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Pierce, George Washington, 1872-1956

Both employed at Harvard University.

Polchinski, Joseph Gerard

Both employed at Harvard University.

Politzer, H. David, 1949-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Pound, Robert V.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Purcell, Edward M.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Quinn, Helen R.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Randall, Lisa

Both employed at Harvard University.

Raney, William P.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Schwinger, Julian, 1918-1994

Both employed at Harvard University.

Serber, R. (Robert)

Both employed on Project Alberta, Manhattan Project and at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Shapiro, Marjorie

Both employed at Harvard University.

Shapiro, Maurice M. (Maurice Mandel), 1915-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Spencer, Thomas, 1946-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Steinhardt, Paul J.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Street, Jabez Curry, 1906-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Strominger, Andrew Eben

Both employed at Harvard University.

Stubbs, Christopher

Both employed at Harvard University.

Thomas, Llewellyn Hilleth, 1903-1992

Both employed at Columbia University.

Tinkham, Michael

Both employed at Harvard University.

Vafa, Cumrun

Both employed at Harvard University.

Van Vleck, J. H. (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980

Both employed at Harvard University.

Waldman, Bernard, 1913-1986

Both employed on Project Alberta, Manhattan Project.

Weinberg, Steven, 1933-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Weitz, David A.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wilson, Kenneth G. (Kenneth Geddes), 1936-2013

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wise, Mark B., 1953-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Witten, E.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wu, C. S. (Chien-shiung), 1912-1997

Both employed at Columbia University.

Wu, Tai Tsun

Both employed at Harvard University.

Additional

Anderson, Herbert Lawrence

Bartlett, Albert A.

Blewett, John P. (John Paul), 1910-

Bloch, Felix, 1905-

Chamberlain, O. (Owen)

Clarke, Edward N.

Corngold, Noel Robert David, 1929-

Dirac, P. A. M. (Paul Adrien Maurice), 1902-1984

Ewen, Harold Irving, 1922-

Frauenfelder, Hans, 1922-

Gell-Mann, Murray

Hutchisson, Elmer, 1902-

Hylleraas, Egil A. (Egil Andersen), 1898-1965

Kapitsa, P. L. (Petr Leonidovich), 1894-1984

Kolos, Wlodzimierz

Lawrence, Ernest Orlando, 1901-1958

Lederman, Leon M.

Lee, T. D., 1926-

Livingston, M. Stanley (Milton Stanley)

Schrieffer, J. R. (John Robert), 1931-

Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008

Soddy, Frederick, 1877-1956

Stern, Otto, 1888-1969

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-1981

Van Allen, James A. (James Alfred), 1914-2006

Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000

Zacharias, Jerrold Reinach, 1905-1986

Institutions

Major Positions

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Founding Head of Department of Physics.

Carnegie Institution of Washington

Carnegie Fellow.

Columbia University. Department of Physics

Received A.B. and Ph.D. (1940) and Assitant Professor and Associate Professor of Physics.

Harvard University. Department of Physics

Associate Professor; Director of Nuclear Laboratory; Professor; Higgins Professor of Physics; and Higgins Professor of Physics Emeritus.

Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics

Visiting Professor.

Manhattan Project (U.S.)

Group Leader and Associate Division Head, Los Alamos Laboratory and Chief Scientist, Tinian Island.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Radiation Laboratory

Research Associate.

United States. War Department

Expert Consultant to the Secretary of War.

University of Chicago. Department of Physics

Visiting Professor.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Physics

Associate in Physics.

University of Michigan. Department of Physics

Visiting Professor.

University of Oxford

Guggenheim Fellow and Eastman Professor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Chair, Section B -- Physics.

American Institute of Physics

Chairman, Governing Board.

American Philosophical Society

American Physical Society

President.

Argonne National Laboratory

Associated Universities, Inc.

Member, Board of Trustees, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

General Electric Company. Research Laboratory

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S.)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Assistant Secretary General for Science.

Phi Beta Kappa

President.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

Member and Temporary Chair, General Advisory Committee.

United States. Air Force

Member, Scientific Advisory Board.

United States. Department of Defense

Member, Panel on Atomic Energy.

United States. National Bureau of Standards

United States. President's Science Advisory Committee

Universities Research Association (U.S.)

Founding President.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

University of Cambridge. Department of Physics

Received A.B., M.A., and D.Sc.

Varian Associates

Member, Board of Directors.

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

AAPT correspondence of Albert A. Bartlett, 1978.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Audio and video interviews about the life and work of Richard Garwin, 2004-2012.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Distinguished speaker session [sound recording], 1974 April 24.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Great scientists I've met [videorecording] / Norman Ramsey.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Leon Lederman's address to American Institute of Physics' Corporate Associates Meeting, [videorecording] 1982.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Manhattan Project videohistory collection [videorecording], 1987-1990.

Smithsonian Institution. Archives.

Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507, 600 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024-2520, USA

MIT Radiation Laboratory oral history collection, 1991.

IEEE History Center

Rutgers University

39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Norman Ramsey collection on the Manhattan Project, 1945-1946.

Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Smithsonian Institution Libraries

National Museum of American History, Washington, DC 20560, USA

Norman Ramsey Introduction to the Quantum Theory lecture notes, undated.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Norman Ramsey materials on the history of magnetic resonance, 1983-1995.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Norman Ramsey papers, circa 1938-2006.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Oral history interview with Norman F. Ramsey, 1991 June 20.

IEEE History Center

Rutgers University

39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1960 July 19 to August 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1976 November 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1978 December 19, 1979 January 5 and 18.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1982 June 24.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1983 July 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 2006 September 20, November 27, December 4, 2007 January 3 and February 28.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

President's report: on the history of the National Accelerator Laboratory, 1967.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Reminiscences of Norman Ramsey : oral history, 1960.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

Box 20, Room 801 Butler Library, New York, NY 10027, USA

Symposium in honor of H. Richard Crane [sound recording] / at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 1997 November 8.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

The Physical Review [sound recording]: recordings of performances by the Harvard physics department, 1951.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Vanuxem lectures [sound recording] : at Princeton University, 1967 Feb.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Subject

AIP Office of the Director records of Elmer Hutchisson, 1948-1966 (bulk 1957-1964).

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

AIP Office of the Secretary records, circa 1950-1990.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Atoms for Peace Award records, 1944-1972.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Egil A. Hylleraas papers, 1945-1965.

Universitetsbiblioteket i Oslo

Drammensveien 42, Oslo 0243, Norway

Files of Wlodzimierz Kolos.

Archiwum (Warszawa)

Polska Akademia Nauk

Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland

Frederick Soddy papers, 1894-1958.

Bodleian Library. Department of Western Manuscripts

University of Oxford

Oxford, England, UK

Hans Frauenfelder response to survey on the impact of immigration on U.S. physics, 1999.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

John P. Blewett papers, 1821-2000 (bulk 1940-1995).

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

On being a student of Norman Ramsey, 2017.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Edward Mills Purcell, 1977 June 8 and 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Edward N. Clarke, 2010 September 27.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Frederick Seitz, 1994 July 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Harold "Doc" Ewen, 1998 January 28.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John Robert Schrieffer, 1974 September 26 and 1976 January 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Kenneth Bainbridge, 1977 March 16 and 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Murray Gell-Mann, 1997 July 17 and 18.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Oral history interview with Noel R. Corngold, 2002 October 11 and 16.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Published Resources

Author

Molecular beams / Norman Ramsey.

Nuclear moments.

Report of the Panel on High Energy Accelerator Physics of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission and the President's Science Advisory Committee, April 26, 1963.

Spectroscopy with coherent radiation : selected papers of Norman F. Ramsey with commentary / Norman F. Ramsey.

Time and frequency measurement / edited by Christine Hackman and Donald B. Sullivan.

Subject

Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr. Physics Today obituary