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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Robert R. Wilson

Photo

Dates

March 4, 1914 – January 16, 2000

Authorized Form of Name

Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000

Additional Forms of Names

Wilson, Robert R., 1914-

Wilson, Robert R. (Robert Rathbun), 1914-

Wilson, Robert Rathbun

Biography

Abstract

Wilson received A.B. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1936. Studied with Prof. Ernest O. Lawrence there and received the Ph.D. in 1940. Known for expertise in designing and constructing cyclotrons and synchrotrons, serving as a consultant on projects around the world. He was also highly regarded as a lecturer and teacher of physics and historian of world affairs relating to the developing uses of atomic energy.

Important Dates

March 4, 1914Birth, Frontier (Wyo.).

1936Received A.B., University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.).

1940Received Ph.D. in Physics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.).

1940 – 1946Instructor (1940-1941); Assistant Professor of Physics (1941-1946); and Head, Isotron Development Project (1942-1943), Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1943 – 1946Physicist (1943-1946); Leader, Cyclotron Group (1943-1944); and Leader, Experimental Nuclear Physics Division (1944-46), Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

1946First Chairman, Federation of American Scientists.

1946 – 1947Associate Professor of Physics, Harvard University.

1947 – 1967Professor of Physics and Director, Laboratory of Nuclear Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca (N.Y.).

1948 – 1951Member, Committee on Atomic Casualties, National Research Council (NRC).

1954 – 1955Exchange Professor, University of Paris.

1957Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1967 – 1978Director, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia (Ill.).

1967 – 1980Ritzma Professor, Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago (Ill.).

1973Awarded National Medal of Science.

1980 – 1982Michael Pupin Professor of Physics, Columbia University.

1980 – 2000Emeritus Professor of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca (N.Y.).

1984Awarded Enrico Fermi Award, U.S. Department of Energy.

1985President, American Physical Society (APS).

1986 – 1989Chair, Board of Trustees, Aspen Center for Physics.

1995Awarded Andrew Gemant Award, American Institute of Physics (AIP).

January 16, 2000Death, Ithaca (N.Y.).

Occupation

Nuclear physicist.

Places

Birth

Frontier (Wyo.)

Undergraduate Education

Berkeley (Calif.)

Graduate Education

Berkeley (Calif.)

Employment

Princeton (N.J.)

Ithaca (N.Y.)

Batavia (Ill.)

Chicago (Ill.)

Death

Ithaca (N.Y.)

Subjects

Accelerators -- Design and construction.

Accelerators.

Cyclotrons -- Design and construction.

Cyclotrons.

Nuclear physics.

Particles (Nuclear physics).

Protons--Scattering.

Relationships

People

Family

Wilson, Daniel

Son.

Wilson, Jane

Wife, married in 1940.

Wilson, Jonathan

Son.

Wilson, Rand

Son.

Advisors & Collaborators

Lawrence, Ernest Orlando, 1901-1958

PhD advisor at University of California, Berkeley, "Theory of the cyclotron."

Littauer, Raphael, 1925-

Co-wrote "Accelerators: Machines of Nuclear Physics."

Shankland, Robert S., 1908-

Co-wrote an article.

Colleagues

Anderson, Herbert Lawrence

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

Aronson, Samuel, 1942-

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

Ashcroft, Neil W.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-2004

Both employed at Cornell University and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

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

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

Bardeen, William A.

Both employed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Bargmann, V. (Valentine), 1908-1989

Both employed at Princeton University.

Barschall, H. H. (Henry Herman), 1915-1997

Both employed at Princeton University.

Beasley, Malcolm

Both employed at Cornell University.

Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005

Both employed at Cornell University.

Bleakney, Walker, 1901-1992

Both employed at Princeton University.

Bloembergen, N.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Bradbury, Norris, 1909-1997

Both employed on Project Trinity, the Manhattan Project.

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

Both employed at Harvard University.

Christ, Norman

Both employed at Columbia University.

Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978

Both employed at Harvard University.

Corson, Dale R.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Creutz, E.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Devons, Samuel

Both employed at Columbia University.

Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)

Both employed at Princeton University.

DiSalvo, Francis

Both employed at Cornell University.

Drell, Persis S.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Dresselhaus, M. S.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Dyson, Freeman J.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Eisenhart, Luther Pfahler, 1876-1965

Both employed at Princeton University.

Feigenbaum, Mitchell J.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Feinberg, Gerald, 1933-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Feynman, Richard P. (Richard Phillips), 1918-1988

Both employed at Princeton University and Cornell University.

Fisher, Michael E. (Michael Ellis)

Both employed at Cornell University.

Fletcher, James Chipman, 1919-1991

Both employed at Princeton University.

Foley, Henry Michael, 1917-1982

Both employed at Columbia University.

Frieman, E. A.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Froman, Darol K. (Darol Kenneth), 1906-1997

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Gell-Mann, Murray

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Greisen, Kenneth

Both employed at Cornell University.

Happer, William, 1939-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Hempelmann, L. H.

Both employed on Project Trinity, the Manhattan Project.

Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990

Both employed at Princeton University.

Hubbard, Jack

Both employed on Project Trinity, the Manhattan Project.

Jackson, Shirley Ann, 1946-

Both employed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Kahn, Steven Michael

Both employed at Columbia University.

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

Both employed at Harvard University.

Kerst, Donald William, 1911-1993

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Kinoshita, T. (Toichiro)

Both employed at Cornell University.

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

Both employed on Project Trinity, Manhattan Project.

Krumhansl, J. A. (James A.)

Both employed at Cornell University.

Lederman, Leon M.

Both employed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Lee, David M.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Lee, T. D., 1926-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lieb, Elliott H.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Luttinger, Joaquin M.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lyman, Theodore, 1874-1954

Both employed at Harvard University.

Mack, Julian Ellis, 1903-1966

Both employed on Project Trinity, the Manhattan Project.

Manley, John Henry, 1907-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Martin, Paul Cecil, 1931-

Both employed at Harvard University.

McDaniel, Boyce D. (Boyce Dawkins), 1917-

Both employed at Cornell University.

Mermin, N. David

Both employed at Cornell University.

Merritt, Ernest, 1865-1948

Both employed at Cornell University.

Montroll, E. W.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Morrison, Philip

Both employed at Cornell University.

Novick, Robert

Both employed at Columbia University.

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Overhauser, Albert Warner, 1925-

Both employed at Cornell University.

Parker, E. N. (Eugene Newman), 1927-

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

Parsons, William Sterling, 1901-1953

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Peoples, John, Jr.

Both employed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Pohl, Robert O.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Pound, Robert V.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Purcell, Edward M.

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Rainwater, L. James (Leo James), 1917-1986

Both employed at Columbia University.

Reppy, John David

Both employed at Cornell University.

Richardson, Robert C. (Robert Coleman), 1937-2013

Both employed at Cornell University.

Robertson, H. P. (Howard Percy), 1903-1961

Both employed at Princeton University.

Rossi, Bruno, 1905-1993

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Ruderman, Malvin A.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Sachs, Allan M. (Allan Maxwell), 1921-1989

Both employed at Columbia University.

Sachs, Robert Green, 1916-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Schwinger, Julian, 1918-1994

Both employed at Harvard University.

Segal, Irving Ezra

Both employed at Princeton University.

Segrè, Emilio

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Serber, R. (Robert)

Both employed at Columbia University.

Sessler, A. M. (Andrew Marienhoff)

Both employed at Cornell University.

Shenstone, A. G. (Allen Goodrich)

Both employed at Princeton University.

Shochet, Melvyn J.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Smyth, Henry De Wolf, 1898-1986

Both employed at Princeton University.

Street, Jabez Curry, 1906-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Tedrow, Paul, 1940-

Both employed at Cornell University.

Tigner, M.

Both employed at Cornell University.

Tollestrup, Alvin

Both employed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Turner, Michael Stanley

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

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

Both employed at Harvard University.

Waldman, Bernard, 1913-1986

Both employed on Project Trinity, the Manhattan Project.

Weinberg, Erick J.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Weisskopf, Victor Frederick, 1908-2002

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, the Manhattan Project.

Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008

Both employed at Princeton University.

Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Both employed at Princeton University.

Will, Clifford M., 1946-

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

Williams, John H. (John Harry), 1908-

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

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

Both employed at Cornell University.

Winstein, Bruce

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

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

Both employed at Princeton University and Columbia University.

Additional

Aebersold, Paul C. (Paul Clarence), 1910-1967

Allison, Samuel King, 1900-1965

Alpher, Ralph, 1921-2007

Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988

Amaldi, Edoardo

Baldin, A. M. (Aleksandr Mikhaĭlovich)

Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981

Cassels, J. M.

Colgate, Stirling

Cooksey, Donald

Cornog, Robert A.

Darrow, Karl K. (Karl Kelchner), 1891-

DeWire, John William

Feld, Bernard Taub, 1919-

Fowler, William A.

Gibbs, R. C. (Roswell Clifton), 1878-

Golden, William T., 1909-2007

Goldhaber, Maurice, 1911-2011

Goldwasser, Edwin L.

Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978

Harnwell, G. P. (Gaylord Probasco), 1903-1982

Havens, William W. (William Westerfield), 1920-2004

Hawkins, David, 1913-2002

Haworth, Leland J. (Leland John), 1904-

Hecker, Siegfried S.

Herman, Robert, 1914-

Higinbotham, William A.

Holton, Gerald James

Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-1995

Jentschke, Willibald

Klema, Ernest D.

Kolstad, George Andrew, 1919-1996

Laslett, L. Jackson (Lawrence Jackson), 1913-

Levinger, Joseph S., 1921-

Livingston, M. Stanley (Milton Stanley)

Loeb, Leonard B. (Leonard Benedict), 1891-

Lofgren, Edward J., 1908-

Marshak, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1916-1992

McCrea, William Hunter

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

McMillen, James Howard

Moon, Philip Burton

Oppenheimer, Frank, 1912-1985

Orear, Jay

Palevsky, Mary, 1949-

Panofsky, Wolfgang K. H. (Wolfgang Kurt Hermann), 1919-2007

Parratt, Lyman G. (Lyman George)

Peierls, Rudolf E. (Rudolf Ernst), 1907-1995

Perrin, Francis

Perry, Roland, 1906-

Phillips, Melba, 1907-2004

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Rieser, Leonard M.

Roberts, A. (Arthur), 1912-

Ruark, Arthur Edward, 1899-

Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996

Salpeter, Edwin E.

Schmidt, Maarten, 1929-

Schopper, Herwig F.

Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008

Shapley, Alan H.

Siegbahn, Kai, 1918-2007

Silverman, Albert

Steinberger, J.

Szilard, Leo

Tate, John T. (John Torrence), 1889-1950

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Thompson, Emily Ann

Toll, John S.

Toohig, Timothy E. (Timothy Edward)

Walker, R. L. (Robert Lee), 1919-2005

Weinberg, Alvin Martin, 1915-2006

White, Harry J. (Harry James), 1905-

White, Milton Grandison, 1910-1979

Witherell, Michael S., 1949-

Woodward, William Mooney

Zhang, Wenyu, 1910-

Zichichi, Antonino

Institutions

Major Positions

Columbia University. Department of Physics

Michael Pupin Professor of Physics.

Cornell University. Department of Physics

Professor of Physics; Director, Laboratory of Nuclear Studies; and Emeritus Professor of Physics.

Enrico Fermi Institute

Ritzma Professor.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

First Director.

Harvard University. Department of Physics

Associate Professor of Physics.

Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

Physicist; Leader, Cyclotron Group; and Leader, Experimental Nuclear Physics Division, Manhattan Project.

Manhattan Project (U.S.)

Physicist; Leader, Cyclotron Group; and Leader, Experimental Nuclear Physics Division, Los Alamos Laboratory.

Princeton University. Department of Physics

Instructor; Assistant Professor of Physics; and Head, Isotron Development Project.

Université de Paris

Exchange Professor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

American Philosophical Society

American Physical Society

President.

Aspen Center for Physics

Chair, Board of Trustees.

Federation of American Scientists

First Chairman.

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Committee on Atomic Casualties.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

Received A.B. and Ph.D. in 1940.

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

An evening with Hans Bethe: the German atomic bomb project [videorecording] / produced at Cornell University, Dept. of Physics by Eric L. Gasieiger ; director, Mike E. Allmendinger.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Joint ceremonial session of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers [sound recording], 1968 January 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Keynote address and awards ceremony [sound recording]

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Wilson, 1977 May 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Wilson, 1978 May 8 through 1981 January 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Remembering Hans Bethe [video recording], 2005.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Remembering Hans Bethe [videorecording]: conversations with Hans Bethe.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Robert R. Wilson papers, 1936-2000.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Robert R. Wilson records, 1936-[ongoing].

Milton G. White History of Accelerators Room (WH-3SE) and Archives (WH-16NE)

Fermilab

PO Box 500, Batavia, IL 90510, USA

Subject

Aleksandr Baldin papers.

In the office of A. M. Baldin at the Laboratory of Elementary Particle Physics.

Dubna, Russia

American Physical Society Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) study records, 1983-1988.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Boyce D. McDaniel papers, 1980-2002.

Carl A. Kroch Library. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections

Cornell University

2B Carl A Kroch Library, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Ernest Donald Klema response to 1981 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, circa 1983.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Even E. O. Lawrence would be surprised [sound recording] / 1994.

Carl A. Kroch Library. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections

Cornell University

2B Carl A Kroch Library, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Hans Bethe papers, circa 1931-1992.

Carl A. Kroch Library. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections

Cornell University

2B Carl A Kroch Library, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

International Science and Technology Journal interviews, 1962-1967.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

LBL Office of the Director records of Edwin M. McMillan [microfilm], 1907-1991.

Archives and Records Office

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

One Cyclotron Road, Bldg. 69-107, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

LBL Office of the Director records of Edwin M. McMillan, 1907-1991.

Pacific Sierra Region

National Archives and Records Administration

1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno, CA 94066, USA

Leon Lederman retirement symposium [videorecording].

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

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

Archives

Smithsonian Institution

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

Oral history interview with Edwin Ernest Salpeter, 1978 March 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Frank Oppenheimer, 1973 February 9 and May 21.

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 Leon Lederman, 2002 August 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Maarten Schmidt, 1996 April 11 and May 2, 15.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

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

Oral history interview with Mel Shochet, 1995 October 17.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Philip Morrison, 1967 February 7.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Ralph Alpher and second session is joint interview with Robert Herman, 1983 August 11 and 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Robert F. Bacher, 1986 February 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Marshak, 1970 June 15, 16, September 19, and October 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Serber, 1967 February 10.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Serber, 1996 November 26.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Roland Perry, 1981 March 13.

Harold B. Lee Library. Special Collections Division.

Brigham Young University.

P.O. Box 26835, Provo, UT 84602-6835, USA

Oral history interview with William Hunter McCrea, 1978 September 22.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Selected talks from Corporate Associates Meetings [videorecording] : 1983-1987.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Wilson to direct proposed 200 BEV Accelerator Lab, 1967.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Published Resources

Author

Accelerators: machines of nuclear physics, by Robert R. Wilson and Raphael Littauer.

Subject

Aesthetics and science : proceedings of the international symposium in honor of Robert R. Wilson, April 27, 1979.

Atomic fragments : a daughter's questions / Mary Palevsky.

Robert Rathbun Wilson Physics Today obituary.

Scientific temperaments : three lives in contemporary science / Philip J. Hilts.