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AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects




Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as Subject

Ross Gunn



May 12, 1897 – October 15, 1966

Authorized Form of Name

Gunn, Ross, 1897-1966



Ross Gunn was Research Professor of Physics at American University (1958-1966). Other institutional affiliations included the United States Weather Bureau and the United States Navy. His research interests included the use of atomic energy in submarine propulsion and severe weather phenomena.

Important Dates

May 12, 1897Birth, Cleveland (Ohio).

1915 – 1917Took undergraduate classes, Oberlin College, Oberlin (Ohio).

1920Obtained BS in Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Mich.).

1921Obtained MS in Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Mich.).

1921 – 1923Radio Research Engineer, Army Air Service, United States Army.

1923 – 1927Instructor in Engineering, Yale University.

1926Obtained PhD in Physics, Yale University, New Haven (Conn.).

1927 – 1947Assistant Superintendent, Heat and Light Division (1927-1933); Research Physicist (1927-1947); Superintendent, Mechanics and Electricity Division (1933-1946); Technical Adviser (1933-1947); Superintendent, Aircraft Electrical Division (1944-1946); and Superintendent, Physics Division (1946-1947), Naval Research Laboratory, United States Navy.

1940 – 1941Member, Committee on Uranium, National Defense Research Committee.

1940 – 1946Research Associate, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

1941Member, Section on Uranium, Office of Scientific Research and Development.

1943 – 1947Technical Director, Pricipitation Static Project (1943-1946) and Technical Director, Atmospheric Electricity Research Project (1946-1947), United States Army-Navy.

1947 – 1949Director, Weather Bureau Cloud Physics Project, United States Air Force.

1947 – 1957Director, Physics Research, United States National Weather Service (United States Weather Bureau), Washington (D.C.).

1948 – 1953Member, Scientific Advisory Board, United States Air Force.

1951Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1951 – 1954Consultant, Charles F. Kettering Foundation.

1958 – 1965Consultant, United States Atomic Energy Commission.

1958 – 1966Research Professor of Physics, American University, Washington (D.C.).

October 15, 1966Death, Washington (D.C.).


Research physicist.



Cleveland (Ohio)

Undergraduate Education

Oberlin (Ohio)

Ann Arbor (Mich.)

Graduate Education

Ann Arbor (Mich.)

New Haven (Conn.)


Washington (D.C.)


Washington (D.C.)


Atmospheric physics.

Cosmic rays.

Military research.

Nuclear energy.

Radio research.

Uranium isotopes.




Gunn, Andrew Leigh


Gunn, Charles


Gunn, Gladys J. Rowley

Wife, married 1923.

Gunn, Lora A. Conner


Gunn, Robert Burns


Gunn, Ross D. A.


Gunn, Ross Jr.


Advisors & Collaborators

Page, Leigh, 1884-

PhD advisor at Yale University.


Allison, Samuel King, 1900-1965

Both employed at the Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981

Both worked on the Technical Subcommittee, Advisory Committee on Uranium.


Bowen, Harold Gardiner, 1883-1965

Newell, Homer E. (Homer Edward), 1915-1983


Major Positions

American University (Washington, D.C.). Department of Physics

Research Professor of Physics.

Carnegie Institution of Washington

Research Associate.

Charles F. Kettering Foundation


Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)

Assistant Superintendent, Heat and Light Division; Research Physicist; Superintendent, Mechanics and Electricity Division; Technical Adviser; Superintendent, Aircraft Electrical Division; and Superintendent, Physics Division.

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission


United States. Air Force

Director, Weather Bureau Cloud Physics Project and Member, Scientific Advisory Board.

United States. Army

Radio Research Engineer, Army Air Service.

United States. National Weather Service

Director, Physics Research.

Yale University. School of Engineering & Applied Science

Instructor in Engineering.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)


Oberlin College. Department of Physics

Took undergraduate classes.

United States. Council of National Defense. National Defense Research Committee

Member, Committee on Uranium.

United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development

Member, Section on Uranium.

University of Michigan. Department of Electrical Engineering

Obtained BS (1920).

University of Michigan. Department of Physics

Obtained MS (1921).

Yale University. Physics Department

Obtained PhD in Physics (1926).


Archival Resources


Ross Gunn autobiographical notes, circa 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

The early history of the atomic powered submarine at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory March 1939 to March 1946.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA


Harold Gardiner Bowen papers, 1907-1977 (bulk 1940-1959).

manuscript division.

Library of Congress

James Madison Memorial Building, First Street and Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA

Jesse W. Beams papers, 1926-1977.

Alderman Library. Special Collections

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

Oral history interview with Homer Edward Newell, 1980 July 17 and October 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Published Resources


"Ross Gunn: 1897-1966", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences