Menu ☰

Back to Top

Physics History Network

Over 1000 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

Tip: Search within this page by using Ctrl + F or ⌘ + F


Search Our Catalogs

Archives Books

Collections

Emilio Segré Visual Archives Digital Collections Oral Histories Archival Finding Aids Physics History Network Member Society Portals

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials Suggest a Book Purchase Saving Archival Collections Grants to Archives Documentation Projects History Newsletters

Center for History of Physics

Scholarship & Outreach

Main Navigation

HomeAboutTopic GuidesFeedback

Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as Subject

Lawrence Hafstad

Photo

Dates

June 18, 1904 – October 12, 1993

Authorized Form of Name

Hafstad, Lawrence, 1904-

Additional Forms of Names

Hafstad, Lawrence Randolph, 1904-

Biography

Abstract

Lawrence Hafstad was Vice President, Research Laboratories at General Motors Company (1955-1969). Other institutional affiliations included Chase Manhattan Bank and the United States Atomic Energy Commission. His research interests included proximity fuses and the development of nuclear power.

Important Dates

June 18, 1904Birth, Minneapolis (Minn.).

1920 – 1928Engineer, Northwestern Bell Telephone Company.

1926Obtained BSc, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Minn.).

1928 – 1945Associate Physicist (1928-1933) and Physicist (1933-1945), Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington (D.C.).

1933Obtained PhD in Physics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Md.).

1942 – 1949Research Physicist, Applied Physics Laboratory (1942-1946); Director, Applied Physics Laboratory (1946-1947); and Director, Institute for Cooperative Research (1947-1949), Johns Hopkins University, Laurel (Md.).

1947 – 1949Executive Secretary, Research and Development Board, United States Department of Defense.

1949 – 1955Director, Nuclear Reactor Development Division, United States Atomic Energy Commission, Washington (D.C.).

1955Director, Atomic Energy Division, Chase Manhattan Bank.

1955 – 1969Vice President, Research Laboratories, General Motors Company.

1962 – 1968Member (1962-1968) and Chair (1964-1968), General Advisory Committee, United States Atomic Energy Commission.

1969 – 1972Chair, Committee on Undersea Warfare, National Research Council.

October 12, 1993Death, Oldwick (N.J.).

Occupation

Nuclear physicist.

Places

Birth

Minneapolis (Minn.)

Undergraduate Education

Minneapolis (Minn.)

Graduate Education

Baltimore (Md.)

Employment

Washington (D.C.)

Laurel (Md.)

Death

Oldwick (N.J.)

Subjects

Nuclear energy -- Political aspects.

Nuclear physics.

Nuclear reactors.

Proximity fuzes.

Relationships

People

Family

Hafstad, Mary

Wife.

Hafstad, William

Son.

Advisors & Collaborators

Dahl, Odd, 1898-1994

Collaborated on work leading to development of million-volt vacuum tube.

Tuve, Merle Antony, 1901-1982

Collaborated on work leading to development of million-volt vacuum tube. Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Colleagues

Berkner, Lloyd V. (Lloyd Viel), 1905-1967

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Donahue, Thomas M.

Both employed at Johns Hopkins University.

Fleming, J. A. (John Adam), 1877-1956

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Forbush, Scott E., 1904-1984

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Herzfeld, Karl F. (Karl Ferdinand), 1892-

Both employed at Johns Hopkins University.

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

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington and Johns Hopkins University.

Vestine, E. H. (Ernest Harry), 1906-1968

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Additional

Alpher, Ralph, 1921-2007

Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976

Larson, Clarence E. (Clarence Edward), 1909-

Strauss, Lewis L.

Institutions

Major Positions

Carnegie Institution of Washington. Department of Terrestrial Magnetism

Associate Physicist and Physicist.

Chase Manhattan Bank

Director, Atomic Energy Division.

General Motors Corporation

Vice President, Research Laboratories.

Johns Hopkins University. Applied Physics Laboratory

Obtained PhD in Physics (1933). Research Physicist, Applied Physics Laboratory; Director, Applied Physics Laboratory; and Director, Institute for Cooperative Research.

Northwestern Bell Telephone Company

Engineer.

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission

Director, Nuclear Reactor Development Division and Member and Chair, General Advisory Committee.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Carnegie Institution of Washington

National Research Council (U.S.)

Chair.

United States. Department of Defense. Research and Development Board

Executive Secretary.

University of Minnesota. Department of Physics and Astronomy

Obtained BSc (1926).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Lawrence Hafstad papers, 1939-1975.

Harry S. Truman Library

Independence, MO 64050, USA

Lawrence Hafstad papers, 1939-1976.

St. Olaf College

Norwegian-American Historical Association

Northfield, MN 55057, USA

Oral history interview with Lawrence Hafstad, 1984 June 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Subject

Clarence E. Larson science and technology oral history collection, 1983-1993.

Special Collections & Archives

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA

Lewis L. Strauss papers, 1914-1974.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

West Branch, IA 52358, USA

Merle Antony Tuve papers, 1901-1982 (bulk 1941-1966).

Manuscript Division

Library of Congress

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

Oral history interview with Merle Antony Tuve, 1967 March 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Merle Antony Tuve, 1982 January 13 and February 5.

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

Published Resources

Subject

Lawrence Randolph Hafstad Physics Today obituary.