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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Edward M. Purcell

Photo

Dates

August 30, 1912 – March 7, 1997

Authorized Form of Name

Purcell, Edward M.

Additional Forms of Names

Purcell, E. M. (Edward M.)

Biography

Abstract

Edward Purcell was Professor of Physics at Harvard University. Other institutional affiliations included the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) and the American Physical Society. His research interests included nuclear magnetism, with a particular interest in relaxation phenomena, related problems of molecular structure, measurement of atomic constants, and nuclear magnetic behavior at low temperatures.

Important Dates

August 30, 1912Birth, Taylorville (Ill.).

1933Obtained BSEE, Purdue University, West Lafayette (Ind.).

1935Obtained AM, Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1938Obtained PhD in Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1938 – 1997Instructor to Associate Professor of Physics (1938-1949); Professor of Physics (1949-1960); Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows (1950-1971); Gerhard Gade University Professor (1960-1980); and Emeritus Professor of Physics (1980-1997), Harvard University, Cambridge (Mass.).

1941 – 1946Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory.

1951Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1952Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics with Felix Bloch "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith".

1953 – 1957Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, United States Air Force.

1957 – 1960Member, President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

1962 – 1965Member, President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

1970President, American Physical Society.

1979Awarded National Medal of Science.

1984Awarded Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics, American Physical Society.

March 7, 1997Death, Cambridge (Mass.).

Occupation

Nuclear physicist.

Places

Birth

Taylorville (Ill.)

Undergraduate Education

West Lafayette (Ind.)

Graduate Education

Cambridge (Mass.)

Employment

Cambridge (Mass.)

Death

Cambridge (Mass.)

Subjects

Low temperatures.

Microwaves.

Nuclear magnetism.

Radio astronomy.

Relaxation (Nuclear physics).

Relationships

People

Family

Busser, Beth C.

Wife.

Purcell, Dennis W.

Son.

Purcell, Frank B.

Son.

Advisors & Collaborators

Andrew, E. Raymond (Edward Raymond), 1921-

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University.

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

PhD advisor at Harvard University and both employed at Harvard University.

Benedek, George Bernard, 1928-

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University and both employed at Harvard University.

Bloch, Felix, 1905-

Shared the 1952 Nobel Prize "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith."

Bloembergen, N.

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University, and both employed at Harvard University.

Pake, G. E. (George Edward)

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University and both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Pound, Robert V.

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University and both employed at Harvard University.

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

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University, "Nuclear spin-lattice relaxation in ammonium salts."

Slichter, Charles P.

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University, "A study of microwave absorption in paramagnetic solids," and both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Torrey, Henry Cutler, 1911-

Advised by Purcell at Harvard University.

Colleagues

Adler, Stephen L.

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Baker, William O. (William Oliver), 1915-2005

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Bardeen, James Maxwell, 1939-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Bardeen, John

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Beadle, George Wells, 1903-1989

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Branscomb, Lewis M., 1926-

Both employed at Harvard University and President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Brewer, Richard G.

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.

Bronk, Detlev W. (Detlev Wulf), 1897-1975

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Brooks, Harvey

Both employed at Harvard University and President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Callan, Curtis G.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Calvin, Melvin, 1911-1997

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Chance, Britton

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Coleman, Sidney, 1937-2007

Both employed at Harvard University.

Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978

Both employed at Harvard University.

Cormack, Allan MacLeod, 1924-1998

Both employed at Harvard University.

Deser, S. (Stanley)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Fisk, James B. (James Brown), 1910-1981

Both employed at Harvard University and President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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.

Garwin, Richard L.

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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.

Goldberger, Marvin L.

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Griggs, David, 1911-1974

Both employed at Harvard University.

Gross, David J. (David Jonathan)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Halperin, Bertrand I.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Handler, Philip, 1917-1981

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Haskins, Caryl P. (Caryl Parker), 1908-2001

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Hooft, G. 't

Both employed at Harvard University.

Hornig, Donald F., 1920-2013

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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.

Killian, James Rhyne, 1904-1988

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Kleppner, Daniel

Both employed at Harvard University.

Kohn, Walter, 1923-2016

Both employed at Harvard University.

Land, Edwin Herbert, 1909-1991

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Leggett, A. J. (Anthony J.)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Loeb, Robert F. (Robert Frederick), 1895-1973

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Long, Franklin A., 1910-1999

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Lyman, Theodore, 1874-1954

Both employed at Harvard University.

MacDonald, Gordon J. (Gordon James), 1929-2002

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Maldacena, Juan Martin, 1968-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Martin, Paul Cecil, 1931-

Both employed at Harvard University.

McElroy, William David, 1917-

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Nelson, Ann E. (Ann Elizabeth)

Both employed at Harvard University.

Nelson, David R., 1951-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Nier, Alfred O. (Alfred Otto), 1911-1994

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Pierce, George Washington, 1872-1956

Both employed at Harvard University.

Pierce, John R. (John Robinson), 1910-2002

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Piore, Emanuel Ruben, 1908-2000

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Pitzer, Kenneth S. (Kenneth Sanborn), 1914-

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Polchinski, Joseph Gerard

Both employed at Harvard University.

Politzer, H. David, 1949-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Press, Frank, 1924-

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Quinn, Helen R.

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Both employed at Harvard University.

Randall, Lisa

Both employed at Harvard University.

Raney, William P.

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Saunders, Frederick A. (Frederick Albert), 1875-1963

Both employed at Harvard University.

Schwinger, Julian, 1918-1994

Both employed at Harvard University.

Seaborg, Glenn T. (Glenn Theodore), 1912-1999

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Shapiro, Marjorie

Both employed at Harvard University.

Smith, Cyril Stanley, 1903-1992

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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.

Tinkham, Michael

Both employed at Harvard University.

Tukey, John W. (John Wilder), 1915-2000

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Vafa, Cumrun

Both employed at Harvard University.

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

Both employed at Harvard University.

Weinberg, Alvin Martin, 1915-2006

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Weinberg, Steven, 1933-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Weiss, Paul S.

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Wiesner, Jerome B. (Jerome Bert), 1915-1994

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

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

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wise, Mark B., 1953-

Both employed at Harvard University.

Witten, E.

Both employed at Harvard University.

Wu, Tai Tsun

Both employed at Harvard University.

York, Herbert F. (Herbert Frank)

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Zacharias, Jerrold Reinach, 1905-1986

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Zinn, Walter H. (Walter Henry), 1906-2000

Both worked on President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Additional

Buck, Paul Herman, 1899-1978

Clarke, Edward N.

Dashen, Roger F.

Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)

DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994

Ewen, Harold Irving, 1922-

Field, George B., 1929-

Giauque, William F. (William Francis), 1895-1982

Giulotto, Luigi, 1911-1986

Gold, Thomas

Hansen, W. W. (William Webster), 1909-1949

King, John, 1925-2014

LaTourrette, James Thomas

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

Pauli, Wolfgang, 1900-1958

Roberts, John D., 1918-

Schwartz, Brian B., 1938-

Sullivan, Woodruff Turner

Townes, Charles H.

Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957

Woodyard, John R., 1904-1981

Institutions

Major Positions

Harvard University. Department of Physics

Obtained AM (1935) and PhD (1938). Instructor to Associate Professor of Physics; Professor of Physics; Gerhard Gade University Professor; Emeritus Professor of Physics; Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Radiation Laboratory

Researcher.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Physical Society

President and received 1984 Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics.

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

Purdue University. Department of Physics

Obtained BSEE (1933).

United States. Air Force

Member, Scientific Advisory Committee.

United States. President's Science Advisory Committee

Member.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Berkeley physics course on electricity and magnetism, vol. 2, 1963.

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA, 94720-6000, USA

Edward Purcell papers, circa 1938-1997.

Archives. Pusey Library

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Eulogies for Wendell Hinkle Furry, 1985.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

James LaTourrette's notes on the lectures of E. M. Purcell given at Harvard University, 1954-1955.

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] / 1971 February 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

MIT Radiation Laboratory oral history collection, 1991.

IEEE History Center

Rutgers University

39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Nobel laureates on scientific research project : oral history, 1964.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

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

Oral history interview with Edward M. Purcell, 1976 November 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Edward M. Purcell, 1982 June 29.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Edward M. Purcell, 1991 June 14.

IEEE History Center

Rutgers University

39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, 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

Physical Science Study Committee records, circa 1958-1971

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

Press conference on the nuclear test ban treaty [sound recording], 1962.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Radar and physics [videorecording] : a lecture by Edward M. Purcell recorded at Harvard University.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Reminiscences of Edward Mills Purcell : oral history, 1964.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

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

Woodruff T. Sullivan papers, 1946-2009.

Archives.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

Subject

Brian B. Schwartz papers 1966-1977.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

J. H. Van Vleck: quantum theory and magnetism [sound recording], 2011 March 22.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation records, 1965- .

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.I.T. Libraries, Rm. 14N-118, Cambridge, MA 02139, 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 Charles H. Townes, 1979 June 18 and 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Charles Slichter, 2005 March 26.

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 Elsa Meints Garmire, 1985 February 4.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Felix Bloch, 1968 August 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with George Brooks Field, 1980 July 14 and 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with George Field, 2007 December 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Gordon J. MacDonald, 1986 April 16.

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 D. Roberts, 2007 July 27.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John G. King, 2009 November 17.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John R. Woodyard, 1974 October 18 and 1975 December 17.

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA, 94720-6000, 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 Luigi Giulotto, 1982 December 7.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Nicolaas Bloembergen, 1977 March 22.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Nicolaas Bloembergen, 1983 June 27.

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 Paul Buck, 1977 March 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert V. Pound, 1976 November 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Robert V. Pound, 2003 May 22 and 23.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Roger Frederick Dashen, 1986 July 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Thomas Gold, 1983 September 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Physical Science Study Committee oral history collection, 1956-1976.

Institute Archives and Special Collections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

President's Science Advisory Committee records, 1957-1961.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library

Abilene, KS 67410, USA

Published Resources

Author

Electricity and magnetism / Edward M. Purcell.

Principles of microwave circuits / edited by C.G. Montgomery, R.H. Dicke, E.M. Purcell.

Subject

"Edward Mills Purcell: 1912-1997", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

"In Appreciation: Edward Mills Purcell, August 30, 1912–March 7, 1997," Physics in Perspective 13 (2011): 91-103

E. M. Purcell - Nobel Prize Biography

Edward Mills Purcell Physics Today obituary.