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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Willis E. Lamb

Photo

Dates

July 12, 1913 – May 15, 2008

Authorized Form of Name

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

Additional Forms of Names

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

Lamb, Willis Eugene, 1913-

Biography

Abstract

Willis E. Lamb, Jr. was Regents Professor of Optical Science at the University of Arizona (1974-2008). Other institutional affiliations included Yale University and Oxford University. His research interests included the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum and lasers.

Important Dates

July 12, 1913Birth, Los Angeles (Calif.).

1934Obtained BS in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.).

1938Obtained PhD in Physics, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.).

1938 – 1952Instructor in Physics (1938-1943); Associate in Physics (1943-1945); Assistant Professor of Physics (1945-1947); Researcher, Radiation Laboratory (1945-1951); Associate Professor of Physics (1947-1948); and Professor of Physics (1948-1952), Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1943 – 1945Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radiation Laboratory, Columbia University Satellite.

1951 – 1956Professor, Stanford University, Stanford (Calif.).

1953 – 1954Morris Loeb Lecturer, Harvard University.

1954Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1955Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum".

1956 – 1962Wykeham Professor and Fellow, New College, Oxford University, Oxford (England).

1960Visiting Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bombay.

1960Visiting Professor of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Kyoto University.

1962 – 1974Henry Ford II Professor of Physics (1962-1972) and Josiah Willard Gibbs Professor of Physics (1972-1974), Yale University, New Haven (Conn.).

1974 – 2008Professor of Physics and Optical Science (1974-1989); Regents Professor (1989-2003); Regents Professor Emeritus (2003-2008); and Regents Professor of Optical Science (2003-2008), University of Arizona, Tucson (Ariz.).

2000Awarded National Medal of Science.

May 15, 2008Death, Tucson (Ariz.).

Occupation

Atomic physicist.

Places

Birth

Los Angeles (Calif.)

Undergraduate Education

Berkeley (Calif.)

Graduate Education

Berkeley (Calif.)

Employment

New York (N.Y.)

Stanford (Calif.)

New Haven (Conn.)

Tucson (Ariz.)

Death

Tucson (Ariz.)

Subjects

Atomic and molecular physics.

Lasers.

Magnetrons.

Quantum field theory.

Radiation.

Relationships

People

Family

Kaufman, B. (Bruria), 1918-

Second wife. Divorced.

Lamb, Elsie Wattson

Third wife. Married 2008.

Lamb, John

Brother.

Lamb, Marie Metcalf

Mother.

Lamb, Perry

Brother.

Lamb, Ursula

First wife. Married 1939.

Lamb, Willis Eugene, Sr.

Father.

Advisors & Collaborators

Bersohn, Richard, 1925-2003

Advised by Lamb at Columbia University.

Feld, Bernard Taub, 1919-

Advised by Lamb at Columbia University, "Effect of nuclear electric quadrupole moment on the energy levels of a diatomic molecule in a magnetic field."

Gyorffy, Balazs L.

Advised by Lamb at Yale University, "Two Topics in Laser Theory."

Havas, Peter, 1916-

Advised by Lamb at Columbia University, "On the interaction of radiation and two electrons."

Kroll, Norman Myles, 1922-

Advised by Lamb at Columbia University, "The Resonant Modes of the Rising Sun and Other Unstrapped Magnetron Anode Blocks," and both employed at Columbia University.

Maiman, Theodore H.

Advised by Lamb at Stanford University, "Microwave-optical investigation of the 3³P fine structure in helium."

Novick, Robert

Advised by Lamb at Columbia University, "Fine structure of singly ionized helium."

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

PhD advisor at University of California, Berkeley, "I. On the Capture of Slow Neutrons in Hydrogenuous Substances, II. Electromagnetic Properties of Nuclear Systems."

Sanders, T. Michael

Advised by Lamb at Stanford University.

Scully, Marlan O. (Marlan Orvil), 1939-

Advised by Lamb at Yale University, "Quantum Theory of an Optical Maser."

Stenholm, Stig

Advised by Lamb at Yale University.

Colleagues

Adair, Robert K., 1924-

Both employed at Yale University.

Anderson, Herbert Lawrence

Both employed at Columbia University.

Bardeen, James Maxwell, 1939-

Both employed at Yale University.

Bloch, Felix, 1905-

Both employed at Stanford University.

Boehm, Felix

Both employed at Columbia University.

Booth, Eugene

Both employed at Columbia University.

Bradbury, Norris, 1909-1997

Both employed at Stanford University.

Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981

Both employed at Yale University.

Bromley, D. Allan (David Allan), 1926-2005

Both employed at Yale University.

Brown, Harold, 1927-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Chodorow, Marvin

Both employed at Stanford University.

Davis, Bergen, 1869-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Drell, Sidney D. (Sidney David), 1926-

Both employed at Stanford University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954

Both employed at Columbia University.

Foley, Henry Michael, 1917-1982

Both employed at Columbia University.

Frosch, Robert A. (Robert Alan), 1928-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Goldhaber, Gerson

Both employed at Columbia University.

Hahn, E. L. (Erwin Louis), 1921-

Both employed at Stanford University.

Henley, Ernest M.

Both employed at Columbia University and Stanford University.

Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990

Both employed at Stanford University.

Holt, R. J. (Roy J.)

Both employed at Yale University.

Hughes, Vernon W.

Both employed at Columbia University and Yale University.

Kendall, Henry W. (Henry Way), 1926-1999

Both employed at Stanford University.

Kirkpatrick, Paul

Both employed at Stanford University.

Klein, Martin J.

Both employed at Yale University.

Kraichnan, Robert H., 1928-2008

Both employed at Columbia University.

Kusch, Polykarp, 1911-1993

Both won the Nobel Prize in 1955 for separate projects and both employed at Columbia University.

Lederman, Leon M.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lee, P. A. (Patrick A.), 1946-

Both employed at Yale University.

Low, Francis E. (Francis Eugene), 1921-2007

Both employed at Columbia University.

Mayer, Maria Goeppert, 1906-1972

Both employed at Columbia University.

Meyerhof, Walter E. (Walter Ernst), 1922-

Both employed at Stanford University.

Nierenberg, William Aaron, 1919-2000

Both employed at Columbia University.

Pake, G. E. (George Edward)

Both employed at Stanford University.

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

Both employed at Stanford University.

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Pekeris, C. L. (Chaim Leib), 1908-1993

Both employed at Columbia University.

Press, Frank, 1924-

Both employed at Columbia 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.

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Both employed at Columbia University.

Reppy, John David

Both employed at Yale University.

Ruderman, Malvin A.

Both employed at Columbia University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Sandweiss, Jack H.

Both employed at Yale University.

Schawlow, Arthur L., 1921-1999

Both employed at Columbia University.

Schiff, Leonard I. (Leonard Isaac), 1915-1971

Both employed at Stanford University.

Serber, R. (Robert)

Both employed at Columbia University.

Steinberger, J.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Szilard, Leo

Both employed at Columbia University.

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Both employed at Columbia University.

Thomas, Llewellyn Hilleth, 1903-1992

Both employed at Columbia University.

Townes, Charles H.

Both employed at Columbia University.

Webster, David Locke, 1888-1976

Both employed at Stanford University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Additional

Bennett, William R. (William Ralph), 1904-

Bleaney, B. (Brebis)

DeMaria, Anthony J.

Giulotto, Luigi, 1911-1986

Hargrove, Logan Ezral, 1935-

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

Helmer, John (John C.)

Oliver, J. E. (Jack Ertle), 1923-2011

Stout, John Willard, 1912-

Uhlenbeck, George Eugène, 1900-1988

Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008

Yergin, Paul Flohr, 1923-

Institutions

Major Positions

Columbia University. Department of Physics

Instructor in Physics; Associate in Physics; Assistant Professor of Physics; Researcher, Radiation Laboratory; Associate Professor of Physics; and Professor of Physics.

Harvard University. Department of Physics

Morris Loeb Lecturer.

Kyoto Daigaku

Visiting Professor of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Radiation Laboratory

Researcher, Columbia University Satellite.

Stanford University. Department of Physics

Professor.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Visiting Professor.

University of Arizona. College of Optical Sciences

Professor of Optical Science; Regents Professor of Optical Science; and Regents Professor Emeritus of Optical Science.

University of Arizona. Department of Physics

Professor of Physics; Regents Professor of Physics; and Regents Professor Emeritus of Physics.

University of Oxford

Wykeham Professor and Fellow, New College.

Yale University. Physics Department

Henry Ford II Professor of Physics and Josiah Willard Gibbs Professor of Physics.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Chemistry

Obtained MS.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

Obtained PhD in Physics (1938).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Fritz Rohrlich notes from the Pocono Conference on Physics, 1948.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Letter to Luigi Giulotto describing Lamb's work on singly-ionized helium.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history remarks by Willis E. Lamb in a telephone conversation with Ken Ford, 1994.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Willis E. Lamb papers

In private hands

Subject

Conference notes prepared informally and unofficially by John A. Wheeler, 1948.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

John Helmer response to Laser History Project Survey, 1986.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

John Willard Stout intellectual autobiography, 1965.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Anthony John DeMaria, 1984 April 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Brebis Bleaney, 1982 January 15.

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 I. I. Rabi, 1963 December 8.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Jack E. Oliver, 1996 March 8 and 1997 September 27.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Logan Ezral Hargrove, 1985 June 25.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Marlan O. Scully, 2004 July 15 and 16.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Norman M. Kroll, 1986 June 28.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman M. Kroll, 1987 March 29.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with William Aaron Nierenberg, 1986 February 6 and June 26, 30.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with William R. Bennett, 1987 October 26.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with William W. Havens, 1991 February 21, July 17, 29, Augut 5, 12 and 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Willis E. Lamb, 1985 March 7 and May 10.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Paul Yergin response to 1981 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1982.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Proceedings [sound recording]: papers presented at the Enrico Fermi and the beginnings of nuclear fission Centennial Conference. 2001 November 15 and 16.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Published Resources

Author

Laser physics / Murray Sargent III, Marlan O. Scully, Willis E. Lamb, Jr.

Subject

"Willis E. Lamb, Jr.: 1913-2008", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nobel Prize biography.

Willis E. Lamb, Jr.: a festschrift on the occasion of his 65th birthday / editors, Dik ter Haar and Marlan O. Scully; with contributions by D. J. Bergman ... [et al.].

Willis Eugene Lamb Jr. Physics Today obituary.

Willis Lamb University of Arizona News obituary.

Willis Lamb Washington Post obituary.