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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

William Aaron Nierenberg

Photo

Dates

February 13, 1919 – September 10, 2000

Authorized Form of Name

Nierenberg, William Aaron, 1919-2000

Additional Forms of Names

Nierenberg, W. A. (William Aaron), 1919-2000

Biography

Abstract

William Nierenberg was the Director of Scripps Institute of Oceanography (1965-1986). Other institutional affiliations include University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Columbia University. As a scientist, Nierenberg excelled in two fields: physics and oceanography. As a physicist he worked on the Manhattan Project and contributed to molecular beam research and cascade theory. As an oceanographer, he helped to shape national policy in oceanography and to develop oceanography into a multidisciplinary, planetary science with a pivotal role to play in climate change research and earth science.

Important Dates

February 13, 1919Birth, New York (N.Y.).

1939Obtained BS, City College of New York, New York (N.Y.).

1942Obtained MA, Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1942 – 1945Researcher, Columbia Substitute Alloy Materials (SAM) Laboratories, Manhattan Project.

1946 – 1948Instructor in Physics, Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1947Obtained PhD in Physics, Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1948 – 1950Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Michigan.

1950 – 1965Associate Professor of Physics (1950-1953) and Professor of Physics (1954-1965), University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley (Calif.).

1953 – 1954Director, Hudson Laboratories, Columbia University.

1958 – 1960Consultant, National Security Agency.

1960 – 1962Assistant Secretary General for Scientific Affairs, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1965 – 2000Director (1965-1986) and Director Emeritus (1986-2000), Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.).

1969 – 1970Member, White House Task Force on Oceanography.

1969 – 1986Vice Chancellor, Marine Science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.).

1971Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1971 – 1978Member (1971-1978) and Chair (1971-1975), National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere.

1972 – 1978Member, National Science Board.

1978 – 1982Chair, Advisory Council, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1978 – 1984Member, Space Panel, Naval Studies Board, National Research Council.

1979 – 1983Member, Council (1979-1982) and Chair, Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee (1980-1983), National Academy of Sciences.

1982 – 1988Member, National Science Board.

September 10, 2000Death, La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.).

Occupation

Physicist and oceanographer.

Places

Birth

New York (N.Y.)

Undergraduate Education

New York (N.Y.)

Graduate Education

New York (N.Y.)

Employment

Berkeley (Calif.)

La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.)

Death

La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.)

Subjects

Molecular beams.

Nuclear physics.

Nuclear spin.

Oceanography.

Relationships

People

Family

Nierenberg, Edith Meyerson

Wife. Married 1941.

Nierenberg, Nicolas Clark Eugene

Son.

Nierenberg, Victoria

Daughter.

Advisors & Collaborators

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

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

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

PhD advisor at Columbia University, "The radiofrequency spectra of the sodium halides," and both employed at Columbia University.

Colleagues

Abrahams, Elihu

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Barish, B. C. (Barry Clark), 1936-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Baym, Gordon

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Birge, Raymond T. (Raymond Thayer), 1887-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Booth, Eugene

Both employed at Columbia University.

Bradbury, Norris, 1909-1997

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Brode, Robert B. (Robert Bigham), 1900-1986

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Brown, Harold, 1927-

Both employed at Columbia University.

Chamberlain, O. (Owen)

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Chew, Geoffrey F.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Cohen, Marvin L.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Commins, Eugene D.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Crane, H. R. (Horace Richard), 1907-2007

Both employed at University of Michigan.

Davis, Bergen, 1869-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Dennison, David M. (David Mathias), 1900-1976

Both employed at University of Michigan.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Emery, V. J. (Victor J.)

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Fetter, Alexander L., 1937-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Foley, Henry Michael, 1917-1982

Both employed at Columbia University.

Freedman, Daniel Z.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Glaser, D. A.

Both employed at University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley.

Glashow, Sheldon L.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Goldhaber, Gerson

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Heeger, Alan J.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Helmholz, August Carl, 1915-2003

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Hopfield, John J.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Jeffries, C. D., 1922-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Kittel, Charles

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Kusch, Polykarp, 1911-1993

Both employed at Columbia University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Langenberg, D. N., 1932-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Laporte, Otto, 1902-1971

Both employed at University of Michigan.

Lawrence, Ernest Orlando, 1901-1958

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Lee, T. D., 1926-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Mandelstam, Stanley

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Moyer, Burton J., 1912-1973

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Phillips, J. C.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

Randall, Harrison M. (Harrison McAllister), 1870-

Both employed at University of Michigan.

Reynolds, John Hamilton, 1923-2000

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Ruderman, Malvin A.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Segrè, Emilio

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Serber, R. (Robert)

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Shen, Y. R.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Steiner, Herbert M.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Thomas, Llewellyn Hilleth, 1903-1992

Both employed at Columbia University.

Tinkham, Michael

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Trilling, George H.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Uhlenbeck, George Eugène, 1900-1988

Both employed at University of Michigan.

Watson, Kenneth M.

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Weinberg, Steven, 1933-

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Wick, G. C. (Gian Carlo)

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

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

Both employed at Columbia University.

York, Herbert F. (Herbert Frank)

Both employed at University of California, Berkeley.

Additional

Anderson, Carl D. (Carl David), 1905-1991

McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997

Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953

Munk, Walter H. (Walter Heinrich), 1917-

Press, Frank, 1924-

Revelle, Roger, 1909-1991

Schwinger, Julian, 1918-1994

Suess, Hans Eduard, 1909-

Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-1981

Institutions

Major Positions

Columbia University. Department of Physics

Obtained MA (1942) and PhD (1947). Instructor in Physics and Director, Hudson Laboratories.

Manhattan Project (U.S.)

Researcher, Columbia Substitute Alloy Materials (SAM) Laboratories.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Assistant Secretary General for Scientific Affairs.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Director and Director Emeritus.

University of California, Berkeley. Department of Physics

Associate Professor of Physics and Professor of Physics.

University of California, San Diego

Vice Chancellor, Marine Sciences.

University of Michigan. Department of Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

College of the City of New York (1926-1961). City College. Physics Department

Obtained BS (1939).

Lawrence Radiation Laboratory

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member; Member, Council; and Chair, Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee.

National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Space Panel.

National Science Board (U.S.)

Member.

United States. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere

Member and Chair.

United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Chair, Advisory Council.

United States. National Security Agency

Consultant.

United States. Office of Science and Technology Policy

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

"Oceanography: The Making of a Science" [videoreordings], 2000.

Libraries. University Archives

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Hans Eduard Suess papers, 1875-1989.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Julian S. Schwinger papers, 1920-1994.

University Research Library. Department of Special Collections

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA 90024-1575, USA

Memorial service, 1980 April 16 [sound recording].

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, 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 interviews. Geophysics and Oceanography: Deep Sea Drilling Project/Ocean Drilling Program (DSDP/ODP), 1992-1994.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Project on the History of Modern Oceanography oral history interviews, 1975-1978.

Cushing Memorial Library and Archives.

Texas A&M University.

College Station, TX 77843-5000, USA

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Office of the Director, William A. Nierenberg records, 1904-1992, (bulk 1955-1986).

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Technical reports from the William A. Nierenberg papers, 1977-1999.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

William Aaron Nierenberg papers, 1932-2000.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Subject

Oral history interview with Herbert F. York, 1986 February 7.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Norman Ramsey, 1983 July 12.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with William J. McGill, 1997 September 12 and 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Roger Revelle sound recordings, 1984.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Scripps Institution of Oceanography subject files, 1890-1981 (bulk 1930-1970).

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Walter Heinrich Munk papers, additions (Collections 96-04 and 2009-27), 1953-1998.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Published Resources

Author

"Early Climate Change Consensus at the National Academy: The Origins and Making of 'Changing Climate'," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 40 (2010): 318-349

Modern physics for the engineer.

Subject

"From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 38 (2008): 109-152

"William Aaron Nierenberg: 1919-2000", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences.

William Aaron Nierenberg Physics Today obituary.