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

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials 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 AuthorPublished as Subject

H. P. Robertson

Photo

Dates

January 27, 1903 – August 26, 1961

Authorized Form of Name

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

Additional Forms of Names

Robertson, Bob

Robertson, Howard Percy, 1903-1961

Biography

Abstract

Howard Percy Robertson was Professor of Mathematical Physics at California Institute of Technology (1947-1961). Other institutional affiliations included Princeton University. His research involved applying differential geometry and group theory to atomic physics, quantum physics, general relativity and cosmology.

Important Dates

January 27, 1903Birth, Hoquiam (Wash.).

1922Obtained BS, University of Washington, Seattle (Wash.).

1923Obtained MS, University of Washington, Seattle (Wash.).

1925Obtained PhD, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1927 – 1931Assistant Professor of Mathematics (1927-1929) and Assistant Professor of Mathematical Physics (1929-1931), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1931 – 1947Associate Professor of Mathematical Physics (1931-1938) and Professor of Mathematical Physics (1938-1947), Princeton University, Princeton (N.J.).

1940 – 1943Researcher, National Defense Research Committee, Office of Scientific Research and Development.

1942Member, Operations Analysis Section, Eighth Air Force, United States Army Air Force.

1943 – 1945Scientific Liaison Officer, London Mission, Office of Scientific Research and Development.

1945Chief, Scientific Intelligence Advisory Section, Supreme Hearquarters Allied Forces.

1947 – 1961Professor of Mathematical Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

1950 – 1952Director of Research, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, United States Department of Defense.

1951Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1954 – 1956Scientific Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1956 – 1960Chair, Defense Science Board, United States Department of Defense.

1957 – 1959Member, President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC).

August 26, 1961Death.

Occupation

Mathematical physicist.

Places

Birth

Hoquiam (Wash.)

Undergraduate Education

Seattle (Wash.)

Graduate Education

Seattle (Wash.)

Pasadena (Calif.)

Employment

Princeton (N.J.)

Pasadena (Calif.)

Subjects

Atomic and molecular physics.

Cosmology.

Mathematical physics.

Relativity (Physics).

Relationships

People

Family

Robertson, Angela Turinsky

Wife. Married 1923.

Robertson, Anna McLeon

Mother.

Robertson, George Duncan

Father.

Colleagues

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

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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

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

Bardeen, John

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

Bargmann, V. (Valentine), 1908-1989

Both employed at Princeton University.

Barschall, H. H. (Henry Herman), 1915-1997

Both employed at Princeton University.

Bateman, Harry, 1882-1946

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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).

Bitter, Francis, 1902-1967

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Bleakney, Walker, 1901-1992

Both employed at Princeton University.

Boehm, Felix

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Bohm, David, 1917-1992

Both employed at Princeton University.

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

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

Chance, Britton

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

Christy, Robert F.

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974

Both employed at Princeton University.

Dicke, Robert H. (Robert Henry)

Both employed at Princeton University.

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

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

DuMond, Jesse W. M. (Jesse William Monroe), 1892-1976

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Eisenhart, Luther Pfahler, 1876-1965

Both employed at Princeton University.

Epstein, Paul S. (Paul Sophus), 1883-1966

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Feynman, Richard P. (Richard Phillips), 1918-1988

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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

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

Fletcher, James Chipman, 1919-1991

Both employed at Princeton University.

Fowler, William A.

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Gell-Mann, Murray

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Glashow, Sheldon L.

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Glauber, Roy J., 1925-

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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

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

Hellwarth, Robert Willis, 1930-

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990

Both employed at Princeton University.

Houston, W. V. (William Vermillion), 1900-

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

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).

Land, Edwin Herbert, 1909-1991

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

Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Lauritsen, Thomas, 1915-1973

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Leighton, Robert B.

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Montroll, E. W.

Both employed at Princeton University.

Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Piore, Emanuel Ruben, 1908-2000

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

Purcell, Edward M.

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

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

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

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

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

Segal, Irving Ezra

Both employed at Princeton University.

Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008

Both employed at Princeton University.

Shenstone, A. G. (Allen Goodrich)

Both employed at Princeton University.

Slichter, Louis B. (Louis Byrne), 1896-1978

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Smith, Cyril Stanley, 1903-1992

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

Smyth, Henry De Wolf, 1898-1986

Both employed at Princeton University.

Spitzer, Frank, 1926-

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Thomas, Tracy Y. (Tracy Yerkes), 1899-1983

Both employed at Princeton University.

Tollestrup, Alvin

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Tolman, Richard C. (Richard Chace), 1881-1948

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Trilling, George H.

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Weiss, Paul S.

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

Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008

Both employed at Princeton University.

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

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

Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Both employed at Princeton University.

Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000

Both employed at Princeton University.

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

Both employed at Princeton 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).

Additional

Chandrasekhar, S. (Subrahmanyan), 1910-1995

Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978

Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002

Randers, Gunnar, 1914-

Roe, Anne, 1904-1991

Sandage, Allan

Weyl, Hermann, 1885-1955

Institutions

Major Positions

California Institute of Technology. Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy

Obtained PhD (1925). Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Assistant Professor of Mathematical Physics; and Professor of Mathematical Physics.

Princeton University. Department of Physics

Associate Professor of Mathematical Physics and Professor of Mathematical Physics.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Scientific Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

Chief, Scientific Intelligence Advisory Section.

United States. Army Air Forces

Member, Operations Analysis Section, Eighth Air Force.

United States. Department of Defense

Chair, Defense Science Board.

United States. Department of Defense. Weapons Systems Evaluation Group

Director of Research.

United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development

Scientific Liaison Officer, London Mission.

United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development. National Defense Research Committee

Researcher.

United States. President's Science Advisory Committee

Member.

University of Washington. Department of Physics

Obtained BS (1922) and MS (1923).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

H. P. Robertson papers, 1922-1980 (bulk 1936-1966).

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Subject

Anne Roe papers, 1949-1971 (bulk).

Library

American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Bruce H. Morgan lecture notes, 1953-1954.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Charles C. Lauritsen papers, 1927-1977 (bulk 1946-1973).

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Oral history interview with Allan Sandage, 1977 February 8.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Banesh Hoffmann, 1984 October 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Frederick Seitz, 1994 July 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Gunnar Randers, 1986 August 19.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1980 February 11 and 21.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

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

Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1982 February 25, and March 16 and 23.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

1201 East California Blvd. (Mail Code 015A-74), Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

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

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library

Abilene, KS 67410, USA

Published Resources

Author

Relativity and cosmology / [by] H. P. Robertson [and] Thomas W. Noonan.

The theory of groups and quantum mechanics / by Hermann Weyl ... translated from the second (revised) German edition by H.P. Robertson ... with 3 diagrams.

Subject

"Howard Percy Robertson: 1903-1961", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

Howard Percy Robertson Physics Today obituary.