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 AuthorPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

John A. Simpson

Photo

Dates

November 3, 1916 – August 31, 2000

Authorized Form of Name

Simpson, John A. (John Alexander), 1916-2000

Additional Forms of Names

Simpson, J. A. (John Alexander), 1916-2000

Simpson, John Alexander, 1916-

Biography

Abstract

John Simpson was Emeritus Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at University of Chicago. His research interests included cosmic radiation origin; galactic, solar and magnetospheric acceleration of particles; experiments on nuclear composition, spectra, time variations of radiation with neutron monitors, satellite and space probes; and interplanetary and solar magnetic fields deduced from particle propagation.

Important Dates

November 3, 1916Birth, Portland (Or.).

1940Obtained AB, Reed College, Portland (Or.).

1942Obtained SM in Physics, New York University, New York (N.Y.).

1943Obtained PhD in Physics, New York University, New York (N.Y.).

1943 – 1946Group Leader, Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

1945 – 1946Chair, Executive Committee, Atomic Scientists of Chicago.

1945 – 2000Instructor in Physics (1945-1947); Assistant Professor of Physics (1947-1949); Associate Professor of Physics (1949-1954); Chair, Committee on Biophysics (1951-1952); Professor of Physics (1954-1968); Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor (1968-1974); Director, Enrico Fermi Institute (1973-1987); Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Physics (1973-1987); and Emeritus Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Physics (1987-2000), University of Chicago, Chicago (Ill.).

1946 – 1954Science Consultant, Argonne National Laboratory.

1954 – 1960Member, Special Committee (1954-1960); Member, United States National Committee (1955-1958); and Member, Technical Panel on Cosmic Rays (1955-1958), International Geophysical Year.

1958 – 1966Member, Space Science Board, National Academy of Sciences.

1959Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1964 – 1967President, International Commission on Cosmic Radiation.

1970 – 1971Chair, Division of Cosmic Physics, American Physical Society.

August 31, 2000Death, Chicago (Ill.).

Occupation

Nuclear physicist.

Places

Birth

Portland (Or.)

Undergraduate Education

Portland (Or.)

Graduate Education

New York (N.Y.)

Employment

Chicago (Ill.)

Death

Chicago (Ill.)

Subjects

Cosmic rays.

Geomagnetism.

Geophysics.

Nuclear energy.

Nuclear physics.

Relationships

People

Advisors & Collaborators

Korff, Serge A. (Serge Alexander), 1906-1989

PhD advisor at New York University, "Reduction of the natural insensitive time in Geiger–Müller counters."

Stone, Edward, 1936-

Advised by Simpson at University of Chicago, "Low energy cosmic-ray protons."

Treiman, Sam B.

Advised by Simpson at University of Chicago, "Analysis of the nucleonic component based on neutron latitude variations," and both employed at University of Chicago.

Colleagues

Allison, Samuel King, 1900-1965

Both employed at University of Chicago and the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Anderson, Herbert Lawrence

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Ashcroft, Neil W.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Cohen, Morrel H.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Crewe, Albert V.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Cronin, James W., 1931-2016

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Daniels, Farrington, 1889-1972

Both employed at Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Dempster, Arthur Jeffrey

Both employed at University of Chicago and at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Eckart, Carl, 1902-1973

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Falicov, L. M. (Leopoldo Maximo), 1933-1995

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Fano, Ugo

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Ference, Michael, 1911-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Fisk, Zachary

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Friedman, Jerome I. (Jerome Isaac), 1930-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Fritzsche, Hellmut

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Goldberger, Marvin L.

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project and University of Chicago.

Hartle, J. B. (James B.)

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Hilberry, Norman, 1899-

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Kadanoff, Leo P.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Koshiba, Masatoshi, 1926-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Lederman, Leon M.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Libchaber, Albert J.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Massey, Walter E.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Mayer, Maria Goeppert, 1906-1972

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Morrison, Philip

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Nagel, Sidney R.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Nambu, Yoichiro, 1921-2015

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Parker, E. N. (Eugene Newman), 1927-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Phillips, J. C.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Rieser, Leonard M.

Both employed at Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Sachs, Robert Green, 1916-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Schramm, David N.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Schrieffer, J. R. (John Robert), 1931-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Schwinger, Julian, 1918-1994

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

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

Both employed at Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Shochet, Melvyn J.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Szilard, Leo

Both employed at Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project, and University of Chicago.

Telegdi, Val, 1922-2006

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Tsui, D. C. (Daniel Chee), 1939-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Turkevich, Anthony, 1916-2002

Both employed at Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Wald, Robert M.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Weinberg, Alvin Martin, 1915-2006

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Wentzel, Gregor, 1898-1978

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Both employed at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Winstein, Bruce

Both employed at University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi Institute.

Yang, Chen Ning, 1922-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Zener, Clarence, 1905-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Institutions

Major Positions

Enrico Fermi Institute

Director.

Manhattan Project (U.S.)

Group Leader, Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory.

United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development. Metallurgical Laboratory

Group Leader, Manhattan Project.

University of Chicago. Department of Physics

Instructor; Assistant Professor; Associate Professor; Chair, Committee on Biophysics; Professor; Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor; Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor; and Emeritus Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Physical Society

Chair, Division of Cosmic Physics.

Argonne National Laboratory

Science Consultant.

Atomic Scientists of Chicago

Chair, Executive Committee.

International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958

Member, Special Committee; Member, United States National Committee; and Member, Technical Panel on Cosmic Rays.

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member, and Member, Space Science Board.

New York University. Department of Physics

Obtained SM (1942) and PhD (1943).

Reed College (Portland, Or.). Physics Department

Obtained AB (1940).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

John A. Simpson papers, 1940-1988.

The Joseph Regenstein Library. Department of Special Collections

University of Chicago

1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

Published Resources

Author

"Cosmic Ray Astrophysics at Chicago (1947-1960)," in Early History of Cosmic Ray Studies, ed. Yentaro Sekido and Harry Elliot (Boston: D. Reidel: 1985), 385-409

Guide to the John A. Simpson papers / George A. Reisch.

Subject

"John Alexander Simpson: 1916-2000", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

"Origins of Magnetospheric Physics," in History of Rocketry and Astronautics, ed. Cargill R. Hall (San Diego: American Astronautical Society: 1994)

"Preparing for the Space Age: University-Based Research, 1946-1957," Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 18 (1987): 89-109

John Alexander Simpson Physics Today obituary.