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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

James A. Van Allen

Photo

Dates

September 7, 1914 – August 9, 2006

Authorized Form of Name

Van Allen, James A. (James Alfred), 1914-2006

Additional Forms of Names

Allen, James A. Van (James Alfred), 1914-2006

Van Allen, J. A. (James Alfred), 1914-2006

Biography

Abstract

James Van Allen was Regent Distinguished Professor at University of Iowa (1985-2006). Other institutional affiliations included Johns Hopkins University and Carnegie Institution of Washington. His research interests included planetary magnetosphere, cosmic rays, the use of rockets in physical research, and satellites and space probes in planetary and solar physics.

Important Dates

September 7, 1914Birth, Mount Pleasant (Iowa).

1935Obtained BS, Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant (Iowa).

1936Obtained MS, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Iowa).

1939Obtained PhD in Physics, University of Iowa, Iowa City (Iowa).

1939 – 1942Carnegie Research Fellow in Nuclear Physics (1939-1941) and Physicist (1941-1942), Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

1942Physicist, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Md.).

1942 – 1945Officer, United States Navy.

1946 – 1950Physicist, Applied Physics Laboratory, Baltimore (Md.).

1947 – 1948Chair, V-2 Upper Atmosphere Research Panel.

1948 – 1957Chair, Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel.

1951 – 2006Professor of Physics (1951-1972); Head, Department of Physics and Astronomy (1951-1985); Carver Professor of Physics and Astronomy (1972-1985); and Regent Distinguished Professor (1985-2006), University of Iowa, Iowa City (Iowa).

1953 – 1954Research Associate, Princeton University.

1955 – 1958Chair, Technical Panel on Rocketry (1955-1958); Member, Technical Panel on the Earth Satellite Program (1955-1958); Chair, Working Group on Internal Instrumentation (1956-1958); Chair, Technical Panel on Cosmic Rays (1956-1958); and Chair, Technical Panel on Aurora and Airglow (1957-1958), International Geophysical Year.

1957 – 1960Chair, Rocket and Satellite Research Panel.

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

1958 – 1970Member, Space Science Board, National Academy of Sciences.

1959Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1959 – 1972Member, Panel on Science and Tchnology, Committee on Science and Astronautics, United States House of Representatives.

1967 – 1971Member, Planetary Missions Board, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1980 – 1983Member, Space Science Board, National Academy of Sciences.

1982 – 1984President, American Geophysical Union.

1987Awarded National Medal of Science.

August 9, 2006Death, Iowa City (Iowa).

Occupation

Space scientist.

Places

Birth

Mount Pleasant (Iowa)

Undergraduate Education

Mount Pleasant (Iowa)

Graduate Education

Iowa City (Iowa)

Employment

Baltimore (Md.)

Iowa City (Iowa)

Death

Iowa City (Iowa)

Subjects

Cosmic rays.

Geophysics.

Nuclear physics.

Planetary science.

Satellites.

Relationships

People

Advisors & Collaborators

Cahill, Laurence J. (Laurence James), 1924-

Advised by Van Allen at University of Iowa, "Magnetic Exploration of the Upper Atmosphere."

Ellett, Alexander

PhD advisor at University of Iowa, "Absolute cross-section for the nuclear disintegration H2 + H2 --> H1 + H3 and its dependence on bombarding energy."

Tyndall, Edward P. T.

Research advisor at University of Iowa.

Colleagues

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

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Fleming, J. A. (John Adam), 1877-1956

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Forbush, Scott E., 1904-1984

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Hafstad, Lawrence, 1904-

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington and Johns Hopkins University.

Tuve, Merle Antony, 1901-1982

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Vestine, E. H. (Ernest Harry), 1906-1968

Both employed at Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Additional

Alfvén, Hannes

Chapman, Sydney, 1888-1970

Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962

Field, George B., 1929-

Fraser, Lorence

Friedman, Herbert, 1916-2000

Hansen, James E. (James Edward), 1941-

Lust, Reimar, 1923-

Naugle, John E.

Newell, Homer E. (Homer Edward), 1915-1983

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Schwarzschild, Martin

Spitzer, Lyman, 1914-1997

Thorne, Kip S.

Walker, Richard L., 1938-

Wells, James P.

Westphal, J. A. (James Adolph), 1930-2004

Institutions

Major Positions

Carnegie Institution of Washington. Department of Terrestrial Magnetism

Carnegie Research Fellow in Nuclear Physics and Physicist.

Johns Hopkins University. Applied Physics Laboratory

Physicist.

Princeton University. Department of Physics

Research Associate.

United States. Navy

Officer.

University of Iowa. Department of Physics and Astronomy

Obtained MS (1936) and PhD (1939). Professor of Physics; Department Head; Carver Professor of Physics and Astronomy; and Regent Distinguished Professor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

American Geophysical Union

President.

International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958

Chair, Technical Panel on Rocketry; Member, Technical Panel on the Earth Satellite Program; Chair, Working Group on Internal Instrumentation; Chair, Technical Panel on Cosmic Rays; and Chair, Technical Panel on Aurora and Airglow.

Iowa Wesleyan College

Obtained BS (1935).

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member and Member, Space Science Board.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Astronautics

Member, Panel on Science and Technology.

United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Member, Planetary Missions Board.

United States. President's Science Advisory Committee

Consultant.

Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel

Chair.

V-2 Upper Atmosphere Panel

Chair.

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

James Van Allen papers, 1938-1990.

Main Library. Archives

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420, USA

Kip Thorne interviews conducted for his book "Black Holes and Time Warps," 1980-1989.

Institute Archives

California Institute of Technology

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

National Air and Space Museum space astronomy oral history project records, 1981-1986.

Archives Division

Smithsonian Institution. National Air and Space Museum

MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560, USA

Oral history interview with James Van Allen.

University Archives.

Ohio State University

2700 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Responses to History of Geophysics Survey, 1997.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Subject

James P. Wells papers, 1949-1963.

Main Library. Archives

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420, 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 Herbert Friedman, 1980 August 21.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Homer Edward Newell, 1980 July 17 and October 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with James Hansen, 2000 October 23 and November 27.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with James Westphal, 1982 August 9 and 12 and September 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John E. Naugle, 1980 August 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Lorence Fraser, 1983 March 9.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Lyman Spitzer, Jr., 1978 March 15.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Martin Schwarzschild, 1977 March 10, June 3, December 16 and 1979 July 19.

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 Reimar Lust, 2000 December 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral History interview with Richard Walker, 1997 January 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Sydney Chapman papers, 1860-1972.

Elmer R. Rasmuson Library. Alaska and Polar Regions Department. Archives and Manuscript Collections.

University of Alaska

Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA

University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy mission engineering papers, 1962-1980.

Main Library. Archives

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420, USA

University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy mission project manager papers, 1963-1984.

Main Library. Archives

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420, USA

University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy records of James Van Allen, 1951-1987.

Main Library. Archives

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA 52242-1420, USA

Washington University audiotape collection [sound recordings], 1946-1991.

Libraries. Special Collections

Washington University

Box 1061, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

Published Resources

Author

"What is a Space Scientist? An Autobiographical Example," Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 18 (1990): 1-26

Cosmic rays, the sun, and geomagnetism :$bthe works of Scott E. Forbush / James A. van Allan, editor.

Dynamics, composition and origin of the geomagnetically-trapped corpuscular radiation.

Origins of magnetospheric physics / James A. Van Allen.

Scientific uses of earth satellites.

Subject

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

James Alfred Van Allen Physics Today obituary.

James Van Allen : the first eight billion miles / Abigail Foerstner.

Science With a Vengeance: How the Military Created the US Space Sciences after World War II (New York: Springer, 1992)