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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Samuel King Allison Papers 1920-1965

© 2009 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Allison, Samuel King. Papers

Dates:

1920-1965

Size:

19.5 linear feet (39 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

Samuel King Allison (1900-1965), physicist. The papers document his career at the University of Chicago, both as student and faculty member, and his research on X-rays and lithium. The papers also include material on his service as director of the Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies (1945-1965), and his chairmanship of the Physics Section of the National Academy of Sciences. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, course notes, reprints, lectures, and speeches.

Information on Use

Access

The collection is open for research.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Allison, Samuel King. [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Samuel King Allison was born in Chicago on November 13, 1900. In 1917 he entered the University of Chicago and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1921 and his doctorate in 1923. Following his graduation, he became a fellow of the National Research Council at Harvard University (1923-1925); a fellow at the Carnegie Institute (1925-1926); and a member of the faculty at the University of California (1926-1930). In 1930 Allison returned to the University of Chicago, and, from that time until his death in September 1965, continued to be associated with the University.

During his career at the University of Chicago, Allison was not only active as a teacher and a research scientist, but also as an administrator and a civil servant. In the 1930s, Allison conducted experiments with X-rays, and published his results in a book, X-rays in Theory and Experiment. In the 1940s he began work on the liberation of nuclear energy, and was a member of the team working under Enrico Fermi which achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942. Between 1943 and 1944 Allison served as director of the "Metallurgical Laboratory" which was developing a method for producing plutonium.

In November, 1944 Allison joined the Manhattan Project and was chairman of the Technical and Scheduling Committee at the Los Alamos Laboratory. He returned to the University of Chicago in 1945 to become the first director of the newly-formed Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies. While director of the Institute, Allison encouraged the exchange of scientific information, free from military control. Allison also helped to found The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and visited Spain and South America as guest lecturer and advisor.

In order to devote all of his time to research projects, Allison resigned as director of the Fermi Institute in 1958. He continued to travel, however, and was appointed by the Organization of American States to a "Direct Technical Assistance Field Mission" to the Centro Atomico, San Carlos de Variloche. From 1960 to 1963 Allison also served as Chairman of the Physics Section of the National Academy of Sciences.

When Herbert L. Anderson, Allison's successor at the Fermi Institute, resigned in 1963 to continue his research with a new particle accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory, Allison resumed his duties as director. Two years later, on September 1, 1965, Allison died while attending the Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research Conference held in Culham, England.

Scope Note

The Samuel King Allison papers contain 19.5 linear ft. of material that cover the period from the 1920s to the 1960s. The papers document his career at the University of Chicago, both as student and faculty member, and his research on X-rays and lithium. It also includes material on his service as director of the Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies (1945-1965), and his chairmanship of the Physics Section of the National Academy of Sciences. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, course notes, reprints, lectures, and speeches. The files themselves have not been formally processed and reflect the original order of the donation.

The collection has been divided into six series:

Series I contains materials from the University of Chicago.

Series II contains Allison’s X-ray Research.

Series III is Allison’s Lithium Research.

Series IV contains materials from the Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies.

Series V contains materials from the National Academy of Sciences.

Series VI contains Allison’s Visual Materials.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: University of Chicago

Subseries 1: Notes, Outlines, Lectures for Physics Courses

Box 1   Folder 1

General file, departmental courses, undated

Box 1   Folder 2

Physics 326, Spring 1946

Box 1   Folder 3

Physics 262-263, Winter and Spring 1947

Box 1   Folder 4

Physics 242, Summer 1947

Box 1   Folder 5

Physics 211, Spring 1948

Box 1   Folder 6

Physics 105 & 106 & 107, 1948 and 1949

Box 1   Folder 7

Physics 463, Theory of Collisions, undated

Box 1   Folder 8

Nuclear Physics 262 & 263, Winter & Spring 1950

Box 2   Folder 1

Basic, 1951 (Jan. - S.K.A. on committee), undated

Box 2   Folder 2

Physics 362, Fall 1952, undated

Box 2   Folder 3

Physics 362, Spring 1955

Box 2   Folder 4

Physics 102, Winter 1956

Box 2   Folder 5

Physics 215, Autumn, 1956

Box 2   Folder 6

Physics 237, Spring 1958

Box 2   Folder 7

Physics 121, 1959

Box 2   Folder 8

Spring 1959

Box 2   Folder 9

Physics 121, 1960

Box 2   Folder 10

Physics 362, Autumn 1961

Box 3   Folder 1

Physics 223, Spring 1962

Box 3   Folder 2

Physics 237, Spring 1963

Box 3   Folder 3

Physics 235, Autumn 1963

Box 3   Folder 4

Placement Exam, Autumn 1963

Box 3   Folder 5

Physics 235, Autumn 1964

Box 3   Folder 6

Department of Physics, PhD Candidacy Exams, undated

Subseries 2: S. K. Allison's Physics Notebooks

Box 4    Folder 1

Physics 105, 106, 107 (1948)

Box 5   Folder 1

Physics 211, Mechanics, undated

Box 5   Folder 2

Line Spectra, undated

Box 5   Folder 3

"153 Problems in Differential Equations from Murray's Text," S. K. Allison, Math 47, Autumn Quarter, 1920

Box 5   Folder 4

"Notes: Physics 11 First Term," undated

Box 5   Folder 5

"Electricity and Magnetism" (Filed September, 1954), undated

Box 5   Folder 6

Sophomore Physics, Mechanics, undated

Box 6   Folder 1

Sophomore Physics, Sound and Heat, undated

Box 6   Folder 2

Alpha Particles, Counting Analyses, undated

Box 6   Folder 3

Solutions to Electro Chemistry Problems, undated

Box 6   Folder 4

Theoretical Physics, Part One, Electricity and Magnetism, Fall Quarter, undated

Box 6   Folder 5

Notes on Theory of Definite Integrals and Fourier Series, undated

Box 6   Folder 6

Solved Problems, Spring 1921

Box 6   Folder 7

Physics 361, X-Rays: "Scattering from Gases, i.e. the Dispersion," undated

Box 7   Folder 1

Original X-Ray lectures, 1931-1932: Maxwell's Equations, undated

Box 7   Folder 2

Physics 254, "Elect - Mag.," undated

Box 7   Folder 3

Physics 356, Atomic Spectra & Atomic Structure, undated

Box 7   Folder 4

Thermodynamics (1920)

Box 7   Folder 5

Electron (1920)

Box 7   Folder 6

"Electricity and Magnetism" (1929)

Box 7   Folder 7

Electron Theory Book I (1922)

Box 7   Folder 8

Electron Theory Book II (1922)

Box 8   Folder 1

Number 1: Notes on Electromagnetic Theory of Light (Kimble's Lectures), undated

Box 8   Folder 2

Number 2: (Contents listed on outside of notebook) (1925)

Box 8   Folder 3

Number 3: (Contents listed on outside of notebook), undated

Box 8   Folder 4

Number 4: (Contents listed on outside of notebook), undated

Box 8   Folder 5

Number 5: (Contents listed on outside of notebook), undated

Box 8   Folder 6

"Atommechanik," undated

Box 9   Folder 1

Physics 357, 1947

Box 9   Folder 2

Physics 362, Fall 1961

Box 10   Folder 1

Stopping Theory, undated

Box 10   Folder 2

Nuclear Physics Lectures, IV (Contents listed), undated

Box 10   Folder 3

Stopping Power, Kevatron Research, current, undated

Box 11   Folder 1

Nuclear Physics Lecture I, Contents listed on outside cover, undated

Box 11   Folder 2

Nuclear Physics Lecture II, Contents listed on outside cover, undated

Box 12   Folder 1

Nuclear Physics Lecture III, Contents listed on outside cover, undated

Box 12   Folder 2

Lecture material A, undated

Box 13   Folder 1

Lectures material B, undated

Box 13   Folder 2

Thick target scattering, undated

Subseries 3: Physics 235

Box 14   Folder 1

Lecture notes, undated

Box 14   Folder 2

Exams, undated

Box 14   Folder 3

Homework, undated

Box 14   Folder 4

Miscellaneous material, undated

Box 14   Folder 5

Laboratory, undated

Box 14   Folder 6

Student records, undated

Subseries 4: Miscellaneous Notes and Correspondence

Box 15   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1945-1963

Box 15   Folder 2

20th Anniversary of Chain Reaction, undated

Box 15   Folder 3

Physics department, 1945-1949

Box 15   Folder 4

Physics College, 1959

Box 15   Folder 5

Notes, undated

Box 15   Folder 6

Notes, undated

Series II: X-ray Research

Box 16   Folder 1

Apparatus

  • Accelerating Tubes, undated
  • Counting Circuits, undated
  • Cloud Chambers, undated
  • Miscellaneous, undated
  • Vacuum Spectrometers, undated
  • Photographic Spectrometers, undated
  • Resistances, undated
  • Insulators, undated
  • Oils, undated
  • Transformers, undated
  • Vacuum, undated
Box 16   Folder 2

Angular Distribution

  • Angular Distribution, undated
  • Applications to Life Science, undated
  • Radio-Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, undated
  • Radio-Oxygen, Sodium, undated
  • Radio-Phosphorus, undated
  • Radio-Sulfur, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine, undated
  • Radio-Potassium, Calcium, Strontium, undated
  • Radio-Iron, undated
  • Other radioactive substances, undated
Box 16   Folder 3

Application to Medical Sciences

  • Radio-Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, undated
  • Radio-Sodium, undated
  • Radio-Phosphorus, Lukemia, undated
  • Radio-Phosphorus, miscellaneous, undated
  • Radio-Sulfur, Halogens, undated
  • Radio-Potassium, Calcium, undated
  • Radio-Iron, undated
  • Neutrons, undated
  • Other radio-active substances, undated
  • Miscellaneous, undated
Box 16   Folder 4

Artificial Radioactivity

  • By alpha particles, undated
  • By deuterons, undated
  • By protons, undated
  • General, undated
Box 16   Folder 5

Beta Ray Spectra

  • Heavy elements, undated
  • Light elements, undated
  • Neutrinos, undated
  • Theory, undated
Box 16   Folder 6

Constitution of nuclei

  • Nuclear forces, undated
  • Nuclear levels, n.d
  • Magnetic moments, n.d
  • Nuclear particles, undated
Box 17   Folder 1

Cosmic rays, undated

Box 17   Folder 2

Cyclotron, undated

Box 17   Folder 3

Fission

  • Absorption of, undated
  • Experiment, undated
  • Theory, undated
Box 17   Folder 4

Gamma rays

  • Excitation of, undated
  • Internal conversion, undated
  • Origin of, undated
  • Widths of levels, undated
  • Selection of rules, undated
Box 17   Folder 5

High potential sources

  • Van de Graaf, undated
  • Cockroft Wallon, undated
Box 17   Folder 6

Institutional reports, undated

Box 17   Folder 7

Ion sources

  • Ion sources, undated
  • Ion sources, undated
  • Installation, undated
  • Theory, undated
Box 18   Folder 1

Detection

  • Of gamma rays, undated
  • Of particles, undated
Box 18   Folder 2

Disintegration

  • By alpha particles, undated
  • By deutrons, undated
  • By electrons, undated
  • Energies of, undated
  • Excitation of, undated
  • Natural disintegrations, undated
  • By neutrons, undated
  • By protons, undated
Box 18   Folder 3

"The X-Ray K Spectra of Some Heavy Elements," by David Saxon, undated

Box 18   Folder 4

X-Rays, undated

Box 19   Folder 1

Isomerism, undated

Box 19   Folder 2

Isotopes

  • 0 Z 30, undated
  • 30 Z 60, undated
  • 60 Z, undated
  • Distribution of, undated
Box 19   Folder 3

Masses, undated

Box 19   Folder 4

Mesotrons, undated

Box 19   Folder 5

Neutrons, undated

Box 19   Folder 6

Orbital electron capture, undated

Box 19   Folder 7

Pair emission

  • Experiment, undated
  • Theory, undated
Box 19   Folder 8

Photodisintegration, undated

Box 19   Folder 9

Radio Chemistry, undated

Box 19   Folder 10

Ranges

  • Of alpha particles, undated
  • Of deutrons and protons, undated
  • Of electrons and positrons, undated
Box 20   Folder 1

Scattering

  • Of alpha particles, undated
  • Neutrons - proton, undated
  • Proton - proton, undated
  • Of electrons, undated
  • Of other particles, undated
Box 20   Folder 2

Statistics

  • Of radioactive decay, undated
  • Of counting circuits, undated
  • Of nuclei, undated
  • Other particles, undated
Box 20   Folder 3

"Focussing of Spheres", undated

Box 20   Folder 4

Stellar energies, undated

  • Star evolution, undated
Box 20   Folder 5

Summarizing articles, undated

  • High voltage power supply, undated
  • Ranges of particles, undated
  • D-D reaction, undated
  • Energy selection by modulation, undated
  • Mass life and various materials, , undated
  • Protection from collimation, undated
  • Efficiency of - production of, undated
  • Velocity selection, undated
  • Scattering, undated
  • Slowing down of, undated
  • Reaction induced by, undated
Box 21   Folder 1

Neutrons in fission, undated

  • High energy, undated
Box 21   Folder 2

Neutrons - high energy, undated

  • Scattering of, undated
Box 21   Folder 3

Neutrons - resonance, undated

  • Capture, theory, undated
  • Capture, experiment, undated
  • Weather of levels, undated
  • Scattering of, undated
Box 21   Folder 4

Neutrons - thermal, undated

  • Absorption, experiment, undated
  • Absorption, theory, undated
  • Diffusion, experiment, undated
  • Disintegration produced by --, undated
Box 21   Folder 5

Neutrons, general, undated

Series III: Lithium Research

Box 22

Nineteen envelopes containing, for the most part, experimental data on lithium, undated

Box 23

Seven envelopes containing experimental data on lithium, undated

Series IV: Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies

Subseries 1: Correspondence, Articles, and Speeches

Box 24   Folder 1

Allison `Diary' concerning bomb tests at Alamogordo, New Mexico, July 16, 1945; Article for Science, November 16, 1962, about Arthur H. Compton. Reprint and letters, 1962

Box 24   Folder 2

Trustees Dinner, January 1960, Speech and Correspondence (University of Chicago), 1960

Box 24   Folder 3

Article for Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 1962, "Thoughts on the 20th Anniversary of the First Chain Reaction." Correspondence and article

Box 24   Folder 4

Twentieth Anniversary of the First Chain Reaction Luncheon, December 1, 1962

Box 24   Folder 5

I.A.E.A. Bulletin, December 1962

Box 24   Folder 6

Comments on basic research for NAS, 1963

Box 24   Folder 7

Speech for National Association of Physical Plant Administration, May 1963

Box 24   Folder 8

Miscellaneous

Box 24   Folder 9

Reprints (duplicates) of Allison's articles, undated

Box 24   Folder 10

"Science and Government" delivered for the University College, ca. 1958

Box 24   Folder 11

"Science and Scientists as National Assets" delivered at Chicago Teachers Union, April 19, 1958

Box 24   Folder 12

"Science and Scientists" delivered at Monsanto Science Club, St. Louis, September 23, 1958

Box 24   Folder 13

"Phi Beta Kappa," Chicago, June 10, 1959

Box 24   Folder 14

"The Moon, Sputniks, Sewer Pipes and Atoms," Navy Pier, 1959

Box 24   Folder 15

Allison's memoirs of A. H. Compton, manuscript and reprint, undated

Box 24   Folder 16

H. A. Bethe, Honorary Degree presented by SKA, Convocation, June 12, 1953

Box 24   Folder 17

Book reviews, undated

Box 25   Folder 1

Enrico Fermi file, 1955

Box 25   Folder 2

"On the Hydrogen Bomb," 1950 and 1956

Box 25   Folder 3

Reprint of article "Uranium and the Shape of Things to Come," appeared in Confluence, April 1956

Box 25   Folder 4

E. P. Winger Honorary Degree, December 20, 1957

Box 25   Folder 5

"Survival of the fittest: Race for Space," undated

Box 25   Folder 6

American Society for Metals dinner, November 1957

Box 25   Folder 7

"Thoughts on the Tenth Anniversary of First Chain Reaction," article which appeared in the University of Chicago Magazine, December 1952

Box 25   Folder 8

Alumni lecture, December 18, 1952

Box 25   Folder 9

A. H. Compton Honorary degree, December 18, 1952

Box 25   Folder 10

"Comments on Universities in U.S.," (Reply to Leopold Infeld), April 23, 1952

Box 25   Folder 11

Hamburg Conference on Cultural Freedom, July 24-25, 1953

Box 25   Folder 12

Symposium on Intellectual Freedom and the Elections, October 29, 1952

Box 25   Folder 13

Research Corporation Dinner (Libby Award), ca. March 18, 1952

Box 25   Folder 14

"Responsibilities of a University Professor," Puerto Rico, March 15, 1951

Box 25   Folder 15

Experimental Program of Institute for Nuclear Studies, Mexico, 1950

Box 25   Folder 16

"The State of Physics or the Perils of Being Important," November 26, 1949

Box 25   Folder 17

Reprints of articles: "Control and Beneficial Use of Atoms"; "Atomic Energy in Industry and the Physical Sciences"; "Institute for Nuclear Studies," , undated

Box 26   Folder 1

Correspondence, Advisory Council (Science) of the Democratic National Committee, undated

Box 26   Folder 2

Miscellaneous correspondencev

Box 26   Folder 3

Assorted old publications, undated

Box 26   Folder 4

MPE, Report and meeting, November 20, 1953

Box 26   Folder 5

Pare Lorentz film "No Place to Hide," script, undated

Box 26   Folder 6

"Condon and Shortley," , undated

Box 27   Folder 1

Argonne Midwest Accelerator, file inactive since 1957

Box 27   Folder 2

Brookhaven Visiting Committee, file inactive since 1959

Box 27   Folder 3

Letters on x-ray book to Van Norstrand Co., Inc. and letters from A. H. Compton about book, undated

Box 27   Folder 4

Books: Abridged edition of B. O. Pierce's "A Short Table of Integrals"; Second revised edition of "A Short Table of Integrals"; Fourth edition of Barlow's Tables, undated

Box 28

Reprints of articles, undated

Box 29

Correspondence, Penetration of Charged Particles, 1956-1957

Box 30   Folder 1

Oak Ridge Reports, 1956-1958

Box 30   Folder 2

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1945-1963

Box 30   Folder 3

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1945-1963

Box 30   Folder 4

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1945-1963

Box 30   Folder 5

Louis Slotin, personal history, 1945-1948

Box 30   Folder 6

Slotin Memorial Fund, 1947-1960

Subseries 2: Betatron Files

Box 31   Folder 1

Betatron equipment, undated

Box 31   Folder 2

Betatron equipment, undated

Box 31   Folder 3

Betatron budget estimates, undated

Box 31   Folder 4

Betatron, undated

Box 31   Folder 5

Betatron, "Donut", undated

Box 31   Folder 6

G. E. Conference, January 23-24, 1951

Box 31   Folder 7

Betatron, technical file, 1949-1950

Box 31   Folder 8

Betatron, operating rules, proposed, undated

Box 31   Folder 9

Betatron, magnet, undated

Box 31   Folder 10

Monthly statements of expenditures and encumbrances for 100 mev. betatron, 1949-1950, 1950-1951, 1951-1952

Box 32   Folder 1

Betatron, financial statements and finances, undated

Box 32   Folder 2

Betatron, health physics, undated

Box 32   Folder 3

Betatron, letters to G. E., undated

Box 32   Folder 4

Betatron, contracts, undated

Box 32   Folder 5

Betatron pole change, undated

Box 32   Folder 6

Betatron, letters to G. E., Chicago Office, 1950

Box 32   Folder 7

Various, undated

Box 32   Folder 8

Various, undated

Subseries 3: Notes, Memoranda, and Correspondence, undated

Box 33   Folder 1

Institute, Nuclear Physics Journal Club, undated

Box 33   Folder 2

Institute, housing, undated

Box 33   Folder 3

Crank letters, undated

Box 33   Folder 4

Allison, engagements, 1949-1950

Box 33   Folder 5

Allison, engagements, 1946

Box 33   Folder 6

Allison, engagements, miscellaneous, undated

Box 33   Folder 7

Atomic power letters, undated

Box 33   Folder 8

Atomic Scientists of Chicago, undated

Box 33   Folder 9

Bush - Groves - Hutchins, undated

Box 33   Folder 10

Franck, undated

Box 33   Folder 11

Ford Foundation (C. S. Smith to C. C. Lauritsen) , undated

Box 33   Folder 12

Libby, undated

Box 33   Folder 13

MGM movie, undated

Box 33   Folder 14

Mulliken, undated

Box 33   Folder 15

Press releases, undated

Box 34   Folder 1

Flugge article, undated

Box 34   Folder 2

Allison, personal correspondence, aid to California, undated

Box 34   Folder 3

Allison, personal correspondence, lure, visa situation, undated

Box 34   Folder 4

Institute, miscellaneous, undated

Box 34   Folder 5

Purchase orders, 1948-1955

Box 34   Folder 6

(3 in 1) travel expenses, undated

Subseries 4: Correspondence

Box 35   Folder 1

General correspondence, ca. 1953-1955; Engagement calendar, 1956-1957

Box 35   Folder 2

Personal correspondence before 1955

  • McCarrau Act, undated
  • Rosenberg case, undated
  • Britannica article, undated
  • Hydrogen bomb, undated
  • Condon case, undated
  • Clearance laws and Loyalty Board, undated
Box 35   Folder 3

Correspondence regarding Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion Panel, 1965

Series V: National Academy of Sciences

Box 36   Folder 1

Allison's trip to Egypt in 1960, January through March, under the auspices of the Department of State, undated

Box 36   Folder 2

Allison's trip to Egypt in 1960, January through March, under the auspices of the Department of State, undated

Box 36   Folder 3

Allison's trip to Argentina, undated

Box 36   Folder 4

American Institute of Physics, Visiting Scientists Program, undated

Box 36   Folder 5

Physics, Teaching of, undated

Box 37   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1956-1964

Box 37   Folder 2

Atomic Energy Bills, printed copies, 1945

Series VI: Visual Materials

Box 38

Glass lantern slides of charts, graphs, drawings, and photographs of nuclear research equipment, used for lectures and seminars (FRAGILE), undated

Box 39

Glass lantern slides of charts, graphs, drawings, and photographs of nuclear research equipment, used for lectures and seminars (FRAGILE), undated