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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Natural and Applied Sciences Archives: Physics

These topic guides provide a starting point for finding source materials related to the history of science and technology at the University of Illinois. Please note that these guides are not definitive or comprehensive and are periodically updated.
Black-and-white photograph of Donald Kerst and the betatron, circa 1946

Donald Kerst and the betatron, ca. 1946

Physics Archival Holdings

A complete list of Department of Physics record series is available in the Archives database.

College and Departmental Records

  • Physics Department Subject File, 1929-2000 (Record Series 11/10/1): Contains correspondence, reports, memoranda, and publications concerning academic policy, department administration, faculty appointments and promotions, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, betatron, PLATO, professional societies and organizations, and national laboratories and institutions.
  • Betatron Project Records, 1941-1945 (Record Series 11/10/10): Includes financial records, correspondence, and notebooks concerning design, production, experimentation, and project support.
  • Betatron Correspondence, 1938-1970 (Record Series 11/10/11): Contains employment records for Donald W. Kerst; a copy of a paper entitled "An Account of the Historical Investigations that Led to the Development of the Betatron" (1945); Kerst's correspondence concerning the development of the magnetic induction accelerator; design improvements; betatron experimentation; laboratory plans; publicity and funding; relations with other laboratories; patent rights; staffing; and Kerst's leaves of absence at General Electric, Los Alamos, and the Midwest Universities Research Association.
  • Research Laboratory Betatron Files, 1941-1990 (Record Series 11/10/12): Includes copies of patents; design calculations and drawings; financial reports; Physics Research Laboratory (PRL) operating manuals; and correspondence, reports, news clippings, photographs, and publications concerning the history of the betatron, betatron installations in other locations, laboratory operations, relations with other laboratories, funding, patent applications and interference cases, the cyclotron, and linear accelerators.
  • Physics Department Annual Reports, 1907-1980 (Record Series 11/10/804): Contains reports and correspondence concerning departmental activities, courses taught, research conducted, teaching assignments, departmental visitors, speakers, and budget and location needs. Digital surrogates of the Annual Reports are available.

Faculty and Staff Papers

  • Louis N. Ridenour Papers (Record Series 7/1/20): Includes correspondence, reports, publications, book reviews, and manuscripts relating to military research and development, nuclear energy, atomic and hydrogen bombs, international diplomacy, loyalty and security, the MIT Radiation Laboratory, metallurgy, solid-state physics, libraries, the Atomic Energy Commission, and contract and consulting projects. Access restrictions apply. Digitized records are available.
  • John Bardeen Papers (Record Series 11/10/20): Includes publications, honorary degrees, student dissertations and theses, correspondence, reports, notes, photographs, slides, tape-recorded interviews, and motion pictures concerning theoretical physics, solid-state physics, development of the transistor, xerography, development of the theory of superconductivity, 1956 and 1972 Nobel prizes and lectures, many body theory, Russian and Chinese physics research, American Physical Society, Army Research Office, Bell Laboratories and the transistor, Center for Advanced Study, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, Navy Research Office, White House Science Council, Xerox Corporation, and electrolytic transistor patents. Digitized records are available.
  • Frederick Seitz Papers (Record Series 11/10/23): Includes correspondence, reports, publications, minutes, and proposals concerning administration of scientific organizations, programs, and research including the American Institute of Physics, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and National Academy of Sciences; advisory service with federal agencies and industrial research programs including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Atomic Energy Commission, United Aircraft, and national laboratories; national science policy; the University of Illinois Department of Physics and Coordinated Sciences Laboratory; and department administration.  
  • Floyd R. Watson Papers (Record Series 11/10/24): Contains correspondence, photographs, publications, laboratory notebooks, and other materials relating to the acoustics of auditoriums, architectural acoustics, viscosity of liquids, and sound absorption.
  • Jakob Kunz Papers (Record Series 11/10/26): Includes student theses; faculty photographs; correspondence and manuscripts on science, religion, and peace; and research, manuscripts, and publications relating to the development of the photoelectric cell. A digitized signed photograph of Kunz is available.
  • P. Gerald Kruger Papers (Record Series 11/10/28): Includes publications, correspondence, photographs, conference notes, reports, and research concerning the Midwestern Universities Research Association (MURA), high-energy physics, accelerator sites, funding proposals, development of the U of I cyclotron and high-energy particle accelerator, elliptical dipole superconducting magnets, Boron mouse experiments, and radiation cataracts.
  • Donald W. Kerst Papers (Record Series 11/10/30): Includes correspondence, laboratory notebooks, blueprints, manuscripts, reports, and research concerning betatron design and development, the Office for Scientific Research and Development, the Midwestern Universities Research Association (MURA), patents, the Illinois physics department, General Electric laboratory, and the Los Alamos laboratory.
  • Donald M. Ginsberg Papers (Record Series 11/10/41): Includes publications, correspondence, reports, and course materials concerning theoretical physics, low-temperature physics, and superconductivity.

Publications and Reference Files

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