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King, Robert Burnett (World War II, astrophysicist,)



  • Existence: 1908 - 1995


Background: Professor of Physics, 1948-68; Caltech rocket project, 1942-46.


Description: A native of Pasadena, Robert B. King graduated from Pomona in 1930 and received his PhD in astronomy from Princeton in 1933. During the 1930s he taught at MIT and was a reasearch associate at the Mount Wilson Observatory. He became professor of physics at Caltech in 1948.

During the war King was head of the fuze group within the Caltech rocket project, headed by Charles Lauritsen and funded by the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) under contract OEMsr-418. The project was also known as Section L (for Lauritsen). King received several awards, including the President's Certificate of Merit for his contributions to the development of rocket fuzes.


Collection Notes: Robert B. King Fuze Collection: 34 rocket fuzes and parts, designed and manufactured by Caltech for U.S. armed services during World War II.

Papers, 1943-1945. Robert B. King Fuze Collection Documents, including a set of the Confidential Bulletins of Section L (OSRD Contract OEMsr-418), as well as several technical manuals published by the U.S. military. Declassified March 1999.

Collection size: papers, .5 linear feet (one box)

Finding aid available in archives.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Robert B. King

 File — Box Z21: Series II
Identifier: Z21
Scope and Contents

Biographical memoir written by Kenneth H. Olsen, Ward Whaling and Graydon D. Bell, with obituary.

Dates: 19th century to present

Robert B. King Fuze Collection

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1997-00063

Additional filters:

Unprocessed Material 3
Archival Object 1
Astronomy 2
World War II 2
Historical File 1
Manuscript Collection 1
Scientific Apparatus 1