Bacher, Robert F. (Nuclear Physicist)
- Existence: 1905 - 2004
Background: Caltech Professor of Physics, 1949-1976; Caltech Vice President, 1969-1970; Caltech Provost, 1962-1970; Chairman, Caltech Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, 1949-1962.
Biographical/Historical Description: Robert Bacher began his career as a faculty member at Cornell, working in the area of nuclear physics. During World War II, he worked first at the radar program at the MIT Radiation Laboratory under Lee DuBridge. In 1943 he moved to Los Alamos to work on the atomic bomb. After the war he was one of the first members of the US Atomic Energy Commission (1946-49). He served on the President's Science Advisory Committee in 1953-55 and 1957-60. Bacher remained a close associate of Lee Dubridge who left MIT in 1946 to become president of Caltech. Bacher held several important administrative posts at Caltech including being the first Provost in Caltech's history. As chairman of the Caltech Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy he shaped the program in high-energy physics, based on the new electron synchrotron. He was responsible for bringing many talented people to Caltech, particularly in elementary particle theory and including Professors Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. He also initiated the program in radio astronomy with the creation of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory.
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral History, 1981, 1983. This 215 page oral history is based on 10 interviews and covers many aspects of Bacher's personal and professional life.
Found in 18 Collections and/or Records:
Overview The working papers, correspondence, publications, photos and biographical materials of Robert F. Bacher (1905-2004) form the collection known as the Papers of Robert F. Bacher in the Archives of the California Institute of Technology. Bacher was a nuclear physicist who during World War II worked on radar at the MIT Radiation Laboratory and then from 1943 at Los Alamos on the atomic bomb. He was one of the first members of the US Atomic Energy Commission (1946-49). He served on the faculty and...
Scope and Contents An interview in ten sessions, 1981 and 1983, with Robert F. Bacher, chairman of the Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy (1949-1962), Caltech's first provost (1962-1969), and professor of physics, emeritus. He recalls his education at the University of Michigan and graduate work in physics at Harvard (1926-27) and Michigan, where he got to know J. R. Oppenheimer and the European physicists who joined the faculty and/or came for the summer sessions in physics: Goudsmit, Uhlenbeck,...
Dates: 1981-06-09 - 1983-02-23
Robert F. Bacher Symposium: Reinventing Caltech and A Vision for the Next 25 Years of Physics and Astronomy at Caltech
Dates: 1925-1991, bulk 1925-1964