Wilson, E. Bright (Edgar Bright), 1908-

Alternative names
Birth 1908-12-18
Death 1992-06-12

Biographical notes:

Born in Gallati, Tennessee on 18 December 1908. Died: 12 July 1992. Education: B.S., Chemistry, Princeton University (1930), M.A., Princeton University (1931), Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, California Institute of Technology (1933). Employment: 1933-1934 California Institute of Technology; 1942-1944 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; 1944-1946 National Defense Research Committee; 1952-1953 Department of Defense; 1934- Harvard University.

From the description of Oral history interview with E. Bright Wilson, Jr., 1986 November 17 & 18 (Chemical Heritage Foundation). WorldCat record id: 715391589

Edgar Bright Wilson (1908-1992), physical chemist, was a leader in the study of molecules through spectroscopy. He was the Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University from 1947 to 1979.

He obtained his doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, where he studied with Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, in 1933. With Linus Pauling he wrote An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry, which was published in 1935. His long career at Harvard began with a 1934 appointment as a junior fellow.

His career also led him beyond Harvard. During World War II, he worked on the improvement of underwater explosives at Woods Hole, Mass. Later, he was a trustee of the Oceanographic Institute. In the 1950s he directed research for the Department of Defense. He also chaired the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on radioactive waste. In 1967 he was among a number of prominent scientists urging an end to the war in Vietnam. He retired from Harvard in 1979, but continued his research as a professor emeritus.

From the description of Papers of Edgar Bright Wilson, Jr., 1935-1983 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76973220


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Ark ID:


  • Chemistry--Study and teaching (Higher)
  • Quantum theory
  • Molecular spectroscopy
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Chemists--Biography
  • Chemists--Interviews
  • Chemistry, Physical and theoretical--Research


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  • United States (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge (as recorded)