Morse, Philip M. (Philip McCord), 1903-1985

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1903-08-06
Death 1985-09-05
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Morse died in 1985.

From the description of Autobiographical data, ca. 1962. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81716656

Philip McCord Morse was born August 6, 1903, in Shreveport, Louisiana. His parents, Allen Crafts Morse, a telephone engineer, and Edith McCord Morse, soon moved to Cleveland where he grew up. In 1921 Philip Morse started attending Case Institute, but he took the following year off to work in the Radiolectric Shop that he owned with friends. Upon his return to Case he began studying physics with Professor Dayton C. Miller and received his B.S. degree in 1926. That fall Morse went to Princeton University with the help of a scholarship. There, his gas discharge research with Karl Taylor Compton formed the basis for his thesis, "A Theory of the Electric Discharge through Gases." He spent the summer of 1928 at the University of Michigan as a research associate for an industrial research project on electric gas discharge.

In his final year at Princeton Philip Morse received the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, which is given to the graduate student with the highest standing. During this year he worked with Edward U. Condon to produce the book Quantum Mechanics . In April of 1929 he married Annabelle Hopkins and received his Ph.D. in physics two months later. That summer he worked for Bell Laboratories under the guidance of C. J. Davisson.

Philip Morse was an instructor at Princeton for the 1929 academic year, and the following summer he returned to the University of Michigan, this time as a special lecturer in quantum mechanics. He spent the next year on a Rockefeller Fellowship studying with Arnold Sommerfeld in Munich, Germany, and with N. F. Mott and W. S. Massey in Cambridge, England.

At the behest of the new president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Karl T. Compton, Philip Morse joined the physics department as an associate professor in 1931. His research concentrated on acoustics and on astrophysics. His work on the theory of sound absorption resulted in his 1936 book, Vibration and Sound .

Contacts with colleagues at the Harvard Observatory led to the formulation of calculations on the opacities of stellar interiors. Arnold Lowan's WPA work at Columbia on the construction of mathematical tables also interested Morse. He participated in the various mathematical tables projects carried on by the National Bureau of Standards and other federal programs throughout his career. Beginning in 1933, Morse became the graduate registration officer for the physics department, and he continued in this guidance role until 1965 whenever he was at MIT. He was promoted to associate professor in 1934 and professor in 1938.

In response to the growing threat of war, scientists began to change the focus of their research, and Philip Morse was no exception. His association with the Radiation Laboratory housed on the MIT campus started in 1941. There, he identified the similarities of certain ideas used in acoustics to microwaves. At Harvard he served as chairman of a National Research Council project that studied ways to reduce the noise and vibrations made by fighter and bomber planes. During this time he also worked on a National Defense Research Council (NDRC) project for the U.S. Navy, studying methods of countering the new acoustic mines that the Germans were using. In 1942 Morse went to Washington, D.C. to organize and direct a civilian task force to evaluate the United States antisubmarine program. While directly connected with the Navy, the Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Research Group (ASWORG) was funded by the NDRC. The group not only evaluated data, but also visited Navy bases to make direct observations. Before disbanding, the group wrote a report about their efforts, Methods of Operation Research, which was declassified and widely used after 1950. For his war work Philip Morse received the U.S. Medal of Merit.

In 1945 Morse returned to MIT and helped to establish the Acoustics Laboratory with Richard Bolt and Leo Beranek. Morse's return was shortlived, however. The Associated Universities Inc. wanted to start a civilian nuclear research laboratory in connection with the Atomic Energy Commission. In July 1946 he became the scientific director of the Brookhaven National Laboratory. At this time he was also an active member in the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists (the Einstein committee) which sought to educate the public about atomic power.

By 1948 Brookhaven was a firmly established facility and Philip Morse returned briefly to MIT. His assistance was again sought for public service. He went to Washington to organize an operations research team for the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The result was the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEG), and he served as deputy director and director of research until 1950. The WSEG's civilian unit became the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in 1956, and he served on their Board of Trustees. A similar group, RAND, was established to advise the Air Force in 1948, and he was on their Board of Trustees until 1962.

Finally, in 1950 Philip Morse returned to MIT for a longer stay, although his public service activities never ceased. His interest in the new discipline of operations research continued at MIT. He was instrumental in promoting wide acceptance of operations research for non-military uses. By 1952 the Institute offered summer courses in operations research and the Operations Research Center became an official interdepartmental facility in 1956. Morse served as director from 1956 until 1969.

Philip Morse initiated another interdisciplinary program at MIT in an effort to introduce students and professors to the uses of computers in research. The Committee on Machine Methods of Computation began in 1952 with him as chairman. This committee supervised research assistantships that were given to graduate students using computers. In 1955 Morse convinced IBM to fund a computer installed in a building that was partially paid for by IBM. Part of the agreement allowed other New England schools to use the facility. This arrangement eventually became the New England Regional Computing Program (NERComp). By 1957, the Computation Center was dedicated at MIT with Philip Morse as director, a position he held until 1967. The Center received funds from NSF and the Rockefeller Foundation to supplement its costs. After several expansions, timesharing was introduced in the 1960s.

Philip Morse remained active outside of MIT as well. He helped to organize the first International Operations Research Conference in 1957. The International Federation of Operations Research Societies originated at this conference. International interest in operations research led to a 1959 NATO conference where the Advisory Panel on Operations Research (APOR) began with Morse as chairman. The panel, in association with the United States Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development, started training programs, organized conferences, and sponsored visiting consultants to NATO countries. Another APOR was started by Morse in 1964 for the Organization for Educational and Cultural Development. This panel emphasized that operations research could be used for many problems that were not military or industrial. Other international operations research projects that Morse was associated with include lecture tours in Japan, India, Israel, and Taiwan sponsored by the Ford Foundation and in Australia sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation, as well as a fact-finding trip to Nigeria and Tunisia that was associated with the International Relations Committee of the National Academy of Sciences.

Philip Morse's endeavors helped to prove the myriad applications of operations research. His study of the MIT Libraries was one of the first of its kind. Other studies helped him to develop some of his queuing theories.

Philip Morse became an emeritus professor at MIT in 1969. He died in 1985.

  • 1923 - 24 : Salesman, Radiolectric Shop, Cleveland
  • 1924 - 25 : Commercial
  • May 1924: Recipient, Reid Prize in Physics, Case Institute
  • May 1925: Inducted Tau Beta Pi, Case Chapter
  • May 1926: Inducted Sigma Xi, Case Chapter
  • June 1926: Bachelor of Science, Case Institute
  • 1926 - 28 : Class of 1883 Fellow, Princeton University
  • Jan. 1927: Member, American Physical Society
  • June 1927: Master of Arts, Princeton University
  • 1928 June - Sept. 1928 : Research Assistant, University of Michigan
  • 1928 - 29 : Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellow, Princeton University
  • June 1929: Doctor of Philosophy, Princeton University
  • 1929 June - Sept. 1929 : Research Physicist, Bell Telephone Laboratories
  • 1929 - 30 : Instructor in Physics, Princeton University
  • 1930 June - Sept. 1930 : Lecturer at Summer Program, University of Michigan
  • Oct. 1930 - April 1931 : Rockefeller International Fellow, University of Munich
  • 1931 April - Aug. 1931 : Rockefeller International Fellow, Cambridge, England
  • 1931 - 34 : Assistant Professor of Physics, M.I.T.
  • 1932 - 36 : Secretary-Treasurer, New England Section, American Physical Society
  • 1933 - 39 : Member, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1933 - 41 : Graduate Registration Officer, Dept. of Physics, M.I.T.
  • May 1934: Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1934 - 39 : Associate Professor of Physics, M.I.T.
  • April 1936: Elected Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Feb. 1937: Elected Fellow, Physical Society of London
  • 1939 - 69 : Professor of Physics, M.I.T.
  • May 1939: Elected Fellow, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1940 - 42 : Member, Board of Editors, American Physical Society
  • March 1940: Doctor of Science (Hon.), Case Institute
  • 1940 - 41 : Chairman, New England Section, American Physical Society
  • 1940 - 46 : Consultant, Radiation Laboratory, M.I.T.
  • 1940 - 44 : Chairman, NRC Committee on Sound Control
  • 1940 - 42 : Director, Navy-M.I.T. Underwater Sound Project DIC5985
  • 1941 - 49 : Associate Member, New York Academy of Sciences
  • 1942 - 46 : Member, NDRC, Section 6 Board (Undersea Warfare)
  • 1942 - 46 : Director, U.S. Navy Operations Research Group
  • Feb. 1945: Elected Member, Cosmos Club of Washington
  • Dec. 1945: Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance
  • Sept. 1946 - Sept. 1948 : Director, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • 1946 - 48 : Vice President, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1946 - 48 : Member, Naval Research Advisory Committee
  • 1946 - 48 : Member, NRC Undersea Warfare Committee
  • 1946 - 49 : Member, NRC Committee on Program for Nuclear Sciences
  • 1946 - 50 : Technology Review
  • Dec. 1946: Awarded U.S. Presidential Medal for Merit
  • 1947 - 50 : Member, Council, American Physical Society
  • Dec. 1947: Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecturer, American Mathematical Society
  • 1948 - 49 : Member, Board of Trustees, RAND Corp.
  • 1948 - 50 : Member, Board of Governors; American Institute of Physics
  • 1948 - 49 : Member, Visiting Committee for Department of Mathematics, Case Institute
  • Nov. 1948: Lecturer, Armed Forces Staff College, Washington, D.C.
  • March 1949 - June 1950 : Deputy Director and Director of Research, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group
  • 1949 - 55 : Member, Committee on Operations Research, NRC Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
  • 1950 - 65 : Graduate Registration Officer, Department of Physics, M.I.T.
  • 1950 - 52 : Consultant, Weapons Systems Evaluation Group
  • 1950 - 62 : Member, Board of Trustees, RAND Corp.
  • 1950 - 51 : President, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1950 - 51 : Consultant, A.D. Little, Inc., on Operations Research
  • 1950 - 51 : Secretary, M.I.T. Chapter, Sigma Xi
  • 1950 - 52 : Committee on Machine Aids to Computation, M.I.T.
  • 1950 - 53 : Lecturer, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
  • 1951 - 52 : Member, Steering Committee, Acoustics Laboratory, M.I.T.
  • 1951 - 53 : Member, Board of Trustees, Research Society of America (part of Sigma Xi)
  • 1951 - 58 : Member, Ordnance Research Advisory Board (U.S. Army)
  • 1951 - 52 : Member, Founding Committee, Operations Research Society of America
  • Dec. 1951: Invited Lecturer, AAAS, on O.R. and Physics
  • 1951 March - April 1951 : Lecturer, Department of Physics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1951 Aug. - Sept. 1951 : Consultant, RAND Corp., at Santa Monica
  • 1952 - 54 : Member, Science Library Advisory Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1952 - 61 : Member, Committee on the M.I.T. Centennial
  • 1952 - 69 : Chairman, Operations Research Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1952 - 55 : Member, Libraries Executive Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1952 - 53 : First President, Operations Research Society of America
  • 1952 - 56 : Member, Steering Committee, Operations Evaluation Group (U.S. Navy)
  • 1952 - 53 : Member, Advisory Committee, Ordnance Research Office (U.S. Army)
  • 1952 - 56 : Member, Applied Mathematics Advisory Committee, National Bureau of Standards
  • 1952 - 53 : Member, Reorganization Committee, Operations Research Office (U.S. Army)
  • Dec. 1952: Lecturer on O.R., Westinghouse Research Laboratories
  • 1953 - 67 : Chairman, Computation Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1953 - 55 : Member, Governing Board, American Institute of Physics
  • 1953 - 54 : Consultant, Corning Glass Co.
  • 1953 - 54 : Member, Bulletin Committee, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • April 1954: Invited Lecturer, Symposium on Applied Mathematics, American Mathematical Society
  • 1954 - 64 : Chairman, NRC Committee on Revision of Mathematical Tables
  • Dec. 1954: Sigma Xi Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1955 - 63 : Member, Advisory Panel on University Computing Facilities of the National Science Foundation (Chairman, 1961-63)
  • 1955 - 56 : Consultant, Philco Corp.
  • May 1955: Elected Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 1955: Member, ORSA Prize Committee
  • Feb. 1955: Lecturer, Research Society of America
  • 1956 - 57 : Member, Ad Hoc Committee on NROTC, M.I.T.
  • 1956 - 69 : Chairman, Committee of Institutional Representatives to the M.I.T. Computation Center
  • 1956 - 62 : Member, Long Range Planning Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1956 - 61 : Member, Board of Trustee, Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)
  • 1956 - 78 : Annals of Physics
  • 1956 - 60 : Member, Physical Science Study Committee, M.I.T.
  • April 1956: Phi Beta Kappa Lecturer, Duke University (on O.R.)
  • 1956 - 58 : Member, Committee on the Future of the Graduate School (Chairman, 1957-58), M.I.T.
  • Dec. 1956: Sigma Xi Lecturer, Tufts University (on Computers)
  • 1956 - 69 : Director, Operations Research Center, M.I.T.
  • Oct. 1956: Alfred P. Sloan Award for Outstanding Performance of M.I.T. Faculty Member
  • 1956 - 60 : Member, Winchester Citizens Advisory Committee to School Commissioner
  • 1957 - 67 : Director, Computation Center, M.I.T.
  • Sept. 1957: Invited Lecturer, First International Conference on O.R., at Oxford, England
  • Sept. 1957: Invited Lecturer, First Meeting, French O.R. Society in Paris
  • 1958 - 60 : Chairman of the Faculty, M.I.T.
  • 1958 - 60 : Member, Academic Council (ex-officio), M.I.T.
  • 1958 - 60 : Member, Science Library Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1958 - 69 : Member, Faculty Council, M.I.T.
  • Feb. 1958: Member, President's Conference on Automobile Traffic (Williamsburg, Virginia)
  • 1958 - 61 : Lecturer, AIP College Visiting Program (St. Olaf College, Carleton College, Hope College Manhattan College)
  • 1959: Member, Goodwin Medal Committee, M.I.T.
  • 1959 - 68 : Journal of Mathematics and Physics
  • 1959 Aug. - Sept. 1959 : Lecturer, NATO Symposium on O.R. at TCEA, Brussels; Aachen; Oslo
  • 1960 - 61 : Member, Long Range Computation Study Group, M.I.T.
  • 1960 - 61 : Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Proposed Graduate Center, M.I.T.
  • 1960 - 68 : Member, Board of Directors, Adage, Inc.
  • 1960 - 64 : Chairman, NATO Advisory Panel on Operations Research (APOR)
  • April 1960: Chairman, Symposium on University Computers, in Chicago (sponsored by National Science Foundation)
  • 1960 - 64 : Science
  • 1961 - 64 : Secretary General, International Federation of O.R. Societies (IFORS)
  • 1961 - 62 : Member, NSF Fellowship Panel for Physics
  • May 1961: Awarded Silver Certificate, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1961 - 62 : Member, NAS Committee on Natural Resources of U.S. (requested by President Kennedy)
  • 1961 - : Member, Board of Trustees, Council on Library Resources
  • 1961 - 62 : Member, Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the M.I.T. Library
  • 1961: Member, Nominating Committee, American Physical Society
  • May 1961: Awarded Silver Medal of Acoustical Society of America
  • Aug. 1961: Director, Visiting Lecture Series on O.R., in Japan (IDA-JUSE sponsored)
  • Oct. 1961: Visiting Lecturer, Conference on O.R., University of Athens
  • 1962 - 73 : Member, Board of Trustees, Analytic Services Inc. (AnSer)
  • 1962 - 68 : Chairman, OECD Advisory Panel on O.R.
  • 1962 - 63 : Member, Visiting Committee on Mathematics and Physics, Case Institute
  • March 1962: Distinguished Lecturer, Fulbright Program in Mexico, sponsored by Mexican-American Cultural Society
  • April 1962: Lecturer, Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • May 1962: Chairman, Press Conference on Computers and Physics, American Institute of Physics
  • 1962 - 66 : Member, NAS Committee on Computational Needs in Universities
  • 1963 - 64 : Member, Computation Advisory Panel, Honeywell Corp.
  • July 1963: Organizer, IFORS Conference at Oslo
  • 1964: Member, IDA Review Committee
  • June 1964: Invited Lecturer, First Meeting, Hellenic O.R. Society, Athens
  • Aug. 1965: Member, Intrex Planning Conference, M.I.T.
  • Feb. 1965: Awarded Silver Medal, Operational Research Society (U.K.)
  • 1965 - 66 : Member, Advisory Panel, U.S. Army Development Command
  • 1965 June - July 1965 : Director, Visiting O.R. Team to Taiwan, Japan, India (Kanpur-IIT) and Israel
  • September 1965: Invited Lecturer, NATO Conference on Queuing Theory, Lisbon
  • October 1965: Chairman, OECD Conference on O.R. in Government, Dublin
  • 1966 - 69 : Member, Faculty Committee on the M.I.T.-Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies, M.I.T.
  • 1966 - : Member, Board of Directors, Control Data Corporation
  • 1966: Consultant, Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) MGH Program
  • 1966 - 67 : Member, Advisory Panel for BBN Program for Advanced Study (PAS)
  • 1966: Member, Panel on Telecommunication Sciences, U.S. Dept. of Commerce
  • April 1966: Invited Lecturer, Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • September 1966: Chairman, OECD Conference on O.R. in Education, Sandefiord, Norway
  • December 1966: Chairman, OECD Conference on Urban Planning and Transport, Rome
  • 1967 - 70 : Chairman, Advisory Panel to Technical Analysis Division (TAD), National Bureau of Standards
  • 1967 - 70) 1967 : Member, Advisory Committee to the AIP Information Program (Chairman, Subcommittee on System Development of AIP Panel,
  • 1967 - 70 : Member, Scientific Advisory Council, TCU Research Foundation (Texas Christian University)
  • 1967 - 68 : Member, Advisory Panel on Computing to Associated Universities, Inc. (Glennan Panel)
  • Dec. 1967: Member, OECD Conference on Urban Simulation Models, London
  • Dec. 4, 1967: U.S. Representative, Royal Society Celebration of 30th Anniversary of O.R., London
  • 1968 - 70 : Consultant, OECD
  • 1968 - 70 : Technical Advisor, Lecturer, BBN Program for Advanced Study
  • 1968 - 69 : Member, Advisory Panel on Regional Medical Programs, U.S. Public Health Service
  • March 1968: Invited Lecturer, AIAKORSA Conference on Systems Analysis and Social Change
  • October 1968: Delegate, OECD Conference on Computer Simulation and Urban Planning, Paris
  • 1969 - 70 : Member, NAE Committee on Engineering Education
  • 1969: Chairman, Financial Committee, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • 1969 - 73 : Member, Board of Directors, Teknekron
  • Aug. 1969: Invited Lecturer, University of Chicago Library School
  • Oct. 1969: Invited Lecturer, University of North Carolina Library School
  • November 1969: Awarded Lanchester Prize, ORSA
  • November 13, 1969: In Honor of Philip M. Morse
  • 1970: Vice-President-Elect, American Physical Society
  • 1970 April - June 1970 : Visiting Professor of Operations Research, Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • 1970 - 71 : Member, Statistical Data Panel, NAS Physics Survey Committee
  • 1970 - 71 : Member, Committee on Unified Science and Mathematics for Elementary Schools, M.I.T. Education Development Center
  • 1970 - 74 : Chairman, Board of Trustees, New England Regional Computing Network (NERComP)
  • 1971: Vice-President, American Physical Society
  • 1971: Member, Advisory Committee to HUD Sub-Committee for Integrated Planning and Management for Community Development
  • March 1971: Invited Lecturer, University of Hawaii (on O.R. and on physics)
  • April 1971: Distinguished Visitor to Universities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney, Fulbright Program in Australia, sponsored by the Australian-American Educational Fund
  • April 1971: Invited Speaker, O.R. Society of South Australia, Adelaide
  • May 1971: Invited Speaker, Operations Research Society of America Conference, Dallas
  • May 1971: Invited Lecturer, Lecture Series on Systems Concepts for the Private and Public Sectors, California Institute of Technology
  • August 1971: Invited Lecturer, University of Chicago Center for Continuing Education (on library O.R.)
  • 1972: President, American Physical Society
  • 1972: Member, Committee on the Future of the APS, American Physical Society
  • 1972: Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Physics and National Domestic Problems, American Institute of Physics
  • 1970 - 75 : Member, Council, American Physical Society
  • April 1973: Awarded Gold Medal, Acoustical Society of America
  • 1974: Member, Committee on the American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society
  • 1974: Chairman, Lanchester Prize Committee, Operations Research Society of America
  • February 1974: Invited Speaker, University of Mexico (in honor of Professor M. Vallarta)
  • March 1974 - Feb. 1977 : Member, Governing Board, American Institute of Physics
  • Feb. 1974: Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees, New England Regional Computing
  • 1974 - 76 : Network (NERComP)
  • 1974 - 75 : Chairman, Special Study for Strengthening the Capabilities of Less Developed Countries in Systems Analysis, NAS Board on Science and Technology for International Relations
  • October 1974: Awarded Kimball Prize, Operations Research Society of America
  • 1975 - 1980 : Chairman, Governing Board, American Institute of Physics
  • 1975 - 76 : Chairman, Panel on Public Affairs, American Physical Society
  • Jan. 1975: Invited Lecturer, Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of California, Berkeley
  • July 1975: Invited Speaker, Plenary Session, International Federation of O.R. Societies Conference on O.R. in the Service of Developing Economies, Kyoto, Japan
  • July 1975: Director, Visiting O.R. Lecture Team, System Science Institute, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1975 - 80 : Member, Visiting Committee for the School of Library Science, Case Western Reserve University
  • 1977 - 79 : Member, Board of Directors, Perception Technology Corporation
  • 1980 - : Chairman, National Academy of Science Committee on Technical Assistance to the Navaho Nation

From the guide to the Philip McCord Morse papers, 1927-1980, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections)

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