Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1899-07-14
Death 1981-09-13
English

Biographical notes:

Died in 1981.

From the description of Oral history interview with Gregory Breit, 1975 December 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81865399

Physicist (quantum theory, nuclear physics, quantum electrodynamics). National Research Council Fellow, University of Leiden (1921-1922), and at Harvard University (1922-1923); on the physics faculty at University of Minnesota (1923-1924); on the staff of Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution (1924-1929); on the physics faculty at New York University (1929-1934); University of Wisconsin (1934-1947); Yale University (1947-1974); and Distinguished Service Professor at State University of New York at Buffalo (1968-1976). Died in 1981.

From the description of Notes taken by students of Breit at Yale University, 1952-1954. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 77646604

Gregory Breit was born on July 14, 1899 in Nickolaev, Russia. He attended the School of Emperor Alexander from 1909 to 1915. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1915 and became a naturalized citizen in 1918. Breit received the A.B. (1918), the M.A. (1920), and the Ph. D. (1921) from Johns Hopkins University. He was a National Research Council Fellow at the University of Leyden from 1921 to 1922, and at Harvard University from 1922 to 1923. He was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Minnesota (1923-1924), professor of physics at New York University (1929-1934), and Yale University (1947-1968), and a Distinguished Service Professor of physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1968-1976). He conducted research at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and at the University of Chicago, where as the coordinator of the Fast Neutron Project, Metallurgical Laboratory (Manhattan Project), he was involved in the early development of the atom bomb. Breit was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the Franklin Medal, and the T.W. Bonner Prize of the American Physical Society. He died in Salem, Oregon in 1981.

From the description of Gregory Breit papers, 1929-1980 (inclusive), 1960-1970 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79142958

Gregory Breit was born on July 14, 1899 in Nickolaev, Russia. He attended the School of Emperor Alexander from 1909 to 1915. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1915 and became a naturalized citizen in 1918. Breit received the A.B. (1918), the M.A. (1920), and the Ph.D. (1921) from Johns Hopkins University. He was a National Research Council Fellow at the University of Leyden from 1921 to 1922, and at Harvard University from 1922 to 1923. He was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Minnesota (1923-1924), professor of physics at New York University (1929-1934), and Yale University (1947-1968), and a Distinguished Service Professor of physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1968-1976). He conducted research at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and at the University of Chicago, where as the coordinator of the Fast Neutron Project, Metallurgical Laboratory (Manhattan Project), he was involved in the early development of the atom bomb. Breit was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the Franklin Medal, and the T. W. Bonner Prize of the American Physical Society. He died in Salem, Oregon in 1981.

From the description of Gregory Breit papers, 1929-1980 (inclusive), 1960-1970 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702171091

Gregory Breit was born on July 14, 1899, in Nickolaev, Russia. He attended the School of Emperor Alexander from 1909 to 1915. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1915 and became a naturalized citizen in 1918. Breit received the A.B. (1918), the M.A. (1920), and the Ph.D. (1921) from Johns Hopkins University. He was a National Research Council Fellow at the University of Leyden from 1921 to 1922, and at Harvard University from 1922 to 1923. He was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Minnesota (1923-1924), professor of physics at New York University (1929-1934), and Yale University (1947-1968), and a Distinguished Service Professor of physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1968-1976). He conducted research at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and at the University of Chicago, where as the coordinator of the Fast Neutron Project, Metallurgical Laboratory (Manhattan Project), he was involved in the early development of the atom bomb. Breit was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the Franklin Medal, and the T. W. Bonner Prize of the American Physical Society. He died in Salem, Oregon, in 1981.

Gregory Breit was born on July 14, 1899,in Nickolaev, Russia. He was a student at the School of Emperor Alexander in Nickolaev from 1909 to 1915. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1915 and became a citizen through the naturalization of his father in 1918.

Breit received the A.B. (1918), the M.A. (1920), and the Ph.D. (1921), from Johns Hopkins University. He was a National Research Council Fellow at the University of Leyden from 1921 to 1922, and at Harvard University from 1922 to 1923.

He began his teaching career in 1923 when he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor of physics. From 1924 to 1929, he was a mathematical physicist at the department of terrestrial magnetism at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. where he initiated experiments in nuclear physics and developed with M.A. Tuve and other colleagues the multi-section high-voltage accelerating tube and made early measurements on nuclear reactions. During several months in 1928, Breit was a resident at the Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland.

Breit was professor of physics at New York University from 1929 to 1934, and at the University of Wisconsin from 1934 to 1947. He was a research associate at the Carnegie Institution (1929-1944); a member of the Physical Sciences Division of the National Research Council (1932-1933, 1938-1941); a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (1935-1936); and councillor of the American Physical Society (1935-1938).

During World War II Breit was on the staff of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, Washington Navy Yard (1940-1941), where he developed degaussing methods to protect naval ships against German magnetic mines. In 1942 Breit was named information chief coordinator of the Fast Neutron Project, Metallurgical Laboratory (Manhattan Project), at the University of Chicago, where he was involved in the early development of the atom bomb.

From 1942 to 1943 Breit was a member of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University where he conducted research on the proximity fuse which was used to stop the "buzz bomb" attacks on Great Britain and Belgium. He was a member of the Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland as head physicist and member of the director's Scientific Advisory Committee from 1943 to 1945. His war service also included research for the Uranium Committee of the National Defense Research Committee, headquartered at the National Bureau of Standards.

In 1952, before the United States detonated the world's first hydrogen bomb, Breit conducted research at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Yale's Sloane Physics Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory which proved that a hydrogen bomb explosion would not cause a worldwide chain reaction.

Breit joined the faculty of Yale University as professor of physics in 1947 and was named the first Donner Professor at Yale in 1958. After reaching mandatory retirement in 1968, Breit accepted a position as Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He continued to conduct research after 1976 as professor emeritus.

A prolific author of scientific articles, Breit was also associate editor of the Physical Review (1927-1929, 1939-1941, 1954-1956, 1961-1963), associate editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1951-1960), and consultant to the editor of Il Nuovo Cimento (1964-?).

Breit was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1939, was made a fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1945, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1951. He was also a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Physics Society (London), and the Geophysical Society. Breit was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1954, the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1964, the National Medal of Science in 1967, and the T. W. Bonner Prize of the American Physical Society in 1969.

Gregory Breit married Marjorie MacDill in 1927. They had no children. He died in Salem, Oregon, on September 13, 1981.

From the guide to the Gregory Breit papers, 1917-1991, (Manuscripts and Archives)

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Subjects:

  • National security
  • Manhattan Project (U.S.)
  • Wave mechanics
  • Atomic theory
  • Complementarity (Physics)
  • Nuclear physics--Research
  • Nuclear research--United States
  • Physics--History
  • World War, 1939-1945--War work
  • Nuclear physics
  • Quantum theory--History
  • Relativity (Physics)
  • Nuclear physics--Study and teaching
  • Nuclear fission--Security measures

Occupations:

  • Physicists
  • Educators

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)