Thompson, William

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William Bell Thompson was born February 27, 1922, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was trained at Canadian universities, receiving his B.A. in physics and mathematics in 1944 and his M.A. in physics in 1947 from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. In 1950 he received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Toronto, Ontario, and went to England to take up an appointment as Senior Fellow in the Theoretical Physics Division at Harwell, the laboratory of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. When a separate facility, Culham Laboratory, was set up for fusion studies, Thompson moved there and remained until his election to the Chair of Theoretical Plasma Physics at Oxford University in 1963.

Thompson first came to the University of California, San Diego, in 1961 as a visiting professor from Culham. In 1965 he was invited to join the new San Diego campus as a founding member of the Physics Department. He spent the next twenty-five years at UCSD, combining research, supervision of doctoral research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities; he was chairman of the department from 1969 to 1972. He retired in 1990.

Thompson's career focused on the development of the theory of plasma physics and its applications in controlled thermonuclear research. He worked in the areas of magnetic fusion, magnetohydrodynamics, the calculation of transport coefficients, heating, instabilities, diffusion, relativistic kinetic theory, counterstreaming plasmas, resonances, toroidal systems and guiding center plasmas in two dimensions. He was also interested in other fields: terrestrial magnetism, planetary dynamics, antimatter, space science, and oceanography. He combined many of these areas in research projects on tethers.

Thompson extended his commitment to teaching beyond his physics laboratories and classrooms. He gave talks and lectures to a range of audiences, participated in interdisciplinary seminars for undergraduates and wrote review articles for his colleagues in other areas of physics.

William B. Thompson died in 1995.

From the guide to the William Thompson Papers, 1963 - 1995, (Mandeville Special Collections Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Rhees, William Jones, 1830-1907. William Jones Rhees Papers, 1744-1907 The Huntington Library
referencedIn , 1819-1869. Houghton Library
referencedIn Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1793 - 1999. Record Of Applications Under The Act Of 1896. 1896 - 1897. 1896 Citizenship Application for William Thompson National Archives at Fort Worth
referencedIn Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South Records, 1940-1997 and undated, (bulk 1993-1997) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Learned Hand papers Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn MISCELLANE0US LETTERS AND PAPERS, viz.:-A. (1) Order by Charles II 'for the better regulateing the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners' (endorsement, f. 2b); 6 Apr. 1677. Copy. A précis, from S. P. Dom., Entry Books 40A, f. 196, is in State Papers Domestic..., 1195-1933 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I (ff. 222). 16 Jan. 1656-5 Apr. 1662.includes:f. 1 Christopher Oxenden, of the E India Co: Bill to C. Yardley: 1656.: Copy.f. 3 Robert Cranmer, of the E India Co: Invoice of goods sent to Surat for accompt of: 1057.ff. 3 (copy), 26, 27 (cop... British Library
creatorOf Sale British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCLXXVIII (ff. 469) 16-31 Jan. 1845.includes:f. 1 Reverend Armiger Sealy, of Bandon: Letter to Sir R. Peel: 1845.f. 3 Charles Cave, Chairman, W India Committee: Letters to Sir R. Peel: 1844-1846.: Signed.ff. 3-13 West Inches: Resolutions,... British Library
referencedIn James Petiver, FRS, Apothecary to the Charter-House: Miscellaneous correspondence (N.B. Petiver died in April 1718, but letters were written to him up to 12 Febr. 1719.): 1697-1718/9, and n.d.Sir Hans Sloane, Baronet: Original correspondence, chronol... British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCXLIX (ff. 455). Jan.-Jun. 1841.includes:f. 1 General Miguel Ricardo de Alava, Spanish diplomatist: Letters to Sir R. Peel: 1825-1841.: Fr.ff.2, 4, 49, 54 William Buckland, geologist: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1823-1848.ff. 6, 26, 33... British Library
referencedIn Antioch Review mss., 1940-2007 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn North Bay historic preservation digital collection, 1900-1978, 1969-1978 Sonoma State University Library North Bay Regional and Special Collections
referencedIn Photographic Portrait File The Huntington Library
referencedIn Vol. VI. (ff. 235). 1703-1759. 1. T[homas] M[adox], antiquary, to Edward Floyde [Lhwyd], "at the Museum in Oxford," ending "There is nobody yet appointed Keeper of the Cotton-Library, nor any salary settled on that place,"; London, 18 Feb. 1702 [3]. ... British Library
referencedIn Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Correspondence, 1819, 1849-1957, 1962 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA
referencedIn United States Sanitary Commission records. Army and Navy Claim Agency archives, 1861-1870 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Vol. XCVII (ff. 328). 8-31 May 1818.includes:f. 1 Nicholas Vansittart, Baron Bexley: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1812-1841.f. 1 Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet; Prime Minister: Correspondence with Lord Bexley: 1812-1841.f. 3 William Young, of... British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCXLVII (ff. 409). 1-23 Apr. 1843.includes:f. 1 Arthur Wills Blundell Sandys Trumbull Windsor Hill, 4th Marquess of Downshire: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1841-1846.ff. 3, 5 Alexander Biackwood, publisher, of Edinburgh: Correspondence ... British Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1865-1891 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
creatorOf LOVETT ALBUMS AND PAPERS. VOL. I. (ff. i+401). Album of letters, mainly to Lovett; 1828-1876, n.d. The pasted-in letters are enclosed in hand-drawn frames containing Lovett’s own identifications of the authors. Missing some of the original number..., 1828-1876 British Library
referencedIn 1963 Danville (Va.) Civil Rights Case Files, 1963-1973 Library of Virginia
referencedIn Vol. ccci. (ff. 437). General Correspondence 15 Oct.-14 Nov. 1767.George III of England: Correspondence of the Duke of Newcastle, Sec. of State, etc.: 1760-1768.includes:ff. 1, 275, 376, 378, 399, 414 William Murray, Baron Mansfield; 1st Earl of Mans... British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCXXXIV (ff. 370). 10-17 Feb. 1835.includes:ff. 1-4 Edward Raleigh Moran, editor of ' The Globe.': Correspondence with T. Venables: 1835.ff. 5, 9 Lord John George de la Poer Beresford, Bishop of Raphoe (1807) and (1819) of Clogher; Archbisho... British Library
creatorOf Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1793 - 1999. Roll of Cherokee Freemen. 1896 - 1897. Kern-Clifton Roll of Cherokee Freedmen National Archives at Washington, D.C
referencedIn National Archives And Records Administration. Rg 23: Coast And Geodetic Survey.
referencedIn Burd-Shippen Papers, 1708-1792 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Coffin, James H. (James Henry), 1806-1873. James Henry Coffin Papers, 1848-1884 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
referencedIn Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1793 - 1999. Record Of Applications Under The Act Of 1896. 1896 - 1897. 1896 Citizenship Application for William Thompson National Archives at Fort Worth
referencedIn Elizabeth R. Boyd Historical Collection on Rutgers University, 1795-1956 Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf William Thompson Papers, 1963 - 1995 Mandeville Special Collections Library
referencedIn Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Correspondence, 1829-1874 Houghton Library
referencedIn Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1863-1879 Smithsonian Institution Archives
referencedIn (II. ff. 511). 16-31 Mar. 1852.includes:f. 1 Sir John Buller Yarde-Buller, 3rd Baronet; and (1858) 1st Baron Churston: Letters to the Postmaster General: 1852. ff. 2, 421, 504 General Beaumont Hotham, 3rd Baron Hotham: Letters to the 4th Lord Hardwi... British Library
referencedIn Blathwayt, William Papers (addenda), 1667-1734, 1668-1672 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Willard A. Bishop Portrait Photography Collection, 1890-1908 Sandusky Library
referencedIn (XIV. ff. 452). 28 Sept.-8 Oct. 1852.includes:f. 4 James Fuller Madox: Letter to the Postmaster General: 1852. ff. 6, 241 Henry George Liddell, 2nd Earl of Ravensworth: Letters to P. Dickson: 1852. f. 9 Sir John Hope, Baronet; MP: Letter to P. Dick... British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCXVII (ff. 423). 21 May-Dec. 1828. British Library
referencedIn Eskridge and Thompson family papers [manuscript] 1773-1921. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Vol. CCXIX (ff. 436). Mar.-Dec. 1829.includes:ff. 1, 24, 273, 276, 290, 336, 370 Sir Joseph Planta, the younger; GCH: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1815-1845.ff. 7, 117 Sir Walter Scott, Baronet; author: Correspondence with Sir R. Peel: 1822-1... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XIV. (ff. 636). Aug. 1854-Nov. 1857.includes:ff. 1, 56, 274 Frederic. T-Dinsdale: Letters to Rev. P. Bliss: 1852-1855. ff. 3, 281 Henry Foss: Letters to Rev. P. Bliss: 1825-1855. ff. 4, 5, 141, 142 Sir Robert Harry Inglis, 2nd Baronet; MP: Le... British Library
referencedIn Vol. XX (ff. 295). S-T.includes:f. 1 Thomas Stack, MD, FRS: Letters to T. Birch: 1744.f. 2 Edward Stone, of Chipping Norton: Letter to Lord Macclesfleld: 1763.ff. 3, 4 Charles Stanhope, brother of William, 1st Earl of Harrington: Letters to T. ... British Library
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associatedWith Blathwayt, William, 1667-1734 person
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associatedWith Burd, James, 1726-1793 person
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correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
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associatedWith Morrison, Philip J. person
correspondedWith Rhees, William J. person
associatedWith Smith, Eli, 1801-1857 person
associatedWith Sonoma State University corporateBody
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith United States Sanitary Commission corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, San Diego corporateBody
associatedWith William Andrews Clark Memorial Library corporateBody
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