DuMond, Jesse W. M. (Jesse William Monroe), 1892-1976Alternative names
From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154302843
Jesse William Monroe DuMond, experimental physicist, was born in Paris on July 11, 1892, to expatriate American parents, Fredrick Melville DuMond and Louise Adele Kerr. After the death of his mother before he was two years old, DuMond was cared for by his maternal grandmother, Catherine E. Kerr, a resident of Paris, up to the age of seven. In 1899 young DuMond came to the U.S. to live with his paternal grandparents. From his grandfather, Alonzo Monroe DuMond, who had founded a sheet-metal business in Rochester, the young Jesse learned practical manual skills and a deep respect for craftsmanship. In 1905 the DuMond grandparents moved with their grandson to California, settling permanently in Monrovia, just east of Pasadena. Young Jesse graduated from Monrovia High School in 1911. He subsequently entered Throop College of Technology, the forerunner of the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena in September, 1912, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1916. For his thesis, he designed and built a harmonic analyzer, a type of mechanical calculator.
After graduation DuMond accepted a position with General Electric at their testing facility in Schenectady, New York. In the spring of 1918 he joined the American Expeditionary Forces in France and served until the Armistice. In 1920 DuMond married Irene Gaebel, a Frenchwoman. The couple had three children, a son and two daughters. They were divorced in 1942, and DuMond married Louise Marie Baillet in that same year. Returning to the U.S. in 1920, DuMond took a year's job at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC. In September 1921 he returned to his alma mater, since 1920 called the California Institute of Technology, to undertake a Ph.D. in physics. DuMond received his doctorate in 1929 with the thesis, "Experimental and Theoretical Studies of the Breadth and Structure of the Compton Shifted Line." For this work, he designed and built, with the aid of his first graduate student Harry A. Kirkpatrick, a multi-crystal spectrograph. This apparatus housed fifty calcite crystals, each carefully regulated to focus spectral lines with high intensity and resolution. The results confirmed DuMond's interpretation of the broadening and structure of the Compton shifted line and provided support for the Rutherford-Bohr dynamic atomic model.
Although he accepted briefly a professorial position at Stanford in 1931, DuMond returned to Caltech, where he served on the faculty for thirty-four years, becoming associate professor in 1938, full professor in 1946, and emeritus in 1963. During the 1930s DuMond's research in spectroscopy was based on the ingenious design and careful construction of original apparatus. Much of the work was carried out by DuMond himself, with some help from students and from the gifted personnel of Caltech's machine shops. DuMond and his associates produced in these years a 30-kilowatt X-ray tube operating at 300 kilovolts, a precision two-crystal spectrometer, and the large curved crystal gamma-ray spectrometer. The latter instrument, whose development spanned World War II, opened the door to a whole family of spectrometers that were used all over the world in a variety of nuclear spectroscopy studies. The original curved crystal spectrometer, called the Mark I, was presented to the Smithsonian Institution by Caltech in 1990.
Beginning in the 1930s, DuMond and his students embarked upon a series of experiments on the fundamental atomic constants, particularly, the charge and mass of the electron and Planck's constant, h. With the work of R. T. Birge at Berkeley, DuMond's continuing investigation of the fundamental constants in the late 1930s and again after World War II in collaboration with E. Richard Cohen remained definitive until the late 1960s. With E. Richard Cohen and K. M. Crowe DuMond published the book, Fundamental Constants of Physics, in 1957.
DuMond was the author or coauthor of more than 175 papers on physical topics. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1953, and was also a member of Sigma Xi. He received two honorary doctorates, from the University of Uppsala in 1966 and the University of Manitoba in 1967. He also received a distinguished service award from Utah State University in 1974. He died in Pasadena on December 4, 1976, at the age of 84.
From the guide to the Jesse W. M. DuMond Papers, 1912-1976, (California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives)
|referencedIn||Edward U. Condon Papers, Circa 1920-1974||American Philosophical Society|
|creatorOf||DuMond, Jesse W. M. (Jesse William Monroe), 1892-1976. Autobiography of a physicist: Volumes I and II, 1972.||American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library|
|creatorOf||Darrow, Karl K. (Karl Kelchner), 1891-. Karl Kelchner Darrow Papers, 1872-1978, (bulk 1917-1972)||American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library|
|creatorOf||DuMond, Jesse W. M. (Jesse William Monroe), 1892-1976. Papers.||American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library|
|referencedIn||Archive for the History of Quantum Physics, 1898-1950 (bulk), 1898-1950||American Philosophical Society|
|creatorOf||Jesse W. M. DuMond Papers, 1912-1976||California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives.|
|creatorOf||DuMond, Jesse W. M. (Jesse William Monroe), b. 1892. Papers, 1912-1976.||California Institute of Technology, Caltech Library|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Physics--Study and teaching|
|World War, 1939-1945--Science|