Loeb, Leonard B.Alternative names
Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley for 36 years and Professor Emeritus for 20 more.
From the description of Supplement to Autobiography : typescript, 1970 February. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 214932738
Leonard Benedict Loeb (1891-1978), physicist.
From the description of Oral history interview with Leonard B. Loeb, 1962 August 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83622721
Physicist (electrical phenomena, gaseous electronics, atomic and molecular physics). On the physics faculty at University of California at Berkeley from 1923; consultant, United States Naval Ordnance Laboratory, 1945-1955; member, subcommittee on physics, National Research Council, 1928-1938. Died in 1978.
From the description of Student notebooks, 1914-1915. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78201737
Leonard Benedict Loeb was born September 16, 1891 in Zurich, Switzerland. He is the son of the famous German biologist Jacques Loeb and Anne Leonard, a descendent of a colonial American family. His early life was spent in Chicago, Illinois and Berkeley, California, in the stimulating intellectual and social circle of his parents.
Loeb attended the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University before receiving his B.S. in 1912 in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago. Impressed with the lectures of Robert A. Millikan, in 1913 he switched his attention to physics. In 1916 he received his Ph.D. in physics under Millikan from the University of Chicago. His thesis was on measuring the mobility of gaseous ions in high electrical fields. He had attempted to measure the break-up of the gaseous ions but found that in the fields he measured, they didn't break-up. This observation left so much to be clarified that it began for him a lifetime of research in the field of gaseous electronics.
After working for the U.S. Bureau of Standards for a year, he went overseas in January 1918 with the U.S. Expeditionary Force to work on spark plugs for airplanes. He returned to the United States in 1919 after having worked for a short period in the laboratories of Jean Perrin in Paris and Ernest Rutherford in Manchester.
In 1923 he began two long-lasting associations. He accepted an assistant professorship in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley and was commissioned in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
By 1929 he was made a full Professor. He took an active part not only in teaching and writing basic texts but, also, in departmental recruiting.
The 1930s were very productive years for Loeb both in his research work and in his publishing. He and his graduate students did original work in the fields of ion and electron mobilities, electron attachment and negative ion formation, recombination, ionization by electron impact and second Townsend coefficients. In 1936 he began what was to become an intensive study of coronas and discovered the streamer spark mechanism.
During the second World War he was assigned by the Navy first to the Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, Virginia, to work on armor plate and projectiles, and then to the Degaussing School at San Francisco, California. Despite his absences from the University, the assignments during these years didn't slow his publishing activities, nor did they prevent him from supervising his graduate students.
Upon his return to the University after the war, he resumed his duties as a student advisor and worked to get the Physics Department functioning at a normal level. Interest in gaseous electronics declined in the post war years, but he continued to publish and to attract new graduate students even after his retirement in 1959. In 1964 he became associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research and in 1965 published a book on electrical coronas. He died in Monterey, California in 1978.
From the guide to the Leonard Benedict Loeb Papers, 1916-1970, (The Bancroft Library)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Physics--Study and teaching|
|Wave theory of light|
|World War, 1914-1918--Science|
|Wave-motion, Theory of|
|Lectures and lecturing|