Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968

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Lauritsen, C. C. (1892- 1968). Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology, 1930-1962.

From the description of Papers, 1927-1977 (Bulk 1946-1973) (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80301645

Biography

Charles Christian Lauritsen, known to his colleagues as Charlie or C. C., was born in Holstebro, Denmark in 1892 and educated at the Odense Technical School. During World War I, although Denmark officially remained neutral, Lauritsen chose to leave Europe for the United States, where he and his wife, the former Sigrid Henriksen, and son Tommy first settled in Florida. After some years of working at engineering and design jobs around the country, Lauritsen began his formal study of physics after hearing a talk by Robert A. Millikan, Caltech's president. Enrolling at Caltech in 1927, he received his PhD in 1929 and was appointed to the physics faculty in 1930.

Charlie Lauritsen spent his entire academic career at Caltech. Beginning with his work with Millikan on the cold-emission effect (the subject of his dissertation), he went on to construct with R. D. Bennett a high-voltage X-ray tube that operated initially at 750 and later at one million volts. Though designed originally to study physical problems, the "Hi Volts" lab was also used for radiation therapy for cancer patients. In 1931 Millikan established the Kellogg Radiation Laboratory with funds from the cornflakes magnate, W. K. Kellogg. From this point on, the Kellogg Laboratory would be the scene of major breakthroughs in the new science of nuclear physics. From the first artificial production of neutrons with a positive ion accelerator, the team of Lauritsen, H. R. Crane, W. A. Fowler, T. Lauritsen (son of Charles) and many others created a world-renowned center for the study of nuclear reactions.

During World War II, Lauritsen was called to Washington to head up research into weapons design. He soon transferred his project, Section L (L for Lauritsen) of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), to Pasadena, where he drew on the Kellogg team plus numerous other Caltech scientists and engineers for the design and development of combat rockets. By late 1944, after over one million rockets had been produced for the war effort, Lauritsen decided to turn the project over to the navy, and he was instrumental in the founding of the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) at Inyokern, California (today the China Lake Naval Weapons Center). Thereafter Lauritsen turned his efforts to the development of the atomic bomb. After the war, he continued to advise the U.S. government on strategic weapons and on defense policy, eventually serving on over sixty committees, panels and advisory groups.

Much honored for his wartime and scientific work, Lauritsen retired from Caltech in 1962. He died after a long battle with cancer in April, 1968.

From the guide to the Charles Christian Lauritsen papers, 1927-1977, (California Institute of Technology. Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Crane, H. R. (Horace Richard), 1907-2007. Oral history interview with H. R. Crane, 1973 March 28 and 18 June 1974. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Serber, R. (Robert). Oral history interview with Robert Serber, 1967 February 10. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Evans, Robley Dunglison, 1907-. Oral history interview with Robley D. Evans, 1972 May 2 to 14 June 1978. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Anderson, Carl D. (Carl David), 1905-. Oral history interview with Carl Anderson, 1979 January 9 -February 8. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Fowler, William A. Oral history interview with William A. Fowler, 1983 May 3 - May 31, 1984. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Fowler, William A. Oral history interview with William Alfred Fowler, 1972 June 8, 1973 Feb. 5, 1974 May 30. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Oppenheimer, Frank, 1912-1985. Oral history interview with Frank Oppenheimer, 1984 November 16. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn King, Robert B. (Robert Burnett). Robert B. King fuze collection, 1943-1945. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. Oral history interview with Jesse Leonard Greenstein, 1982 February 25, and March 16 and 23, 1982. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Ford Foundation. Study for the Ford Foundation on Policy and Program. Records, 1947-1956, 1948-1950 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn William A. Fowler papers, 1917-1994 California Institute of Technology. Archives.
referencedIn Thomas Lauritsen papers, 1922-1974 California Institute of Technology. Archives.
creatorOf Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968. Papers, 1927-1977 (Bulk 1946-1973) American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Fowler, William A. Papers, 1917-1995. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Lauritsen, Thomas, 1915-1973. Papers, 1922-1974, (bulk: 1952-1973) American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Salpeter, Edwin E. Oral history interview with Edwin Ernest Salpeter, 1978 March 30. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968. Speech at the dedication of the Naval Ordnance Test Station Weapons Center in Inyokern, California [sound recording] / 1964 November 4. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Panofsky, Wolfgang Kurt Hermann, 1919-. Oral history interview with Wolfgang Kurt Hermann Panofsky, 1973 May 15 to 1974 June 3. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Charles Christian Lauritsen papers, 1927-1977 California Institute of Technology. Archives.
referencedIn Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988. Oral history interview with Luis Alvarez, 1967 February 14 and 15. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967. Oral history interview conducted with Sir John Cockcroft, 1967 March 28. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Lauritsen, Charles Christian. 1892-1968. Oral history interview with Charles Christian Lauritsen, 1966 June 27. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alvarez, Luis W., 1911-1988. person
associatedWith American Institute of Physics. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Carl D. (Carl David), 1905- person
associatedWith Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905- person
associatedWith Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005. person
associatedWith Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973. person
associatedWith Buchta, J. W. (J. William), 1895-1966. person
associatedWith California Institute of Technology corporateBody
associatedWith California Institute of Technology. High Voltage Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967. person
associatedWith Crane, H. R. (Horace Richard), 1907-2007. person
associatedWith Darrow, Karl K. (Karl Kelchner), 1891- person
associatedWith DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994. person
associatedWith Evans, Robley Dunglison, 1907- person
associatedWith Ford Foundation. Study for the Ford Foundation on Policy and Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Fowler, William A. person
associatedWith Gavin, James M., 1907-1990 person
associatedWith Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard), 1909-2002. person
associatedWith Kent, Robert H., 1886-1971 person
associatedWith King, Robert B. (Robert Burnett) person
associatedWith Lauritsen, Thomas, 1915-1973. person
associatedWith Liddel, Urner, 1905- person
associatedWith Liddel, Urner, 1905-1979 person
associatedWith Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953. person
associatedWith Naval Ordnance Test Station (Inyokern, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Oppenheimer, Frank, 1912-1985. person
associatedWith Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967. person
associatedWith Palomar Observatory. corporateBody
associatedWith Panofsky, Wolfgang Kurt Hermann, 1919- person
associatedWith Robertson, H. P. (Howard Percy), 1903-1961. person
associatedWith Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937 person
associatedWith Salpeter, Edwin E. person
associatedWith Serber, R. (Robert) person
associatedWith Tuve, Merle Antony, 1901-1982. person
associatedWith United States. Office of Naval Research corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley. corporateBody
associatedWith Weiner, Charles. person
associatedWith Zacharias, Jerrold Reinach, 1905-1986. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
United States--California
Subject
World War, 1939-1945--War work--United States
Science and state
Physical instruments
Particle accelerators
Accelerators
Accelerators--United States--California
X-rays
Medical physics
World War, 1939-1945--Science
World War, 1939-1945--War work
Nuclear physics
Nuclear physics--Instruments
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Occupation
Physicists
Function

Person

Birth 1892

Death 1968

Information

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