Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-2004

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Robert R. Bacher (1905-). Physicist (high-energy physics, nuclear energy), California Institute of Technology.

From the description of Papers, 1940-1987. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81716582

Physicist. Cornell University, 1935. During World War II, worked in the radar program at the MIT Radiation Laboratory;Manhattan Project, Head of the Experimental Physics Division, 1943-1944, and head of the bomb physics division, 1944-1945;Member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1946-1949; 1949 Caltech, chairman of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy; 1962 Provost of Caltech; 1969 he was appointed Vice-President. He retired in 1976 and lived in Montecito California, until his death in 2004.

From the description of The Papers of Robert F. Bacher, 1926-1994. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154306217

Physicist (high energy physics, nuclear energy). Major affiliations: Cornell University, 1935-1949; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Lab, 1941-1945; Los Alamos Laboratory, 1943-1945; Atomic Energy Commission, 1946-1949; California Institute of Technology, 1949-1976 when he became Emer. Prof. of Physics until his death in 2004.

From the description of Oral History interview with Robert F. Bacher, 1966 June 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154305396

From the description of Oral History interview with Robert F. Bacher, 1986 February 13. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154305399

Biography

Robert Fox Bacher was born in 1905 in Loudenville, Ohio. He attended the University of Michigan, receiving a BS degree in 1926 and a PhD in 1930. His research in the early 1930s focused on spectroscopy and nuclear physics, concentrating on atomic energy states and hyperfine structures. Many of his early papers were collaborative in nature, and included work with Samuel Goudsmit, with whom he coauthored Atomic Energy States in 1932.

In 1935 Bacher joined the faculty at Cornell University, where he concentrated on such subjects as neutron scattering and the development of new techniques for exploring the inner structure of the atom with bubble and cloud chambers. Also, he co-wrote with H. A. Bethe and M. S. Livingston several famous articles on nuclear physics, many of which were republished in Reviews of Modern Physics and which for years remained a standard textbook in the field.

During World War II, he worked first in the radar program at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, under Lee DuBridge. After Robert Oppenheimer urged him to do so, Bacher moved to Los Alamos to work on the Manhattan Project in 1943. There, he served first as head of the division of experimental physics (1943-1944), then as head of the bomb physics division (1944-1945). As such, Bacher was a key figure in the construction of the atomic weapons that exploded at Trinity site in July of 1945 and then over Hiroshima and Nagasaki the following month.

After the war Bacher returned to Cornell as professor of physics but soon thereafter relocated to Washington to serve as one of the first members of the new United States Atomic Energy Commission. As a member of this new government organization, Bacher participated in many of the meetings of the fledgling United Nations Atomic Energy Commission and therefore played a significant role in the formation of national and international policy concerning the use of atomic energy and nuclear weapons.

In 1949, Bacher finally accepted an offer to come to Caltech as chairman of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, a position that he held for thirteen years. As chairman, he initiated and promoted numerous programs of considerable importance to the Institute, including the construction of the new electron synchrotron which by the summer of 1952 was operating at 500 Mev. Bacher was also responsible for enlisting key members of Caltech's research group in particle physics, led by professors Richard P. Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann. He also played a significant part in "Project Vista" in the summer of 1951. Although his time as an experimental physicist dwindled during these years, Bacher nonetheless retained a keen interest in the development of particle physics and ensured Caltech remained at the forefront of the discipline.

In 1961, the Institute realized that it needed a highly-skilled administrator to deal with the increasingly complex activities of the campus. With the blessing of the Divisions, the President and the Board of Trustees, Caltech created the new position of Provost and in 1962 Bacher became its first incumbent. As Provost, his activities centered on the development of the divisions, but also included various venture funds, plans to implement computing resources and faculty ethics. In 1969, Bacher was appointed Vice-president as well, and even after resigning from this position and the provostship his administrative duties remained significant: he was instrumental in the development of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory for radio astronomy, he sat on a number of committees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and he continued to influence many of the important policies at Caltech.

Meanwhile, Bacher's influence outside of the California Institute of Technology remained strong. After resigning from the Atomic Energy Commission, he continued to counsel the President as a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) while he also participated in the activities of a host of corporations and professional organizationsthe American Physical Society, Edison Electric, the Hughes Aircraft company, the Claremont colleges, the National Academy of Sciences, Rand Corporation and the Universities Research Association to name but a few. In addition, Bacher's opinion concerning nuclear power and weapons was sought the world over, and for this reason he remained an important sounding board for such associations as The California Seminar on Arms Control and Foreign Policy and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . By 1990, however, Bacher had considerably curtailed these activities, and moved to Montecito, California. He died in 2004.

From the guide to the Robert F. Bacher Papers, 1924-1994, (California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Records of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. 1939 - 1947. Records Relating to Receiver Components
creatorOf Smithsonian Videohistory Program. The Manhattan Project oral history interviews [videorecording] / 1987-1990. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Dennison, David M. (David Mathias), 1900-1976. Informal moments, Summer Symposia at the University of Michigan [motion picture] / taken by David Dennison ; 1933-1937. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Smith, Cyril Stanley, 1903-1992. Oral history interview with Cyril Stanley Smith, 1976 September 23. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978. Papers, 1921-1978. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000. Robert R. Wilson papers, 1936-2000. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-2004. Oral History interview with Robert F. Bacher, 1986 February 13. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968. Papers, 1927-1977 (Bulk 1946-1973) American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Archive for the History of Quantum Physics, 1898-1950 (bulk), 1898-1950 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008. Oral history interview with John Archibald Wheeler, 1967 April 5. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-. Oral History interview with Robert F. Bacher, 1966 June 30. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978. Oral history interview with Samuel Abraham Goudsmit, 1963 December 5 and 7. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-. The Papers of Robert F. Bacher, 1926-1994. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Bacher, Robert F. (Robert Fox), 1905-. Papers, 1940-1987. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994. Papers, 1932-1986. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Robert F. Bacher Papers, 1924-1994 California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives.
referencedIn National Air and Space Museum. Dept. of Space History. The Rand History Project, 1985-1990. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Moritz, Bernard,. Memorandum of understanding : report, 1968 Dec 11. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives
referencedIn Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. Records, 1946-1951 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Sands, Matthew L. (Matthew Linzee). Oral history interview with Matthew L. Sands, 1987 May 4 and 5. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Brookhaven National Laboratory. Interview transcripts, 1966-1986. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Robert R. Wilson papers, 1936-2000. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Higinbotham, William A. Response to 1981 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1982. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Charles Christian Lauritsen papers, 1927-1977 California Institute of Technology. Archives.
referencedIn Lee A. DuBridge papers, 1932-1986 California Institute of Technology. Archives.
referencedIn Marshak, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1916-1992. Oral history interview with Robert Marshak, 1970. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Niels Bohr Library. The Emilio Segrè visual archives, A-D, [ca. 1870]-9999. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aaserud, Finn, person
associatedWith Abraham, Max, 1875-1922 person
associatedWith Amaldi, Edoardo, 1908-1989 person
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Physical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith American Physical Society and American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Andrade, E. N. da C., (Edward Neville da Costa), 1887-1971 person
associatedWith Back, Ernst, 1881-1959 person
associatedWith Bauer, Edmond, 1880-1963 person
associatedWith Becquerel, Jean, 1878-1953 person
associatedWith Benedicks, Carl Axel Fredrik, 1875-1953 person
associatedWith Berliner, Arnold, 1862-1942 person
associatedWith Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005. person
associatedWith Bethe, Hans Albrecht person
associatedWith Birge, Raymond T., (Raymond Thayer), 1887-1980 person
associatedWith Bohr, Niels Henrik David person
associatedWith Bohr, Niels Henrik David, 1885-1962 person
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associatedWith Breit, Gregory, 1899-1981 person
associatedWith Broglie, Louis de, 1892-1987 person
associatedWith Brookhaven National Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Brown, Harold person
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associatedWith Cockcroft, John, Sir, 1897-1967 person
associatedWith Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962 person
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associatedWith Darwin, Charles Galton, Sir, 1887-1962 person
associatedWith Debye, Peter J. W., (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966 person
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associatedWith Dirac, P. A. M., (Paul Adrien Maurice), 1902-1984 person
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associatedWith DuBridge, Lee Alvin person
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associatedWith Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. corporateBody
associatedWith Fermi, Enrico person
associatedWith Feynman, Richard Phillips. person
associatedWith Fokker, A. D., (Adriaan Daniel), 1887-1972 person
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associatedWith Fowler, William A. person
associatedWith Franck, James, 1882-1964 person
associatedWith Gell-Mann, Murray person
associatedWith Gell-Mann, Murray. person
associatedWith Gerlach, Walther, 1889-1979 person
associatedWith Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978. person
associatedWith Haber, Fritz, 1868-1934 person
associatedWith Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976 person
associatedWith Higinbotham, William A. person
associatedWith Hilbert, David, 1862-1943 person
associatedWith Joliot-Curie, Frédéric person
associatedWith Jordan, Pascual, 1902-1980 person
associatedWith Kamerlingh Onnes, Heike, 1853-1926 person
associatedWith Kapitsa, P. L., (Petr Leonidovich), 1894-1984 person
associatedWith Kayser, H., (Heinrich), 1853-1940 person
associatedWith Kemble, Edwin C., (Edwin Crawford), 1889-1984 person
associatedWith Klein, Oskar, 1894-1977 person
associatedWith Kramers, Hendrik Anthony, 1894-1952 person
associatedWith Ladenburg, Rudolf Walter, 1882-1952 person
associatedWith Langevin, Paul, 1872-1946 person
associatedWith Laue, Max von, 1879-1960 person
associatedWith Lauritsen, Charles Christian, 1892-1968. person
associatedWith Livingston, M. Stanley (Milton Stanley) person
associatedWith London, Fritz, 1900-1954 person
associatedWith Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Manhattan Project (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Marshak, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1916-1992. person
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Radiation Laboratory corporateBody
associatedWith McLennan, J. C., (John Cunningham), 1867-1935 person
associatedWith Meitner, Lise, 1878-1968 person
associatedWith Mie, Gustav, 1868-1957 person
associatedWith Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953 person
associatedWith Moritz, Bernard, person
associatedWith Mulliken, Robert Sanderson, 1896-1986 person
associatedWith National Air and Space Museum. Dept. of Space History. corporateBody
associatedWith Niels Bohr Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Nishina, Yoshio, 1890-1951 person
associatedWith Oppenheimer, J. Robert, 1904-1967. person
associatedWith Owens Valley Radio Observatory. corporateBody
associatedWith Paschen, F., (Friedrich), 1865-1947 person
associatedWith Pauling, Linus person
associatedWith Pauli, Wolfgang, 1900-1958 person
associatedWith Planck, Max, 1858-1947 person
associatedWith Rosenfeld, L., (Leon), 1904-1974 person
associatedWith Rosseland, Svein, 1894-1985 person
associatedWith Rubens, Heinrich, 1865-1922 person
associatedWith Runge, Carl, 1856-1927 person
associatedWith Russell, Bertrand person
associatedWith Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937 person
associatedWith Sands, Matthew L. (Matthew Linzee) person
associatedWith Sawyer, Ralph A. (Ralph Alanson), 1895-1978. person
associatedWith Scheel, Karl, 1866-1936 person
associatedWith Schrödinger, Erwin, 1887-1961 person
associatedWith Smith, Cyril Stanley, 1903-1992. person
associatedWith Smithsonian Videohistory Program. corporateBody
associatedWith Sommerfeld, Arnold, 1868-1951 person
associatedWith Stark, Johannes, 1874-1957 person
associatedWith Thomson, J. J., Sir, (Joseph John), 1856-1940 person
associatedWith Tolman, Richard Chace person
associatedWith Uhlenbeck, George Eugène, 1900-1988 person
associatedWith United Nations. Atomic Energy Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. President's Science Advisory Committee corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Physics corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Summer Institutes. corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Van Vleck, J. H., (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Voigt, Woldemar, 1850-1919 person
associatedWith Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957 person
associatedWith Warburg, Emil Gabriel, 1846-1931 person
associatedWith Weiner, Charles. person
associatedWith Weisskopf, Victor Frederick, 1908-2002 person
associatedWith Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008. person
associatedWith Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000. person
associatedWith Zeeman, Pieter, 1865-1943 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Neutron resonance
Manhattan Project (U.S.)
Spectrum analysis
Arms control
World War, 1939-1945
Accelerators--United States--California
Accelerators
Nuclear physicists
Atomic bomb
Radar
Nuclear physics
Hyperfine structure--Research
Nuclear energy--Research
Science and state
World War, 1939-1945--Science
Occupation
Physicists
Function

Person

Birth 1905-08-31

Death 2004-11-18

English

Information

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