Slater, John Rothwell, 1872-

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Naturally inclined to interdisciplinarity, John Clarke Slater was an important proponent of quantum theory, a pioneer in the electromagnetic theory of microwaves, an early materials scientist, and a significant player in the 20th century development of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raised in an academic family in Rochester, NY, Slater had earned degrees in physics at Rochester (AB 1920) and Harvard (PhD 1923) before the age of 24. After receiving his doctorate, he entered into one of the most productive periods of his research career, studying as a Sheldon Fellow at Cambridge and Copenhagen, the latter under Niels Bohr, during which time he whetted his appetite for quantum theory while working on the quantum mechanics of the chemical bond. At this early point in his career, Slater developed what would become his personal approach to physics using quantum theory to integrate the theoretical and practical applications in the study of atoms, molecules, and solids.

After his return from Europe, Slater spent a few years in contented academic vagabondage, employed as an instructor at Harvard, but spending time at Stanford (summer, 1926) and Chicago (1928), until once again earning passage to Europe. As a Guggenheim fellow, he continued his studies in quantum theory under Werner Heisenberg until receiving the call to MIT. In 1930, the newly appointed president of MIT, Karl T. Compton, hired Slater to head the Department of Physics, and over the next decade, the two together helped to assemble a department of international repute. Identifying key areas of interests in physics and luring such talented persons to the university as George Harrison in spectroscopy, Robley Evans in radioactivity, and Robert J. van de Graaf in nuclear physics, Slater helped to guide a remarkable expansion of the department during the height of the Great Depression. During this period, his own research into the electromagnetic theory of microwaves, conducted with colleagues Julius Stratton and Nathaniel Frank, helped establish the theoretical basis for the development of radar. During the Second World War, Slater worked at the famed radiation laboratory at MIT, developing improvements in radar and the magnetron.

Slater served as chair of the Department of Physics until 1952, when he was appointed MIT's first Institute Professor and Harry B. Higgins chair, allowing him even greater latitude in pressing his interdisciplinary agenda. After a year spent at Brookhaven Laboratories, he returned to MIT to help establish the renowned group in solid state and molecular theory and the interdisciplinary Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. The new perspectives on materials science emanating from these groups was instrumental in the development of the transistor, in part through the doctoral work of one of Slater's best known students, William Shockley.

After Slater retired from MIT in 1966, he was hired by the University of Florida as Graduate Research Professor of Physics and Chemistry, remaining active at both institutions until his death in 1976. Slater's voluminous publications include several key works in shaping the several fields in which worked, including Chemical Physics (1939), Microwave Electronics (1950), Quantum Theory of Matter (1951), Quantum Theory of Atomic Structure (1960) and Quantum Theory of Molecules and Solids (1963-1966). Among his students were two Nobel laureates, Richard Feynmann and William Shockley.

From the guide to the John Clarke Slater Papers, 1908-1976, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Beyond the stars / lyric by John R. Slater ; music by Heinrich Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Love in bloom / lyric by Max Dauthendey ; English version by John R. Slater ; music by Heinrich Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Alleluia : for voice (medium) and piano (or orchestra) / lyric by Heinrich Heine ; translated by John R. Slater ; [music by] H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Spring-fever / lyric by M. Dauthendey ; English version by John R. Slater ; music by H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Long, Alice Lavinia, d. 1956. Anton V. Long collection, 1960-1987. Museum of New Mexico Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. [Synagogue music collection, miscellaneous / music by Heinrich Schalit]. Jewish Theological Seminary of America
creatorOf John Clarke Slater Papers, 1908-1976 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. All the world's alive / lyric by John R. Slater ; music by Heinrich Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Hymnische Gesänge : für Bariton und Orchester (oder Klavier), op. 21 / Heinrich Schalit ; Klavierauszug. Jewish Theological Seminary of America
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. [Songs of spring : for (high) voice with piano / poems by Max Dauthendey ; English versions by Dr. John R. Slater ; music by Heinrich Schalit]. Jewish Theological Seminary of America
referencedIn Anton V. Long Collection, 1960-1987 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. All the world's alive / lyric by M. Dauthendey ; English version by J.R. Slater ; music by H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. May / lyric by Max Dauthendey ; translated by J.R. Slater ; music by Heinrich Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Vision of love / lyric by John R. Slater ; music by H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Hymnische Gesänge : für Bariton und Orchester (oder Klavier), op. 21 / Heinrich Schalit. Jewish Theological Seminary of America
creatorOf Slater, John Rothwell, b. 1872. Memorial service in honor of Donald Bean Gilchrist (1892-1939). University of Rochester
referencedIn Amy Lowell correspondence, 1883-1927 (inclusive), 1910-1925 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Slater, John Rothwell, b. 1872. The mysticism of Dante / John R. Slater. Rochester Public Library, Central Library of Rochester and Monore County
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. Children of the sun / lyric by M. Dauthendey ; English version by John R. Slater ; music by H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. The rains of Spring / lyric by M. Dauthendey ; English version by John R. Slater ; music by H. Schalit. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Leland C. person
associatedWith Ballard, Stanley S. person
associatedWith Barnett, Michael P. person
associatedWith Bohr, Niels Henrik David, 1885-1962 person
associatedWith Boring, A. Michael person
associatedWith Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974 person
associatedWith Cambridge University corporateBody
associatedWith Clark, W. Mansfield (William Mansfield), 1884-1964 person
associatedWith Clementi, Enrico person
associatedWith Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962 person
associatedWith Compton, K. T., (Karl Taylor), 1887-1954 person
associatedWith Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974 person
associatedWith Connolly, John W. D. person
associatedWith Coulson, C. A., (Charles Alfred), 1910-1974 person
associatedWith Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321 person
associatedWith Darrow, Karl K., (Karl Kelchner), 1891-1982 person
associatedWith Debye, Peter J. W., (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966 person
associatedWith Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954 person
associatedWith Frank, Nathaniel Herman, 1903-1984 person
associatedWith Grimaldi, Francois person
associatedWith Harrison, George Russell, 1898-1979 person
associatedWith Hartree, Douglas R., (Douglas Rayner), 1897-1958 person
associatedWith Harvard University. Museum of Comparative Zoology. corporateBody
associatedWith Herman, Frank person
associatedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hove, L. van (Leon) person
associatedWith Howarth, D. J. person
associatedWith Jaeger, Zeev person
associatedWith Johnson, Keith H. person
associatedWith Koster, George F. person
associatedWith Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Loucks, T. L. (Terry L.) person
associatedWith Löwdin, Per Olov, 1916-2000 person
correspondedWith Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925 person
associatedWith Manning, Millard person
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics corporateBody
associatedWith Mattheiss, Leonard F. person
associatedWith Morse, Philip M., (Philip McCord), 1903-1985 person
associatedWith Mulliken, Robert Sanderson, 1896-1986 person
associatedWith National Academy of Sciences. (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Nesbit, Robert K. person
associatedWith Norton, C. L. person
associatedWith Nottingham, Wayne B. (Wayne Buckles), 1899- person
associatedWith Parr, Robert G., 1921- person
associatedWith Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994 person
associatedWith Pegram, George B. person
associatedWith Pepinsky, Ray, 1912- person
associatedWith Ransil, Bernard J., (Bernard Jerome), 1929- person
associatedWith Roothaan, C. C. J. person
associatedWith Schalit, Heinrich, 1886-1976. person
associatedWith Segall, Benjamin person
associatedWith Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972 person
associatedWith Shockley, William, 1910- person
associatedWith Slater, John C., (John Clarke), 1900-1976 person
associatedWith Smith, Darwin W. person
associatedWith Smith, Robert Allan person
associatedWith Stratton, Julius Adams, 1901- person
associatedWith Stratton, Samuel Wesley, 1861-1931 person
associatedWith Swann, W. F. G., (William Francis Gray), 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Szent-Gyorgyi, Albert, 1893-1986 person
associatedWith Tate, John Torrence, 1925- person
associatedWith Teller, Edward, 1908-2003 person
associatedWith Ufford, Charles Wilbur, 1900- person
associatedWith Vallarta, Manuel Sandoval person
associatedWith Van Vleck, J. H., (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Waals, J. D. van der (Johannes Diderik), 1837-1923 person
associatedWith Waber, James T. (James Thomas), 1920- person
associatedWith Waerden, B. L. van der, (Bartel Leendert), 1903-1996 person
associatedWith Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008 person
associatedWith Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995 person
associatedWith Wilson, Edwin Bidwell, 1879-1964 person
associatedWith Zacharias, Zerrod R. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Quantum theory
Physics--20th century
Mysticism and literature
University of Florida. Department of Physics
Physics--Study and teaching--20th century
Occupation
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Birth 1872

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