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Lindsay, Robert Bruce (1900-1985) | Niels Bohr Archive

Name: Lindsay, Robert Bruce (1900-1985)


Historical Note: Robert Bruce Lindsay was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on January 1, 1900. After graduating from the high school of that city in 1916 he attended Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, receiving the degrees of A.B. and M.S. in 1920, specializing in mathematics and physics. For the next two years he was a graduate student and instructor in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1922 he was appointed Fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and for the academic year 1922-23 he studied the quantum theory of atomic structure in Copenhagen, Denmark, under Niels Bohr and H. A. Kramers. His Ph.D. thesis on the atomic models of the alkali metals was begun in Copenhagen and completed on his return to the United States. The degree was awarded by MIT in 1924, with Henry B. Phillips as nominal thesis advisor. Lindsay was on the physics faculty at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1923 to 1930, when he moved to Brown University as associate professor of theoretical physics. He was promoted to full professorship with title of Hazard Professor of Physics in 1936, and served as chairman of the Department of Physics from 1934 to 1954. In 1954 he was named Dean of the Graduate School of Brown University, a post he held until 1966. On retirement from the Deanship he returned to teaching and research in the Physics Department, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1971. After his doctoral thesis, Lindsay’s research interests shifted to acoustics, where he became a leading authority in the field, publishing more than 50 papers and supervising numerous students at the masters and doctoral level. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America from 1957 until his death in 1985. He maintained a deep interest in physics education, publishing several textbooks for both undergraduate and graduate students. He also devoted substantial attention, in books and articles, to the history and philosophy of science.
Sources: David Lindsay Roberts





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