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Robert Bruce Lindsay, letters to parents


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Robert Bruce Lindsay's letters to parents 1922-1923

Robert Bruce Lindsay's letters to parents 1937 (transcripts only)

About Robert Bruce Lindsay

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Robert Bruce Lindsay, letters to parents, 1922-1923, 1937 | Niels Bohr Archive

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Collection Overview

Title: Robert Bruce Lindsay, letters to parents, 1922-1923, 1937Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 01/02/014

Primary Creator: Lindsay, Robert Bruce (1900-1985)

Extent: 72.0 Letters

Date Acquired: 02/19/0014

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The main content of this collection are two sets of letters, written from Europe by physicist Robert Bruce Lindsay (RBL) to his parents, Robert and Eleanora Lindsay, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The first set was written in connection with RBL's and his wife Rachel's stay in Copenhagen between August 1922 and August 1923. The majority of these letters were written from Copenhagen while RBL was studying at Niels Bohr's Institute of Theoretical Physics. There are only fleeting references to the substance of RBL’s physics research (the most technically detailed letter is that of 17 June 1923, specially written to his father alone), but there are many glimpses into the personalities of the scientists with whom RBL came into contact, and lively descriptions of the experiences of two rather innocent young Americans on their first encounter with Europe. In addition to RBL's letters (scanned original letters and transcriptions) from Copenhagen, Folder 1 contains Rachel's letters during the couple's travels in Germany after the stay in Copenhagen published in the newspaper Newport Daily News. Folder 2 contains the second set of letters (transcriptions only) written during a second trip to Europe in 1937. It also contains transcribed extracts from RBL's diary and an introduction and epilogue by David Lindsay Roberts. Folder 3 contains autobiographical and biographical data on RBL. We are grateful to David Lindsay Roberts, the grandson of RBL, for sharing the material and allowing us to publish it.

Biographical 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.

Administrative Information

Repository: Niels Bohr Archive

Acquisition Source: David Lindsay Roberts, R.B. Lindsay's grandson.

Acquisition Method: Copies of original letters provided as PDF files.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Folder:

[Folder 1: Robert Bruce Lindsay's letters to parents 1922-1923],
[Folder 2: Robert Bruce Lindsay's letters to parents 1937 (transcripts only)],
[Folder 3: About Robert Bruce Lindsay],