The Caltech Institute Archives

Interview with Charles Richter

Richter, Charles (1979) Interview with Charles Richter. [Oral History] (Unpublished)

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Interview in 1978 with Charles F. Richter, professor of seismology emeritus, in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. A pioneer in seismology and active in the seismology and earthquake engineering fields for over fifty years, Richter's name is known for the earthquake magnitude scale he developed in the 1930s for local earthquakes. Richter received his PhD from Caltech in 1928. In 1937 he joined the Caltech faculty and worked alongside Harry Wood in the Seismological Laboratory, which that year was transferred to Caltech from the Carnegie Institution of Washington and was situated in the San Rafael area of Pasadena. The interview covers a wide range of topics, including his graduate student years at Caltech, then headed by Robert A. Millikan; recollections of Harry Wood, Beno Gutenberg, and Hugo Benioff and their work in the early years of the Seismological Laboratory; the prospects for earthquake prediction; the role of the Bikini atomic tests in studies of the propagation of seismic waves; the tectonics of Japan; the importance of earthquake engineering; his consulting work with the L.A. Dept. of Water and Power; and his views on latter-day developments in the geology division and at Caltech.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Richter_C
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Geology
All Records
ID Code:17
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:22 Oct 2002
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

Repository Staff Only: item control page