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Interview with Sidney Weinbaum

Weinbaum, Sidney (1985) Interview with Sidney Weinbaum. [Oral History]

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An interview in August 1985 with Sidney Weinbaum, Caltech PhD (1933), a mathematician who was a research fellow in Linus Pauling’s laboratory in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in the 1930s and worked from 1946 to 1949 with Pol Duwez at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1950, Weinbaum was arrested for perjury (regarding his alleged membership in the Communist Party) and for “abetting” Party activities. He was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. In this interview, he recalls his childhood in the Ukraine; his undergraduate years at Caltech (1922-1924); and his work for Pauling. He recalls various friends in the Caltech community, his interests in chess and music, his political activism. He discusses his war work for Bendix Aviation and Curtiss-Wright Research Laboratory; his return to Pasadena after the war to work for JPL; his interrogation by the FBI; his arrest and trial; the support or lack of it from various friends and Caltech faculty; his life in prison; and his release and subsequent happy life with his second wife, Betty.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Mathematics, chemistry, Communism—United States—1950-1960
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Weinbaum_S
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Weinbaum, Sidney. Interview by Mary Terrall. Pasadena, California, August 15, 20, and 25, 1985. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Chemistry
Subjects > Mathematics
All Records
ID Code:220
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:19 Mar 2013 17:35
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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