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Interview with Margaret Lauritsen Leighton

Lauritsen Leighton, Lauritsen Leighton M. (1999) Interview with Margaret Lauritsen Leighton. [Oral History]

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An interview in three sessions, in May and June 1995, with Margaret Lauritsen Leighton, wife of Thomas Lauritsen (d. 1973) and later of Robert B. Leighton (d. 1997), both professors of physics in the Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. She begins by discussing Thomas Lauritsen’s friendship with the family of Niels and Margrethe Bohr while he was a postdoc in Copenhagen, 1939-40; his marriage to Else Chievitz; and their flight back to the United States when war broke out. She recalls her WAC service in World War II; her marriage to Tommy two years after Else’s death; the family background in Denmark of her father-in-law, Charles C. Lauritsen; his marriage to Sigrid Henriksen; their eventual immigration to the United States; and his arrival at Caltech in 1926. Other topics include Lauritsen family lore; Tommy’s early education and working relationship with his father; his mother Sigrid’s medical career and strong personality; sabbatical visits to Denmark with Tommy in 1952-53 and 1963-64; their friendship with Aage and Marietta Bohr; Friday night post-seminar parties at the C. C. Lauritsen home for his group at the W. K. Kellogg Radiation Laboratory; the advent of Caltech president Lee A. and Doris Dubridge; Margaret’s incompatibility with the Caltech Women’s Club; her work for the Democratic Party and SANE (the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy); Tommy Lauritsen’s illness and death; and their friendship with Fay Ajzenberg-Selove.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Leighton_M
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription GuideGuide to the Papers of Charles Christian Lauritsen, 1927-1977 GuideGuide to the Papers of Thomas Lauritsen, 1922-1974
Official Citation:Leighton, Margaret. Interview by Shelley Erwin. Pasadena, California, May 11 and 25, June 23, 1995. 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:All Records
Subjects > Physics
ID Code:250
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:09 Aug 2017 20:18
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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