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Interview with William Ralph Smythe

Smythe, William Ralph (1979) Interview with William Ralph Smythe. [Oral History]

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An interview in two sessions, February 1978, with William Ralph Smythe, professor of physics, emeritus, in the Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. He recalls his youth in Colorado and Santa Fe, NM, and his father’s career as a civil engineer. Undergraduate physics at Colorado College; six months’ graduate work at Dartmouth. Enlists as U.S. enters WW I; sent to officers’ training camp, Plattsburgh NY, and thence to France as artillery officer. Recollections of the war. Returns to Dartmouth; moves to University of Chicago to complete PhD. Works with A. A. Michelson. Two-year instructorship at the University of the Philippines. Comes to Caltech as a research fellow, 1923. Isotope separation. His recollections of early physics dept. faculty and teaching his course in electricity and magnetism. Joins C. C. Lauritsen’s Caltech rocket project; works with Navy in Key West on the anti-submarine “Mousetrap” rocket. Invents yaw camera. Caltech in postwar era. His work on heavy-carbon separation.

Item Type:Oral History
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Smythe_W
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Smythe, William Ralph. Interview by Mary Terrall. Pasadena, California, February 13 and 15, 1978. 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:287
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:15 Apr 2019 20:13
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:24

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