Cambridge, MA 02138
Francis Birch was a pioneer in the study of geophysics, a participant in the Manhattan project, and an advisor on public policy matters involving geophysics, especially the disposal of nuclear waste. His papers document the breadth of his work in research, consulting, teaching, and his relationships with colleagues and scientific societies.
During the 1930s, Birch developed experimental techniques and theoretical models to compare the experimentally determined properties of known materials with the seismologically and gravitationally revealed properties of the unknown materials of the Earth's interior in order to draw conclusions about its structure and composition. In 1937 he was promoted to Assistant Professor of Geophysics. When the United States entered World War II, Birch took a leave of absence from Harvard and was commissioned as a Naval Reserve Officer. He served as a staff member of the Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with the Bureau of Ships on the development of proximity fuses. He then worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, where he headed the engineering and development of the Hiroshima bomb. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for this service.
Hunt, Frederick V.
These papers document Hunt's professional activities, and date chiefly from after World War II. Much of the material relates to professional societies, journals, and committee work. Documents include correspondence, laboratory notebooks, patents, memoranda, a project diary, minutes, reports, and medals.
Menzel, Donald H.
Papers pertain mostly to Menzel's professional activities and scientific research and writing, with some personal and Harvard related material. Includes correspondence with societies (International Astronomical Union, International Scientific Radio Union), U.S. Navy and Air Force, publishers, and various individuals, such as prominent scientists and students. Of particular interest is his correspondence with John F. Kennedy (1959-1963) regarding a variety of scientific and political concerns. Other related material includes proposals, contracts and reports concerning cryptanalysis, solar and other research for the U.S. government and corporations; reports, photographs, and engineering drawings for the Harvard College Observatory; and financial and other reports, blueprints, policy manuals and organization charts from various Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy projects. Writing files include manuscripts, notes and scientific data, outlines and related correspondence for scientific and popular works, as well as a manuscript of autobiography and his creative writings and drawings. Personal material includes photographs, scrapbooks, and a transcript of U.S. Air Force security hearing boards in 1950. Related publications and reference material also are available in repository.
Naval Radio School
Naval Training School
Navy Supply Corps School
Underwater Sound Laboratory
The Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory was operated by the University from 1941 to 1949 under contract to the National Defense Research Committee/Office of Scientific Research and Development. Research at the Lab focused on the improvement of equipment for the detection of underwater sound and the design of new equipment. The records document experiments, apparatus, and Lab administration. Topics include underwater acoustics and sonar.