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R. A. Millikan and the California Institute of Technology

DuBridge, L. A. (1948) R. A. Millikan and the California Institute of Technology. Reviews of Modern Physics, 20 (1). pp. 7-9. ISSN 0034-6861. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.20.7.

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If one examines a list of the publications of R.A. Millikan, arranged in chronological order, one finds essentially no break in continuity from 1910 to the present, except for the war years, 1918-20 and 1941-45. In particular, the years 1921 to 1940 were among the most productive of his career. One would never suppose that in 1921 Dr. Millikan assumed an administrative task of such great magnitude that it would have effectively stopped the research activities of most ordinary men. Moreover, one cannot explain this phenomenon by the assumption that Dr. Millikan gave but brief attention to his new administrative duties. On the contrary, his new tasks were carried forward with such zeal, vigor, and effectiveness that one who examines the history of his administrative achievements during the two decades after 1921 can only be astonished that a single man could carry such a burden even though he gave it all of his time and attention. His successor in these tasks hardly dares hope that he can ever resume a scientific career. In 1920 the name of a small technical school in Pasadena, California was changed from Throop College of Technology to the California Institute of Technology. This change in name was the external evidence for the culmination of the dreams and practical efforts of Dr. George Ellery Hale, the founder and, for many years, the Director of the Mount Wilson Observatory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. By 1908, Dr. Hale had seen the possibilities for establishing a great and unique center of pure and applied science in Southern California, and he started active work toward this goal. In 1913 he enlisted the aid of Dr. A.A. Noyes, distinguished chemist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who came to Throop College first on a part-time basis, and in 1919 assumed full-time direction of the Laboratory of Chemistry.

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Additional Information:©1948 The American Physical Society.
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Deposited On:30 Oct 2008 23:09
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:26

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