H. P. Robertson was professor of mathematical physics at Caltech in 1927-1929 and again from 1947 until his death in 1961.
He made notable contributions to the fields of relativity and cosmology and held important positions in the U.S. government
related to national defense and science advising. His papers include correspondence, some with the most prominent physicists
and mathematicians of his day; papers relating to professional organizations, companies, and government; teaching, writing,
and lecture files; technical notes and scientific reprints; and biographical material.
Howard Percy Robertson, known to colleagues and friends as Bob, was born in Hoquiam, Washington, on January 27, 1903. He was
educated in Montesano, Washington schools, and later at the University of Washington, where he received his bachelor's degree
in mathematics in 1922 and his master's in mathematics and physics in 1923. While at the university, Robertson came under
the influence of the mathematician E. T. Bell. Impressed with his mathematical abilities, Bell encouraged Robertson to pursue
graduate work at Caltech. (Bell himself was later hired to teach at Caltech by Robert A. Millikan.) Robertson completed his
PhD at Caltech in mathematics and physics in 1925 under Harry Bateman, with the dissertation, "On Dynamical Space-Times Which
Contain a Conformal Euclidean 3-Space."
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