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Rosenbluth (Marshall N.) Papers
MSS 0670  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Marshall N. Rosenbluth Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0670
    Physical Description: 1.4 Linear feet (4 archives boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1960-2003
    Abstract: Papers of Marshall Rosenbluth, professor at University of California, San Diego, and plasma physicist noted for his work in thermonuclear fusion, the Rosenbluth formula on theoretical scattering, and his role in the discovery of Rosenbluth-Hinton flows. The bulk of the collection contains his writings, speeches, photocopies of lecture transparencies, and documents relating to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the JASON Defense Advisory Group.


    Born in Albany, New York, on February 5, 1927, Marshall N. Rosenbluth graduated from high school in 1942 and after two years in the U.S. Navy, graduated from Harvard with his bachelor's degree in 1946. He went on in 1949 to receive his Ph.D. with a focus on high energy particle physics from the University of Chicago.
    After his post-doctoral position at Stanford University (1949-1950) where he derived the Rosenbluth formula, he joined the Los Alamos Laboratory and worked on the hydrogen bomb and other projects from 1950-1956. Rosenbluth's time at Los Alamo began his life-long pursuit of fusion as an alternate energy source.
    In 1956 Rosenbluth took the position of senior research advisor with the nuclear energy research company General Atomics (GA) in San Diego. He continued working with GA even after being appointed professor of physics at University of California, San Diego in 1960. After 1967, Rosenbluth took professorships at the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study and then at the University of Texas at Austin before returning to UCSD and GA twenty years later in 1987. Rosenbluth retired from these positions in 1993 and began work as the chief scientist of the Central Team for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) until 1999. During this time, he was also involved with the JASON Defense Advisory Group, an independent group of scientists that advised the United States government on military, science, and energy-related issues.
    During his career Rosenbluth received many awards and recognitions including the E.O. Lawrence Prize, awarded by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1964; the James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics, awarded by the American Physical Society in 1976; the National Medal of Science, awarded by President Clinton in 1997; and the Nicholson Medal from the American Physical Society in 2000.
    Rosenbluth died in 2003.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Marshall Rosenbluth Papers document Rosenbluth's research and writings in the field of plasma physics and the commercial use of fusion as an energy source. The collection is arranged in six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, 3) SPEECHES AND REMARKS, 4) TRANSPARENCIES, 5) BIOGRAPHICAL, and 6) MISCELLANEOUS.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series dates from 1960 to 2003, is arranged chronologically, and includes correspondence with Dr. Philip Handler, John D. Lindl, Dr. Steven Koonin, and others, in addition to correspondence with the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board.
    Series 2: WRITINGS
    The WRITINGS series is arranged into two subseries: General and JASON Defense Advisory Group. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically by title.
    The SPEECHES AND REMARKS series is arranged alphabetically by title and comprises mostly award acceptance speeches and lectures on fusion.
    The TRANSPARENCIES series contains both hand-written and typed transparencies used by Rosenbluth during lectures. They are arranged alphabetically according to subject terms found within the transparencies themselves. Subjects covered include the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), free electron lasers, and tokamaks. For preservation, hand-written transparencies have been photocopied and the originals have been removed.
    Series 5: BIOGRAPHICAL
    The BIOGRAPHICAL series includes articles about and interviews with Rosenbluth, awards received and documents on his family history.
    The MISCELLANEOUS series comprises two conference pamphlets and an article written by R. J. Bickerton with Rosenbluth's handwritten notes in the margins.

    Preferred Citation

    Marshall N. Rosenbluth Papers, MSS 670. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2005.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Physicists -- United States
    Plasma (Ionized gases)
    Controlled fusion
    Nuclear energy
    Nuclear fusion
    Rosenbluth, M. N. -- Archives
    Koonin, Steven E. -- Correspondence
    Lindl, John -- Correspondence
    Handler, Philip, 1917-1981 -- Correspondence