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Kolin (Alexander) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Custodial History
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Alexander Kolin papers
    Creator: Kolin, Alexander
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.0966
    Physical Description: 1.6 Linear Feet (3 boxes and 1 flat box)
    Date (inclusive): 1929-1990
    Abstract: The collection consists of correspondence (including letters from Albert Einstein), United States patents for Kolin's inventions, and awards.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Peter S. Willcox, 2005.

    Custodial History

    Dr. Wilcox inherited the material from his wife, Dr. Nancy Willcox (née Nancy Posch), upon her death. Nancy Willcox was a graduate student of Dr. Kolin's in the late 1960s and inherited the items directly from Dr. Kolin.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alexander Kolin Papers (Collection Number 966). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Aislinn Catherine Sotelo with assistance from Elizabeth Sheehan in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), May 2007.
    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections. 

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9957101833606533 


    Alexander Kolin, Emeritus Professor of Biophysics, inventor of the electromagnetic flow meter and of isoelectric focusing, for which he was a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize, died April 21, 1997, at his home in Los Angeles at age 87, from cancer. Kolin was born in Odessa, Russia, on March 12, 1910. Neither of Kolin's parents had a scientific orientation, be he showed an early aptitude, doing experiments at home, from the age of six. Famine, revolution and subsequent difficult conditions in Russia induced the Kolin family to leave. They moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1922, where Kolin rapidly learned the German language, and with great sacrifices by his parents, received tutoring in basic subjects to make up for his previous lack of educational opportunity. The study of physics became his passion, and Kolin was inspired by the galaxy of famous physicists in Berlin, including Einstein, Planck, Schrodinger, Hertz, and Nernst. Kolin studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, completing his undergraduate studies in physics, and accepting an opportunity to do his doctoral work under Gustav Hertz, studying plasmas. In 1933, with his work barely underway, Kolin and his parents were stunned by the news of the Reichstag fire, and decided to leave Germany. They moved to Czechoslovakia, where Kolin enrolled at the German University of Prague, and chose a new thesis topic, which he finished in the record time of fourteen months. Soon thereafter, young Kolin immigrated to the United States to seek work. Through a mutual friend, Kolin met Albert Einstein, whom he impressed sufficiently to merit several letters of recommendation, which eventually helped Kolin find a position at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked by day and did independent research at night. During this time, he invented and began to develop the electromagnetic flow meter, initially applying it to the measurement of blood flow in animals. For the past fifty years, electromagnetic flowmeters have been widely used in medicine and industry. Kolin held various research and teaching positions in Chicago and New York before becoming Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in 1946. There, he wrote a textbook on physics, discovered the phenomenon of elctromagnetophoresis, and invented isoelectric focusing, a laboratory technique that is widely used in biomedical research. Kolin moved to UCLA in 1956, to do both teaching and research, and retired in 1977 as Emeritus Professor of Biophysics. During this period, he invented endless fluid belt electrophoresis; received the prestigious John Scott Medal for his invention of the blood flow meter; and received the Albert F. Sperry Medal for flowmeter developments. In 1977, he received the Alexander von Humboldt Award from the Federal Republic of Germany. In retirement, he continued to pursue scientific research until physically unable. His wife, Renee who passed away in 2003, survived Professor Kolin. [Adapted from an obituary written by Professor Kolin's former graduate student, Dr. Nancy Wilcox, April 21, 1997.]

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, paperwork on patented inventions, research and teaching materials, and numerous awards.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Correspondence
    2. Patents
    3. Research materials
    4. Teaching materials
    5. Awards.
    Has materials in English and German.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Physicists -- United States -- Archives.
    Kolin, Alexander, 1910-1997---Archives.