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Finding Aid for the Carl D. Anderson Papers 1923-1987
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A selection of the course and teaching notes, correspondence, technical files, and photographs of Carl D. Anderson (1905-1991) form the collection known as the Carl D. Anderson Papers in the Archives of the California Institute of Technology. Working under Robert A. Millikan at Caltech, Anderson conducted experiments on the penetrating radiation known as cosmic rays with a magnet cloud chamber, and in 1936 he won the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the positive electron, or positron. Anderson was professor of physics at Caltech until 1976 and chairman of the Division of Physics, Math and Astronomy from 1962-1970.
Carl David Anderson was born September 3, 1905, in New York City. He was the only child of Swedish immigrants Carl David Anderson and Emma Adolfina Ajaxson. In 1912 the family moved to Los Angeles, where the elder Anderson managed a small restaurant business. Carl attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, from which he graduated in 1923. The following fall he entered the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena as a freshman, intending to study electrical engineering. In his sophomore year, during a course with Ira Bowen, he decided to change his major to physics. After receiving his BS in 1927, he stayed on at Caltech to do graduate work under Robert A. Millikan. His doctoral thesis, entitled "Space-Distribution of X-Ray Photoelectrons Ejected from the K and L Atomic Energy-Levels," involved a cloud-chamber study of photoelectrons (electrons exposed to radiation) scattered from various gases by X rays. He received his PhD in 1930.
2.5 linear feet
Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Caltech Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and, unless explicitly stated otherwise, is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.