This collection documents the career of Richard Chace Tolman, who served on the
faculties of the Universities of Michigan, Cincinnati, California (Berkeley) and Illinois. Collection includes
family photographs, personal and biographical materials including his Ph. D. Thesis, sporadic and limited
correspondence, lecture notes, speeches, reprints, photocopies of unclassified correspondence and
documents relating to the U. S. Atomic Energy commission Tolman Committee on Declassification. The
collection covers a broad range of topics from his work in physical chemistry and mathematical physics.
Richard Chace Tolman was born March 4, 1881 in West Newton, Massachusetts. He attended MIT, earning his
bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1903. He spent the next year in Berlin, then returned to complete his graduate
work with a PhD at MIT in 1910. From that time until World War I he served on the faculties of the Universities of
Michigan, Cincinnati, California (Berkeley) and Illinois. During the war Tolman began what would be a distinguished
career as a scientific advisor and administrator for the US government. His first assignment was with the Chemical Warfare
Service, and later (1919-1922) as associate director and then director of the Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory, whose
purpose was to continue the government's research program on the nitrogen products used in explosives and fertilizers. In
1922, Tolman accepted a position at the California Institute of Technology, where he would remain for the rest of his
academic career. He served as professor of physical chemistry and mathematical physics, as well as holding the position of
dean of the graduate school.
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 Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on
behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and 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.