Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS April Meeting 2010
Volume 55, Number 1
Saturday–Tuesday, February 13–16, 2010; Washington, DC
Session H10: History of Physics Contributed Papers
10:45 AM–12:33 PM,
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Room: Maryland B
Sponsoring Unit: FHP
Chair: David Cassidy, Hofstra University
Abstract ID: BAPS.2010.APR.H10.3
Abstract: H10.00003 : Llewellyn Hilleth Thomas: An appraisal of an under-appreciated polymath*
11:09 AM–11:21 AM
Preview Abstract Abstract
John David Jackson
(University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Llewellyn Hilleth Thomas was born in 1903 and died in 1992 at the age of 88. His name is known by most for only two things, Thomas precession and the Thomas-Fermi atom. The many other facets of his career - astrophysics, atomic and molecular physics, nonlinear problems, accelerator physics, magnetohydrodynamics, computer design principles and software and hardware - are largely unknown or forgotten. I review his whole career - his early schooling, his time at Cambridge, then Copenhagen in 1925-26, and back to Cambridge, his move to the US as an assistant professor at Ohio State University in 1929, his wartime years at the Ballistic Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, then in 1946 his new career as a unique resource at IBM's Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory and Columbia University until his first retirement in 1968, and his twilight years at North Carolina State University. Although the Thomas precession and the Thomas-Fermi atom may be the jewels in his crown, his many other accomplishments add to our appreciation of this consummate applied mathematician and physicist.
*Based on a biographical memoir to be published by the National Academy of Sciences.
To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2010.APR.H10.3
The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics.
1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844
Editorial Office 1 Research Road, Ridge, NY 11961-2701 (631) 591-4000
Office of Public Affairs 529 14th St NW, Suite 1050, Washington, D.C. 20045-2001 (202) 662-8700