Scope and Contents
Call Number: M0760
Packard, Martin E.
Title: Martin Packard papers
Bulk Dates: 1975-1985
29 Linear feet (68 boxes: 67 manuscript boxes ; 1 record storage box)
Summary: In the late 1940s and early 50s, physicist Martin Packard made significant contributions to the emerging field of nuclear
magnetic resonance (NMR) technology at Stanford University. Packard was later employed by Varian Associates, where he became
head of the analytical instrumentation department, Corporate Vice President, and finally Assistant to Board Chairman Edward
Ginzton. The collection is largely from his time at Varian, consisting of correspondence and memoranda, subject files maintained
as Varian’s reference library, and files related to Varian’s corporate history. Packard’s involvement with the Addiction Research
Foundation is also chronicled in part.
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Language(s): While the bulk of the collection is in English, there is some Chinese, Russian, and German language material.
Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more
information on paging collections, see the department's website: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html.
Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford University Libraries.
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022
This collection was given by Martin Packard to Stanford University, Special Collections in 1990.
Information about Access
The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted
to a digital use copy.
Ownership & Copyright
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.
[identification of item], Martin Packard papers (M0760). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University
Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Martin Everett Packard, born in 1921, received his B.A. in Physics in 1942 from Oregon State University and began working
at Westinghouse Research. In the summer of 1945 (following at stint at UC Berkeley Radiation Lab for the Manhattan Project),
Packard was introduced to Felix Bloch by his supervisor at Westinghouse, Stanford physics alumnus Daniel Alpert. Bloch explained
to Packard his ideas concerning nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which he termed nuclear induction. The following week Packard
enrolled as a graduate student at Stanford University, working with professors Bloch and William Hansen on Stanford’s first
NMR experiments. As part of this experiment, Packard was the first to detect the nuclear magnetic resonance of protons in
water in January 1946.
Bloch, together with Harvard physicist E. M. Purcell, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1952 for their development of NMR.
Aware of its commercial potential, inventor and Stanford alum Russell Varian convinced Bloch to patent NMR, which Russ and
his brother Sigurd then licensed. This exclusive license was transferred to Varian Associates when they founded the company
in April 1948. The first commercial NMR spectrometer was built by Varian in 1950.
Meanwhile Packard, after earning a PhD in Physics in 1949, remained at Stanford as an instructor. In 1951, with students James
Arnold and Srinivas Dharmatti, he discovered how NMR could be applied to organic compounds, opening the field of magnetic
resonance analysis in organic chemistry. At the end of the term Packard joined Varian, as had many of Bloch’s former students.
Thanks to the license, Varian led the field in NMR commercialization. Packard, along with James Arnold, James N. Shoolery,
Emery Rogers, Forrest Nelson, and Wes Anderson, worked with NMR at Varian, “building NMR from a theoretical concept to one
of the most widely used tools in analytical chemistry,” as his bio states.
Continuing his research path, Packard published papers, developed with Russell Varian the Proton Free Precession Magnetometer
(widely used in geophysics) and is named in eight patents with the company. In 1971 Martin Packard received the IEEE Morris
E. Leeds Award "for his pioneering research leading to the practical use of nuclear magnetic resonance for the accurate measurement
of magnetic fields, and for his contributions to the spectrometry of complex molecules." Packard retired from Varian in 1989.
Scope and Contents
In the late 1940s and early 50s, physicist Martin Packard made significant contributions to the emerging field of nuclear
magnetic resonance (NMR) technology at Stanford University. NMR involves the measure of electromagnetic radiation absorbed
and emitted by nuclei in magnetic fields. NMR is the underlying principle behind MRI and other medical imaging techniques.
It also has important applications in chemistry, biology, and geology. Packard was employed by Varian Associates, who, building
on their success with the klystron, were market leaders in the commercial application of NMR technology. The collection is
from his time at Varian, and therefore should also appeal to those researching that company’s history, or the birth of Silicon
While Packard came to Varian with NMR expertise, his role in the company quickly expanded, and the files contained here cover
many aspects of Varian’s business. There are two main series of Varian correspondence and internal memoranda from the 1960s
through the 80s, arranged chronologically. Packard maintained several document files as a sort of reference library, with
each document (correspondence, memoranda, and background articles and papers) numbered and indexed. There are files for Varian’s
dealings with the People’s Republic of China and the USSR, files on health concerns in radio frequency and microwave technologies
(“Biological Effects”), as well as a general subject file arranged alphabetically.
The collection contains a variety of material related to Varian’s corporate history, much of which was assembled for Packard’s
“The Varian Story” lecture delivered at the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry in 1980. Most of these files are
contemporary remembrances in the form of articles, papers, correspondence, and transcripts. However, there is a set of Russell
Varian research notes, papers and patents from the late 1940s and 50s, and photocopies of the Varian newsletter from the late
1940s through the 70s. There is correspondence with Stuart W. Leslie about an unpublished Varian history, essays by W.G. Proctor,
Dorothy Varian, and others, and various photographs, some of which are likely original prints. The last files involve Varian
Fellows’ efforts to reinvigorate the company in the late 1980s. Historical files also include related information concerning
Felix Bloch, NMR, Stanford University, and SLAC. Other Varian files include expense reports, sales brochures for spectroscopes,
chromatographs, and other instruments, and records of the Palo Alto Capital Company (Varian’s Minority Enterprise SBIC).
Packard was a member of two National Academy of Science panels on technology transfer and national security, and there is
correspondence, memoranda, draft reports, and background information from both panels. He was also president of the Addiction
Research Foundation, Avram Goldstein’s research clinic devoted to studying the physiological basis for drug addiction, and
there are organizational files through its dissolution in 1989. Of course Packard’s own speeches, papers and other writings
are also present, most of which can be found in their own series. There are also many notebooks, planners and business cards,
as well as vacuum tubes and other unidentified machine parts.
Addiction Research Foundation (U.S.).
Ginzton, Edward L. (Edward Leonard), 1915-
Packard, Martin E.
Nuclear magnetic resonance.
Science and industry.
United States--History--Trade relations