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Guide to the Rudolf Kompfner Papers
SC0194  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Sketch
  • Description of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Access Terms

  • Overview

    Call Number: SC0194
    Creator: Kompfner, Rudolf, 1909-1977.
    Title: Rudolf Kompfner papers
    Dates: 1937-1981
    Physical Description: 10 Linear feet 10 linear feet (21 boxes)
    Summary: The Kompfner papers span the years 1937 to 1977 and concentrate primarily on his research interests while at Bell Laboratories, Stanford University and Oxford University. The collection includes general correspondence files, diaries (1937-41), notebooks and notes (1937-77), articles and reports (1937-80), awards and drawings. Additional material received 1985 and 1987 includes correspondence, research files, notebooks, patent records, and publications.
    Language(s): In English.
    Language(s): The material is in English.
    Repository: Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives
    Stanford University Libraries
    557 Escondido Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-6064
    Email: speccollref@stanford.edu
    Phone: (650) 725-1022
    URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html

    Administrative Information

    Provenance

    Gift of Peggy Kompfner 1978, 1980-85; loan from Bell Laboratories, 1979.

    Custodial History

    The Rudolf Kompfner papers, with the exception of his Bell Lab notebooks, were the gift of his wife, Peggy Kompfner to Stanford University in 1978; the materials were transferred from the Kompfner's Stanford University residence to the University Archives in that year with an addition later in the year.
    In 1979, Bell Laboratories, at the request of Professor Calvin Quate, transferred 26 research notebooks regarding Kompfner's research to the Stanford University Archlves. The notebooks are on indefinite loan in accordance with the agreement dated 14 February 1979 and title to the notebooks, including literary rlghts, are retained by Bell Laboratories. No restrictions were placed on access to the notebooks, and they may be studied by researchers as part of the Rudolf Kompfner papers in the reading room of the University Archives.

    Information about Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Ownership & Copyright

    Requests for permission to publish materials from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist. Legal ownership of Series IV (Bell Laboratory Notebooks) including the right to publish is retained by Bell Laboratories, New Jersey.

    Cite As

    Rudolf Kompfner Papers (SC0194). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Processing Notes

    The arrangement and description of the Rudolf Kompfner papers, including the following series description and inventory, was carried out as a special project funded by the Friends of Rudolf Kompfner in his honor. In addition to supporting the processing of the papers, this generous gift allowed the Univiversity Archives to experiment with several online data processing systems provided by Stanford University 's computer center and to produce our first online collection guide.
    Preliminary processing was carried out by Kym Sommerville. Final arrangement, description and computer analysis was carried out by Barbara J. Begley.

    Biographical/Historical Sketch

    Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University and world renowned communications scientist, Rudolf Kompfner came to Stanford in 1973 after a distinguished career at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Oxford University, and with British government research.
    Professor Kompfner was born in Vienna in 1909 and received the degree of engineer from the Technische Hochschule in 1933. He emigrated to England in 1934 where he worked as an architect. Kompfner already had a strong interest in experimental physics, however, and began a self-guided study of the field. He was already an accomplished research physicist when he received his Ph. D. from Oxford University, having worked at Birmingham University (1941-44) and Oxford's Clarendon Laboratory (1944-51). His invention of the traveling wave tube during this time is credited with making future satellite communications practicable. In 1950, he developed the backward wave oscillator which made microwave oscillators electronically tunable.
    Ultimately the holder of over 50 patents, Kompfner continued his research at the Bell Laboratories from 1952 to 1973. His last years, 1973 to 1977, were spent in research and teaching at both Stanford University and Oxford University, focusing prlmarily on integrated optics.
    Professor Kompfner received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1975 for his invention of the traveling wave tube and for major contributions to communications satellites and optical communications. He was a member of the National Academy of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Description of the Collection

    The Kompfner papers span the years 1937 to 1977 and concentrate primarily on his research interests while at Bell Laboratories, Stanford University and Oxford University. The collection includes general correspondence files, diaries (1937-41), notebooks and notes (1937-77), articles and reports (1937-80), awards and drawings. Additional material received 1985 and 1987 includes correspondence, research files, notebooks, patent records, and publications.
    Of particular note are the 26 research notebooks compiled by Kompfner regarding his research at Bell Laboratories, 1952 to 1973 (series IV) and his 1937 diary documenting his selfdirected readings and experiments in physics while still a practicing architect (series II).

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in seven series and two additions: 1. General Files, 1941-1978; 2. Diaries, 1937-1941; 3. Notebooks and Notes, 1937-1977; 4. Bell Laboratory Notebooks, 1952-1973; 5. Articles, Reports and Speeches, 1937-1980; 6. Awards, 7. Drawings.

    Access Terms

    Bell Telephone Laboratories.
    Benham, W. E.
    English Electric Valve Co.
    Fuchs, Wolfgang.
    Kompfner, Rudolf, 1909-1977.
    Liebmann, Gerard.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    Stanford University. Dept. of Applied Physics--Faculty.
    Articles.
    Awards.
    Backward-wave tubes.
    Diaries.
    Drawings.
    Notebooks.
    Physics --Research.
    Reports.
    Science--History.
    Traveling-wave tubes.