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Hannes Alfven Papers
MSS 0225  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Papers of Hannes Olof Gosta Alfven, Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist who contributed to significant advances in the fields of magnetohydrodynamics, plasma physics, geophysics, thermonuclear reaction, and cosmology. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Louis Neel in 1970. Alfven developed many controversial theories explaining the behavior of interstellar magnetic fields, debunking the "big bang," and attempting to rewrite the history of the solar system. Though initially ignored or rejected, many of his ideas were later extremely influential in revolutionizing the disciplines of astrophysics and geophysics. He was also an advocate of nuclear armaments destruction, working actively with other scientists such as Harold Urey to prevent nuclear proliferation and conflict. Among Alfven's teaching positions were posts at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and the University of California, San Diego. The papers span the years 1945 to 1991 and are organized into ten series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) WRITINGS, 3) CORRESPONDENCE, 4) PUGWASH, 5) COMMITTEE ON SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL RESEARCH, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) GRANTS, 8) TEACHING MATERIALS, 9) MEETINGS AND SYMPOSIA, and 10) PHOTOGRAPHS. The collection contains significant correspondence with Alfven's fellow scientists, including Gustaf Arrhenius, C.G. Falthammar, and Harold Urey, as well as substantial photographic documentation of Alfven's studies of the solar system. The collection focuses primarily on Alfven's time as Professor of Applied Physics at the University of California, San Diego, but nearly every work from his immense bibliography is represented, many in draft forms. Absent from the collection is any extensive documentation of Alfven's personal life.
Background
Hannes Olof Gosta Alfven was born in Norrkoping, Sweden, on May 30, 1908, of parents who were both practising physicians. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Uppsala in 1934 and served as Professor of Electronics (1940-1964) and Professor of Plasma Physics (1964-1973) at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Since 1967, he served as Professor of Applied Physics at the University of California, San Diego, spending six months of the year at UCSD and six months at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
Extent
12.00 linear feet (30 archives boxes)
Restrictions
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Availability
Collection is open for research.