This article deals with the life and times of Olga Taussky-Todd, the first female professor of mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, and her decades-long quest in Europe and the United States for a permanent academic position.
The Birth of Modern Atomic Theory
The story of 19th century English chemists Humphry Davy and John Dalton, rivals for the imformal title of England's greatest chemist, who each sought to answer the age-old question the Greeks had asked: What are the ultimate constituents of matter?
In Interview with Dr. Frank Press (1924-2020)
An interview with Dr. Frank Press on April 15, 1983, at the National Academy of Sciences, as part of Caltech Archives’ Oral History Project. Dr. Press was director of Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory from 1957 to 1965, when he left to head the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Robert F. Christy: A Biographical Memoir
(with David L. Goodstein)
An early participant in the Manhattan Project during World War II, Robert F. Christy played a leading role in the projects' Los Alamos, New Mexico, laboratory in developing the world's first nuclear bomb.
A History of Caltech
Caltech's beginnings are rooted in a modest little college founded in Pasadena in 1891 by wealthy former abolitionist and Chicago politician Amos Throop.
Franco Rasetti: A Conversation
Along with Enrico Fermi, Franco Rasetti played a key role in the rebirth of Italian physics in the 1920s and 1930s. In this interview he talks about his experiments at Caltech on the Raman effect in 1928–1929, mountain climbing, his passion for bugs, fossils, and flowers, and doing physics in Florence, Rome, Berlin-Dahlem, and Quebec. Rasetti also reminisces about the Rome school of mathematics and other scientists he has known.
Talk: Gregorio Ricci Curbastro
The names of the Italian mathematicians Ricci and Levi-Civita have been enshrined in the theory of general relativity since Einstein seized on the absolute differential calculus as the indispensable mathematical tool for expressing his uniquely determined gravitational equations. The physicist’s long-standing indifference to mathematics changed abruptly as he struggled with the theory, methods, and notation of the calculus developed and refined by Gregorio Ricci Curbastro, together with Tullio Levi-Civita at the University of Padua, before the end of the 19th century. This talk is a brief introduction to the story of Ricci's life.
Theodore von Karman and Applied Mathematics in America
Theodore von Karman figured prominently in the rise of Caltech's school of aeronautics in the 1930s, and his experience in American in the 1930s helped define the issues that would lead to the organized development of applied mathematics in the next decade.
Review: Ricci and Levi-Civita's tensor analysis paper
A Biographical Memoir of Eric Temple Bell
(with Donald Babbitt)
Published by the National Academy of Sciences, this fascinating biography tells the story of the life of the noted number theorist, science fiction writer and poet who joined the Caltech faculty as a Professor of Mathematics in 1926.
A review of Ricci and Levi-Civita's tensor analysis paper: Lie Groups: History, Frontiers, and Applications, Volume 2. Translated and edited by Robert Hermann. Brookline, Massachusetts (Math. Sci. Press). 1975.