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Trinity College

This class contains a few items relating to Batchelor’s relationship with Trinity College. He was admitted as a Research Student in 1945, elected a Fellow under Title A [Junior Research Fellow] in 1947 and under Title B [Senior Research Fellow] in 1951. Correspondence concerning his admission can be found at BACH/B7

Thermonuclear research

The material is divided as follows:

E.1 - E.70 Notes, drafts and calculations, 1946-59

E.71 - E.87 Patent applications relating to thermonuclear energy, 1946-59

E.88 - E.90 Correspondence and papers, 1946-52

E.91 - E.105 Minutes of meetings, 1952-63

E.106-E.111 Correspondence, 1958-63

E.112-E.143 Research reports and lectures by others

E.144, E.145 Miscellaneous other material

The survival of Thomson's research notes and drafts for this period (E.1 - E.70) is particularly interesting in view of the secrecy restrictions which allowed him to publish so little (but see F.114, F.115), although some of his drafts were reproduced for limited circulation as Harwell research reports (see, e.g., E.34, E.35).

'The Works and correspondence of David Ricardo'

Items D3/11/1-85 relate to the Ricardo edition in general. Within this items D3/11/1 - D3/11/35 were preserved together and are files of notes for the Ricardo edition, items D3/11/37-D3/11/55 were preserved together and are files of notes for the Ricardo edition marked "Obsolete"and items D3/11/56- D3/11/76 are files of correspondence relating to the Ricardo edition, many being replies to requests for information on Ricardo letters.
Items D3/11/85a-D3/11/99 relate to Volume I of the edition.
Items D3/11/100-D3/11/106 relate to Volume II.
Items D3/11/107-D3/11/126 relate to Volumes III and IV.
Items D3/11/127- D3/11/137 relate to Volume V.
Items D3/11/138-D3/11/155 relate to Volumes VI to IX.
Items D3/11/156-D3/11/192 relate to Volume X.
Items D3/11/193-D3/11/233 relate to Volume XI.
Items D3/11/234-D3/11/240 relate to the 1973 reprint.

Scientific Lectures and Writings

F.1 - F.33 University lectures (at Cambridge, Aberdeen, and Imperial College London)

F.34 - F.149 Physics

F.150 - F.209 Nuclear and Thermonuclear Energy

The material in each of the sub-sections is presented in approximate chronological order, though Thomson rarely dated his early notes and drafts; in many cases they can only be roughly dated on internal evidence. The `University Lectures', especially those given at Aberdeen, were often cannibalised and updated for use at Imperial College, London, and no firm boundary can be drawn except for the post-Second World War lectures at London on cosmic rays and nuclear physics.

The lectures and writings on `Physics', F.34 - F.149, naturally focus on Thomson's own research interests and discoveries. F.36 - F.61 are almost all on electron diffraction, his own experimental research (for which he shared with C.J. Davisson the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937) and the wave-particle theory of matter; the number of these, and the range of places at which Thomson was asked to speak, show the international recognition of his work. Several items, F.66 - F.77, deal with the practical applications of electron diffraction, and the electron microscope, as tools of research.

After the Second World War, Thomson continued to write and lecture on the electron, and also on cosmic rays, mesons, and atomic structure. The advent of nuclear, and later of thermonuclear power, however, provided the chief matter of his scientific research and publications. F.120 - F.168 are a crowded cluster of items - including several broadcasts - on the nature and control of nuclear energy, followed by a similar output at F.169 - F.174 on the then new implications of the hydrogen bomb. These problems continue to recur throughout the remainder of the material, some linked with the opening of atomic power stations (F.188 et seq.).

Thomson himself made a distinguished contribution to research on nuclear fusion from the early 1940s, and played a part in the development of thermonuclear research at Harwell and A.E.I. Most of his work was not released for publication, but the public announcement of Zeta in 1958 led to many lectures and articles by him, some technical and some more popular, on thermonuclear questions (F.193 - F.205).

The material in this Section is only rarely accompanied by research material or by related correspondence - it should be consulted in conjunction with the notebooks and documents in Sections C and E.

Although several items naturally contain autobiographical and historical reflections by Thomson on his experience of twentieth-century physics, his explicit writings on the history of physics and physicists, and his more general ideas on the methods, purpose and implications of science have been grouped in Sections G and H respectively.

Scientific correspondence

This class includes two series of Batchelor’s correspondence files and also loose scientific correspondence that was not filed. The alphabetically-arranged files of correspondence (F1 and F2) begin with letters from the 1940s. Probably at the beginning of 1980, with the size of the files increasing, a second series was begun. The files in the first series thus practically finish in 1979, however occasionally letters of a later date were inserted, hence the covering dates of some files in this continue beyond 1979. A third series (F3) has been created for the correspondence that was not filed. A correspondent’s appearance in this third series does not indicate that they do not appear in series F1 and/or F2.

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