Benjamin Lax - Interviews on a Life in Physics at MIT
Understanding and Exploiting the Effects of Magnetic Fields on Matter
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This book covers the life and 60-year career of Prof. Benjamin Lax (1915-2015), a preeminent physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who played major roles in the development and applications of solid state and plasma physics.
In an extensive series of autobiographical interviews, Lax describes the challenges he overcame, the opportunities he embraced, and the many outstanding research physicists he recruited, mentored, and interacted with. He includes both personal and professional reminiscences.
Lax begins with his earliest memories of his childhood in Hungary. He recalls the immigration of his family to America and his education in New York City. He describes his Army service as a Radar Officer at the MIT Radiation Laboratory during World War II. He covers his graduate education in physics at MIT, and his building up the semiconductor and ferrite research groups at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the 1950s. He describes the origins and accomplishments of the MIT Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory, of which he was the founding Director, and recalls his tenure as professor in the MIT physics department.
- Provides a valuable insight into a 60-year career in physics at one of the world’s major research universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Explores the organization, funding, and conduct of solid state physics research in the second half of the twentieth century
- Includes a complete bibliography of Lax’s publications in an online supplement
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Early Years in Miskolc, Hungary, 1915-1926
Chapter 2: School Days in Brooklyn, 1926-1936
Chapter 3: College Days at Brooklyn College and Cooper Union 1936-1942
Chapter 4: Army Days at Officer Candidate School and the MIT Radiation Laboratory, 1942-1945
Chapter 5: Graduate School in Physics at MIT, 1945-1951
Chapter 6: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 1951-1958
Chapter 7: MIT Frances Bitter National Magnet Laboratory, 1958-198
Chapter 8: Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory, 1958-1981
Chapter 9: Professor of Physics at MIT, 1965-1981
Chapter 10: Emeritus Years and Consulting, 1981-2006
Dr. Donald T. Stevenson (Interviewer), a close colleague and friend of Lax’s throughout their long careers at MIT, joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1951, the same year as Lax. He retired from MIT in 1989 as Assistant Director of the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory.
Dr. Marion B. Reine (Editor) was an MIT graduate student of Lax’s. He did his thesis research at the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory.
Dr. Roshan L. Aggarwal (Editor) joined the MIT Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory in 1965, where he worked closely with Lax on the optical properties of semiconductors. He retired from MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2016 after 51 years of research and teaching at MIT.
"This book provides a valuable insight into a 60-year career in physics at one of the world’s major research universities, MIT. It explores the organization, funding and conduct of solid state physics research in the second half of the twentieth century. This book is accompanied by an on-line supplement that includes a complete bibliography of Lax’s publications."
— Microwave Journal, 2020