Advancing Materials Research by Peter A. and H. Dale Langford (editors) Psaras

By Peter A. and H. Dale Langford (editors) Psaras

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Page breaks are true to the original; line lengths, word breaks, heading styles, and other typesetting-specific formatting, however, cannot be retained, and some typographic errors may have been accidentally inserted. Please use the print version of this publication as the authoritative version for attribution. ADVANCES IN MATERIALS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT 24 among the various agencies can thus increase the effectiveness of the total program. In a situation characterized by a shortage of manpower well-grounded in solid state physics, physical chemistry and crystallography, one naturally turns to the university where funds produce not only the needed research but trained manpower as well.

By one time constant later, in 1935, the seeds had been sown for a complete revolution in the understanding of matter. The clock really started running only in 1923, and, only four years later, the quantum mechanics developed by the giants Bohr, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and others was being successfully and widely applied. Heitler and London used wave mechanics to describe the hydrogen molecule in 1927; Pauling extended the theory to molecules generally in the next eight years. Von Neumann introduced mathematical elegance at the same time.

ASSESSING THE EXPERIENCE Up to this point, I have given a quick look at the early history of the materials laboratories, announced their success, and acknowledged my negative credentials for making that announcement credible. There remains only to give my view as to why the program was successful and to draw any lessons we can from the experience. 2 I believe the materials laboratories have much to teach us. I will therefore describe briefly what I believe to be the important features of this program, dividing them into features of the field of materials research, those at the universities, and those in Washington.

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