Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Philip Burton Moon FRS (1907-1994), physicist

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This record is held by University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections

Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Philip Burton Moon FRS (1907-1994), physicist
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Philip Burton Moon FRS (1907-1994), physicist
Reference: NCUACS 69.7.97
Description:

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL NCUACS 69.7.97/A.1-A.50

 

SECTION B UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM NCUACS 69.7.97/B.1-B.54

 

SECTION C RESEARCH NCUACS 69.7.97/C.1-C.50

 

SECTION D UK ACCELERATOR DEVELOPMENT NCUACS 69.7.97/D.1-D.18

 

SECTION E DRAFTS, PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES AND BROADCASTS NCUACS 69.7.97/E.1-E.43

 

SECTION F CORRESPONDENCE NCUACS 69.7.97/F.1-F.26

 

The material is presented as shown in the List of Contents. It covers the period 1929-1996. Throughout the collection material has been labelled by Burcham with explanatory notes and many are reproduced in the catalogue entries.

 

Section A, Biographical, includes Moon's autobiographical accounts for his Royal Society Personal Record, and material assembled by W.E. Burcham relating to his and G.R. Isaak's Biographical Memoir of Moon, There is documentation of Moon's career and honours including his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society and the award of its Hughes Medal in 1991.

 

Section B, University of Birmingham, includes a little material relating to the Department of Physics and Moon's Deanship of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The bulk of the papers relate to the development of nuclear physics at Birmingham and include material relating to the 40th anniversary of the proton synchrotron, celebrated in 1993, and the 'Birmingham Proton Synchrotron Archive' assembled by W.E. Burcham.

 

Section C, Research, covers Moon's work in a number of areas from the late 1920s to the 1990s. There is documentation of his work on positive ions and neutrons during the 1930s and wartime work on atomic power. This includes research material of M.L.E. Oliphant. There is material relating to Moon's post-war work on rotors and molecular beams and to his research with the University of Birmingham synchrotron.

 

Section D, UK Accelerator Development, consists of correspondence and papers covering two themes: Moon's contribution to discussions in 1955 regarding the proposed development of a high energy accelerator at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, and Moon's service on the Working Party of the Physics Committee of the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science during 1960.

 

Section E, Drafts, publications, lectures and broadcasts, comprises a chronological sequence of drafts 1940-1992, including unpublished wartime work on radio signals. There is a nearly complete set of Moon's off-prints. Lectures and broadcasts material includes manuscript drafts for broadcasts in the 1940s and lectures to the Poynting Physical Society. There is also documentation of his 1975 Rutherford Memorial Lecture and a lecture on J.H. Poynting given during the centenary celebrations of the Department of Physics in 1980.

 

Section F, Correspondence, is slight and includes only one extended exchange, with M.L.E. Oliphant, 1937-1946. Other correspondence of note is that with D.R. Herschbach, Nobel laureate for Chemistry 1986, and with W.E. Burcham.

 

There is also an index of correspondents.

Date: 1929-1996
Held by: University of Birmingham: Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 8 boxes, ca 240 items
Administrative History:

OUTLINE OF THE CAREER OF PHILIP BURTON MOON

 

Philip Burton Moon was born on 17th May 1907 in Lewisham, London. He was educated at Leyton County High School before winning a scholarship to Sidney Sussex College Cambridge in 1925. He graduated from the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1928, having taken Physics in Part II. Moon went on to research in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge under M.L.E. Oliphant. In 1931 Moon was appointed Assistant Lecturer at Imperial College, London (Lecturer from 1934). Working under G.P. Thomson he researched in neutron physics.

 

In 1938 Moon followed his former supervisor Oliphant to the University of Birmingham as Lecturer in the Department of Physics. They began to build up a school of nuclear physics using the Department's 60-inch cyclotron. On the outbreak of war the Department initially concentrated on the development of short-wave radar. In 1942 Moon was seconded to the British Scientific Central Office in Washington D.C. He returned to Birmingham later in the year but in 1943 went back to the USA to join the Manhattan project at Los Alamos working on the atomic bomb. After the war Oliphant and Moon resumed their work to build up research in nuclear physics at Birmingham. Cyclotron work begun before the war was continued and a proton synchrotron became operational in the early 1950s.

 

Moon was appointed Reader in 1943 and Professor in 1946. On Oliphant's move to the Australian National University at Canberra in 1950, Moon succeeded him in the Poynting Chair of Physics. He held this post until retirement in 1974. He was Head of Department of Physics until 1970 and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering 1969-1972.

 

Moon made a number of important contributions to physics. The citation of Moon for the Royal Society Hughes Medal noted his work in three main areas: 'nuclear physics, the discovery of gamma-ray resonances, and the use of colliding molecular beams to study chemical reactions'. In the 1930s at Imperial College London, working with J.R. Tillman, he had demonstrated the existence of 'thermal' neutrons and during the war after work on radar he joined the 'Tube Alloys' project working on developing the atomic bomb. Returning to the University of Birmingham after the war Moon resumed work with the cyclotron and saw the completion of the Proton Synchrotron, the first synchrotron of its type in the world to work at full power. He also developed a technique for observing the resonant scattering of gamma rays by nuclei using high-speed rotors.

 

Moon was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1947. He gave the Royal Society's Rutherford Memorial Lecture on a visit to Australia in 1975 and was awarded its Hughes Medal in 1991. Moon died on 9 October 1994.

Publication Notes:
  • For further information on Moon see 'Philip Burton Moon' by W.E. Burcham and G.R. Isaak, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 42, 1996, 249-264.

Creator Names:
  • Moon, Philip Burton, 1907-1994, physicist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • The papers were received in July 1997 from the University of Birmingham Library. They comprise papers deposited with the University of Birmingham Library by Mr A.E. Moon, son, and further material assembled by Professor W.E. Burcham while preparing the Royal Society Biographical Memoir of Moon.

Conditions of access:

NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THIS COLLECTION MAY YET BE AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

THE ARCHIVIST, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM LIBRARY BIRMINGHAM

Note:

Compiled by: Timothy E. Powell and Peter Harper

 

The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The Geological Society

 

The Higher Education Funding Council for England

 

The Institute of Physics

 

The Royal Society

 

The Wellcome Trust

"
Related Material:
  • In a note written after completion of the Royal Society Biographical Memoir of Moon (see NCUACS 69.7.97/A.13), Professor W.E. Burcham noted that:

     

    Further biographical material was held by Mrs Lorna Moon (widow) and Mr Anthony E. Moon (son). Papers relating to Moon were also to be found in School of Physics files deposited with the University Archives.

Link to NRA Record:

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