Reference numberJHJ
TitleSir James Hopwood Jeans Papers
CreatorJeans, Sir James Hopwood, (1877-1946) Knight Physicist and Mathematician
DescriptionSome correspondence, papers, notebooks and publications of Sir James Hopwood Jeans O.M. (1877-1946), mathematician, physicist and astronomer, Secretary of the Royal Society 1919-1929, and Vice President 1938-1940. Early manuscripts in the series relate to Jeans' education at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the form of early lecture notebooks, largely on mathematical topics. A collection of letters, 1901-1907, documents Jeans' treatment for tuberculosis at Ringwood Sanatorium, Hampshire, and Mundesley Sanotorium, Norfolk, where he completed work on the theory of gases; correspondents included, among others, G H Hardy FRS (1877-1947) and Adam Sedgewick FRS (1854-1913). Jeans' engagements in popularizing science are represented by proofs and typescript of lectures and essays, especially those written for the BBC, 1934-1935, and the Royal Institution, 1933-1944, together with associated letters and press cuttings, including correspondence regarding spiritualism with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1857-1930). The series contains collections of offprints, reprints, and extracts of published works by Jeans notably from the 'Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society' and 'Nature'. The mask of Jeans' face taken after death, was suggested to his widow by the conservationist and author Joy Adamson, who was present when Jeans died.
Extent13 boxes (1 outsize), 9 notebooks
ArrangementThis catalogue is based on a rough descriptive handlist which grouped the different categories of papers. The list has now been extended, with the material catalogued to item level.
Arranged by section as follows:
1 Notebooks
2 Correspondence with Jeans, 1901-1907
3 Talks and Lectures
4 Publications
5 Drafts and manuscripts
6 Reviews
7 Jeans' Death Mask
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyBorn in Ormskirk, Lancashire on 11 September 1877. Moved to London in 1880. A precocious child, he had a passion for clocks, writing a booklet about them at the age of nine. He attended Merchant Taylor's School from 1890-1896, then entered Trinity College where he was second wrangler on the mathematical tripos in 1898. While recovering from a tubercular infection of the joints, he took a first class on part two of the tripos in 1900 and was awarded a Smith's Prize. In 1901 he was elected a fellow of Trinity College, obtaining his MA in 1903. In 1904 he published his first treatise <i>Dynamical Theory of Gases</i> which became a standard textbook. Two further textbooks ( <i>Theoretical Mechanics</i> (1906) and <i>The Mathematical Theory of Electricity and Magnetism</i> (1906) ) followed while he was professor of applied mathematics at Princeton University from 1906-1909. In 1910 he was appointed Stokes lecturer in applied mathematics at Cambridge, a position he retained until 1912, when he retired and devoted himself to mathematical research. His 'Report on Radiation and the Quantum Theory' in 1914 helped spread acceptance of quantum theory. Until this time he had been interested in molecular physics; then he turned his attention to astronomy, working on the equilibrium of rotating masses, culminating in his Adams Prize Essay <i>Problems of Cosmogony and Stellar Dynamics</i> in 1919. He continued to work on astrophysical problems, producing <i>Astronomy and Cosmogony</i> in 1928. From 1928, he occupied himself with the popularization of science, beginning with a series of lectures which served as a source for <i>The Universe Around Us</i> in 1929, followed by other publications in his fluent and stimulating style, though to his final books <i>Physics and Philosophy</i> in 1943 and <i>The Growth of Physical Science</i> in 1947, which were more historical and restrained. In 1907 he married Charlotte Tiffany Mitchell, an American from a wealthy family, by whom he had one daughter. Charlotte died in 1934, and he subsequently married Suzanne Hock, a concert organist. They had three children. Jeans died on 16 September 1946 of coronary thrombosis.
Related materialRelated Material in the Royal Society:
'Sir James Hopwood Jeans', <i>Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society</i>, 1945-1948, Vol 5, pp573-589, plate, by E A Milne.
Council Documents: Letter from Jeans re. British Empire Cancer Campaign (BECC), 11 December 1923 (CD/185); Letter from Jeans to Sir Richard Glazebrook, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society re International Convention on Scientific Property, 10 February 1928 (CD/847)
Miscellaneous Correspondence: Letter from Jeans re. addition to a paper he has just submitted to the Royal Society, 25 February 1903 (MC/03124); Letter from Jeans to Secretary of the Royal Society, 14 May 1906, re. Jeans' election as a Fellow. Jeans asks if his induction ceremony can be postponed until his return to England from Princeton (MC/06329); Letter from Jeans to William Harrison, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. Jeans' delivery of the Bakerian Lecture, 22 April 1917 (MC/17152); Letter from Jeans to William Harrison, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. minutes of the Society. Jeans explains he did not withdraw the second part of his motion and wants the minutes changed accordingly. 22 April 1917 (MC/18095); Letter from Jeans to William Harrison, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. payments of Fellows' Annual submissions. n.d. (MC/19114); Letter from Jeans to Francis Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. payment of his Annual subs. c.1920s (MC/21086); Letter from Jeans to Francis Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. payment of Fellows' Annual subs (MC/21087); Letter from Jeans to Francis Towle, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society, re. the wording of a report (on International Science?). c.1920s (MC/22056). Correspondence with Arthur Schuster: SC/99
Related Material elsewhere:
Nuffield College Library, Oxford University , correspondence with Lord Cherwell 1916-1931; California Institute of Technology Archives, correspondence with George Hale, 1917-1932; Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library, University of Texas at Austin, 23 letters to Sir Owen Richardson; Manuscript Collections, British Library, correspondence of Jeans and his wife with Marie Stopes, 1934-1957.
Fellows associated with this archive
NA1226Jeans; Sir; James Hopwood (1877 - 1946); physicist and mathematician1877 - 1946
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