Record

Reference numberFS
LevelFonds
TitlePapers of Sir Francis (Franz) Eugen Simon
Date1906-1956
DescriptionCorrespondence, articles and working papers of Sir Francis (Franz) Eugen Simon, physicist and FRS.

There are twelve notebooks with some associated papers; the collection also includes files of lectures, articles, cuttings and souvenirs, including photographs, with files of correspondence.

Two later additions to the collection consist of correspondence and files highlighting Simon's contacts with industrial firms, universities and international organisations.

Scientific notebooks in the collection date from 1919-1934, largely the period of Simon's researches on low temperature physics at the Physikalisch-Chemisches Institut of Berlin University, and subsequently at Breslau.

Other notes and manuscripts for lectures and articles are post 1930, by which time Simon had moved to Oxford.

The largest group of papers are the correspondence files from the years 1922-1956, which provide a full account of Simon's dealings with many fellow scientists and scientific organisations.

Individual letter files include correspondence with VM Goldsmidt FRS (1888-1947), Max Born FRS (1882-1970), Gwyn Owain Jones (b.1917), DKC MacDonald FRS (1920-1963) and Nevill Mott FRS (b.1905) among many other notable figures.

Details of Simon's involvement in atomic energy development are to be found in papers on uranium isotope separation (MAUD Committee notes) and UK Atomic Energy Authority correspondence.

Simon's professional appointments as head of the Clarendon Laboratory and as science correspondent to the 'Financial Times' are represented by substantial groups of letters.
LanguageEnglish
German
Extent(21 linear feet) 57 boxes
Arrangement1 Personal Papers,
2 Academic Research: Berlin and Breslau, 1919-1933
3 Academic Research: Oxford, 1933-1956
4 Publications and lectures, 1922-1956
5 Committee Membership, 1948-1956
6 Conferences and Overseas Visits, 1932-1956
7 Correspondence, 1922-1956

By file number, title and chronological extent.
Finding aidsHandlist by Joan Pye at Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre in 1969. 1993 additions sorted by Raj Williamson, handlist amended.
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyReceived a classical education, but developed a strong interest in science and went to Munich in 1912 to read physics. Called up for military service in 1913, and from 1914-1918 served as lieutenant in field artillery. Resumed his studies at University of Berlin in 1919, and in 1920 started work for his Ph.D under Walther Nernst who is known for his heat theorem or third law of themodynamics. Simon's research concerned measurement of specific heats at low temperatures, which remained the basis of his scientific interest throughout his life. He received his doctorate in 1921 and in 1924 became 'Privatdozent', then associate professor in 1927. In 1931 he was appointed to the chair of Physical Chemistry at the Technical University of Breslau, and spent part of 1932 as visiting professor at Berkeley. In June 1933 he resigned and accepted the invitation of FA Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell) (1886-1957) to work at the Clarendon Laboratory in Oxford where KAG Mendelssohn (1906-1980) one of his former co-workers had set up a helium liquefaction plant. He was accompanied by Nicholas Kurti (1908-1998), another member of his Berlin School. In 1935 he was appointed Reader in Thermodynamics, and Professor 1945-1956. He succeeded Lindemann as Lee Professor of Experimental Philosophy, but died only a few weeks after his appointment. Elected to Royal Society in 1941, and received Rumford Medal in 1948. Received the first Kamerlingh Onnes Medal of the Dutch Institute of Refrigeration in 1950; the Linde Medal in 1952. Also in 1952 he was elected a honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his war work on atomic energy he received the CBE in 1946. Knighted in 1955.

Simon was chairman of the Commission of Very Low Temperatures of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and of the First Commission of the International Institute of Refrigeration. From 1948-1950 Simon was a member of the Council of the Royal Society and of the Committee set up in 1950 by the National Physical Laboratory to investigate the possible utilization of solar energy. He also served as a member of the Research Council of the British Electricity Authority.
Related materialRelated Material in the Royal Society:
Simon's correspondence with Blackett, Blackett papers (PB)

Related material elsewhere:
Nuffield College Library, Oxford University holds 1933-1956 correspondence with Lord Cherwell; University of Bristol Special Collections holds 1949-1955 correspondence with Sir Charles Frank; Museum of Natural History, Oxford University holds letters to Octavius Pickard-Cambridge.
Fellows associated with this archive
CodeNameDates
NA1722Simon; Sir; Franz Eugen (1893 - 1956); Physicist1893 - 1956
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