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Simon Foner papers

Identifier: MC-0666

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the professional activities of Simon Foner between circa 1956 to 1997.

Materials include: computation books, research notebooks, correspondence, and reprints.


  • circa 1956-1997


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Simon Foner, 1925-2007, was a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) specializing in high-field pulsed magnet technology. He is most well known for the development of vibrating sample magnetometers. (1) Foner received his BS in 1947, his MA in 1948, and PhD in 1952 all from what is now Carnegie Mellon University.

From 1944 to 1946 he served in the US Navy testing sonar equipment. (2) Foner joined the MIT Lincoln Lab in 1953 as a staff physicist and worked there until the founding of his joint effort Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory (FBNML) in 1961. There he worked as a project lead until being promoted to chief scientist in 1977. (3) In 1988 Foner took a 2 year term as associate professor of the FBNML. (4) He was also a senior research scientist for the physics department at MIT.

Foner was a highly published author with over 400 papers and 4 books in his name but is more often noted for his extensive activity in his field. He served as chair for the American Physical Society (APS) Condensed Matter Physics Division (1978-1986), chair of the Institute of Electrical And Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Magnetics Society (2000), and an advisory editor for the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (1975-1989). In addition Foner hosted four North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Advanced Study Institutes between 1970 and 1980. (5) He has received a multitude of awards for his work, most notably the Joseph F. Keithley Award (APS, 1999) and the Millennium Medal (IEEE, 2000). (6) Foner continued to be active in his various positions until his passing in 2007.

1. MIT News. “Lincoln Lab’s Foner, 82, and Sandholm, 76.” Accessed May 7, 2020.

2. Physics Today. “Obituary of Simon Foner,” November 15, 2007.

3. MIT News. “Lincoln Lab’s Foner, 82, and Sandholm, 76.”

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of the President. “Reports to the President 1989-90,” 1990.

5. Physics Today. “Obituary of Simon Foner,”

6. MIT News. “Lincoln Lab’s Foner, 82, and Sandholm, 76.”


19 Cubic Feet (19 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Appraisal note


Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.


Guide to the Papers of Simon Foner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 May: Biographical note by Ashlynn August added.
  • 2021 August 18: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

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