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Jerrold R. Zacharias papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0031

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Notebooks from the MIT Radiation Laboratory (1942-1947), correspondence about the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science and the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and information about his research on atomic clocks and molecular beams document Zacharias's scientific work. There is extensive correspondence with colleagues and professional organizations about scientific and educational issues. Correspondence documents his work on the Physical Science Study Committee and there are reports, correspondence, proposals, and drafts from the Educational Development Center about curriculum, language and testing. Also included are subject files on arms control. Copies of Zacharias's writings describe his views on matters of scientific and public policy. Biographical information and personal materials include his diaries, a 1965 festschrift, a volume of papers dedicated to Zacharias from the Unified Science Study Program, letters of condolence received by his wife, Leona, at his death in 1986, and photographs and scrapbooks.

Box 6 contains video and audio recordings of three sessions of discussion and reminiscence organized by Jack Goldstein "around" I.I. Rabi. Session dates were December 16, 1983, March 29, 1984, November 15, 1985.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1986


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.


Jerrold Reinach Zacharias, 1905-1986, AB 1926, MA 1927, PhD 1932, Columbia University, joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Radiation Laboratory as head of the division on radar transmitter components in 1940, and in 1945 went to Los Alamos to direct the engineering division of the Manhattan Project. He returned to MIT in 1946 as professor of physics and director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, which he headed for ten years. He was named Institute Professor in 1966. He was a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Zacharias was also recognized as a leader in educational reform; he organized the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) in 1956, which developed new methods for teaching physics in high schools. In 1958 he served as director for academic affairs for Educational Services, Inc. (ESI) which later became the Educational Development Center, Inc. (EDC). The focus of his scientific research was on the radio frequency spectra of atoms; his investigations led to the development of the first useful atomic clock.


38 Cubic Feet (35 record cartons, 5 manuscript boxes, 1flat storage box, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



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

Related Materials in the Institute Archives

Leona Zacharias Papers (MC 521).

Educational Services, Inc. Records (MC 79).

Physical Science Study Committee Records (MC 626).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Oral History Program, Oral History Interviews on the Physical Science Study Committee (MC 602).

Jack S. Goldstein Collection on Jerrold R. Zacharias (MC 646)

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.

Preliminary Inventory to the Papers of Jerrold R. Zacharias
Ready For Review
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
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Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US