Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Owen Chamberlain papers
Date (inclusive): 1941-2006
Collection Number: BANC MSS 2002/345 z
Chamberlain, O. (Owen)
Number of containers: 22 cartons, 1 oversize folder
Linear feet: 27.5
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: The Owen Chamberlain Papers, 1941-2006, consist of materials documenting Chamberlain's career as a Professor of Physics at
the University of California, Berkeley and researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There is comparatively
little material focused on Chamberlain's own scientific research.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information
on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce must be submitted
in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.
Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted
to research and educational purposes.
[Identification of item], Owen Chamberlain Papers, BANC MSS 2002/345 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Owen Chamberlain interview [sound recording] / conducted by Bob and Betty Lewis, 1976.
Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
Audiovisual materials have been transferred to the Microforms Collection of The Bancroft Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Physics
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
History of science and technology collection
The Owen Chamberlain Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Owen Chamberlain on February 26, 2001.
No additions are expected.
Processed by Charles Hargrove in 2006.
Owen Chamberlain was born in San Francisco on July 10, 1920, the son of W. Edward Chamberlain, radiologist, and Genevieve
Lucinda Owen. He obtained his bachelor's degree at Dartmouth College in 1941 and entered graduate school in physics at the
University of California, Berkeley. After the United States entered into World War II, Chamberlain began working on the Manhattan
Project under Emilio Segrè. In 1946 Chamberlain resumed his graduate studies under Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago.
He completed experimental work in 1948 and received his doctorate in 1949.
In 1948 he accepted a teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley. Much of his research subsequent to this
involved studies of proton scattering and polarization effects. Chamberlain worked extensively with Emilio Segrè and Clyde
Wiegand, Dr. Thomas Ypsilantis, and Dr. Robert D. Tripp. In 1955 Chamberlain, along with Wiegand, Segrè, and Ypsilantis discovered
the antiproton, an accomplishment for which he and Segrè were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1959.
Chamberlain was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1958.
For the next few years he and his colleagues studied the properties of antiprotons and used them to create antineutrons.
During the 1960s and 1970s he spent much of his time on the scattering of various subatomic particles using polarized proton
targets. During the late 1970s and early 1980s Chamberlain worked with the Berkeley Bevalac accelerator to study nuclear
interactions. His last major project was working with Dr. David Nygren on the development of the Time-Projection-Chamber at
the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
In addition to his scientific endeavors, Chamberlain was also politically active, concentrating on issues of peace and social
justice. He spoke out strongly against the Vietnam War. He was an influential member of Scientists for Sakharov, Orlov,
and Shcharansky, three physicists of the Soviet Union imprisoned for their political beliefs. In the 1980s, he helped found
the nuclear freeze movement.
Chamberlain was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959 and throughout his career, received numerous other professional
honors. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a
member of the American Physical Society. In 1957 he studied antinucleons at the University of Rome through the auspices of
a Guggenheim Fellowship. Upon his retirement from UC Berkeley, he received the campus's highest honor, the Berkeley Citation.
In 1943 he married Beatrice Babette Copper (dec. 1988). They had three daughters and one son. He subsequently married June
Steingart Greenfield (dec. 1991) and Senta Pugh Gaiser.
Chamberlain was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1985 and retired from teaching in 1989. He died of complications from
the disease on February 28, 2006, in Berkeley at the age of 85.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Owen Chamberlain Papers, 1941-2006, consist of materials documenting Chamberlain's career as a Professor of Physics at
the University of California, Berkeley and researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Much of the collection
relates to his involvement in the social justice and nuclear disarmament movements, as well as materials relating to his teaching
career at the University of California, Berkeley. The collection also contains personal and professional correspondence,
reprints, subject files, materials relating to Chamberlain's 1959 Nobel Prize, professional meeting materials, and files regarding
a lawsuit filed against Chamberlain in 1972 for an alleged failure to acknowledge the contributions of Emilio Piccioni in
discovering the anti-proton. There is comparatively little material focused on Chamberlain's own scientific research. The
collection is arranged at the series level only. There was minimal arrangement of materials within the individual series.