Henry DeWolf Smyth

Physicist, Academic

1898 – 1986

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Who was Henry DeWolf Smyth?

Henry DeWolf "Harry" Smyth was an American physicist, diplomat, and bureaucrat. He played a number of key roles in the early development of nuclear energy, as a participant in the Manhattan Project, a member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Educated at Princeton University and the University of Cambridge, he was a faculty member in Princeton's Department of Physics from 1924 to 1966. He chaired the department from 1935 to 1949. His early research was on the ionization of gases, but his interests shifted toward nuclear physics beginning in the mid-1930s.

During World War II he was a member of the National Defense Research Committee's Uranium Section and a consultant on the Manhattan Project. He wrote the Manhattan Project's first public official history, which came to be known as the Smyth Report.

On the AEC from 1949 to 1954, Smyth argued unsuccessfully against a crash course to develop the hydrogen bomb and in favor of international control of nuclear weapons. He was the sole member of the commission to vote against stripping J. Robert Oppenheimer's security clearance.

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Born
May 1, 1898
Clinton
Also known as
  • Henry De Wolf Smyth
  • Henry DeWolf "Harry" Smyth
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Bachelor of Arts, Princeton University
    ( - 1918)
  • PhD, University of Cambridge
    Physics
    ( - 1923)
  • Master of Arts, Princeton University
    Physics
    ( - 1920)
  • PhD, Princeton University
    Physics
    ( - 1921)
Lived in
  • Princeton
    ( - 1986/09/11)
Died
Sep 11, 1986
Princeton

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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"Henry DeWolf Smyth." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 8 Dec. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/henry_dewolf_smyth>.

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