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Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943) Papers, 1939-1988
1.5 Linear feet
Collection number: MA.01016

Abstract:
Amherst College alumnus (1943), instructor and later professor of physics at Amherst College, 1947-1990. Collection includes Benson's class notes and exams from college and graduate school; teaching notes and assignments from courses he taught at Amherst; draft articles about physics that he wrote, along with reprints of his published articles; material from college-wide faculty committees on which he served; and a small number of photographs and pieces of incoming correspondence.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943) Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Bruce B. Benson(AC 1943) Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

Bruce Buzzell Benson was born in 1922 in Choteau Montana, and enjoyed his alliterative name, often signing notes as "B3." He graduated with a B.S. in Physics from Amherst College in 1943 and received an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1945 and 1947, respectively. Benson taught physics at Amherst College from 1947 until his death in 1990. He also served as an associate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1957-1967. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958. Benson's research specialties were nuclear physics and oceanography. His wife, Lucy Wilson Benson, was very involved with liberal politics and policy on a state and national level, serving in turn as national president of the League of Women Voters, Massachusetts Secretary for Health and Human Services, and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Benson himself was reportedly the first male member of the League of Women Voters. He died in 1990 at the age of 68. In 1997, Harry V. Keefe donated the Keefe Science Library to Amherst in memory of his Amherst College roommate, Bruce Benson.

Scope and Contents

The Bruce B. Benson Papers consist of 1.5 linear feet of material relating to Benson's academic and professional life. A detailed description of the collection contents can be found below in the series descriptions.

The materials are divided into 5 series:

Series 1, STUDENT NOTES and TESTS [1939-1946], are Benson's handwritten notes, along with exam booklets and other assignments from courses he took as an undergraduate at Amherst College and a graduate student at Yale University.

Series 2, TEACHING NOTES and ASSIGNMENTS [1943-1975, undated] includes syllabi, lecture notes, course readings, and assignments for courses that Benson taught. The notes for some classes are written on the backs of assignments from previous courses that Benson taught.

Series 3, PUBLICATIONS AND DRAFT WRITINGS [1946-1984, undated], consists of published and draft physics and oceanographic research by Benson. The earlier part of the Benson's research career apparently focused on nuclear physics, while later in his career he applied his physics knowledge to oceanographic research, in particular researching dissolved gases in salt and freshwater.

Series 4, ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS [1955-1977], includes memos, notes, and reports for Amherst College faculty and administrative committees on which Benson served.

Series 5, PHOTOGRAPHS and CORRESPONDENCE [circa 1960-1988], includes several photographs of Benson involved in teaching or research and three pieces of miscellaneous correspondence addressed to Benson.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943) Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the Bruce B. Benson(AC 1943) Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943) Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection
Custodial history:

The Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943) Papers were donated to Amherst College in two posthumous accessions by Benson's widow, Lucy Wilson Benson. Some of the materials were previously filed with Benson's Alumni Biographic File.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives
Language
English
Related Material

Bruce B. Benson in Alumni Biographical Files. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Bruce B. Benson and photos of his lab in Amherst College Photographer Negatives, 1960-2005. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

Lucy W. Benson in Non-Alumni Biographical Files. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Amherst College Committee Records, 1826-2010. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Sponsor
This work was funded by a grant from the Hellen Ingram Plummer Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Contents List
Series 1, STUDENT NOTES and TESTS [1939-1946]
1939-1946


Arrangement:

Series 1, STUDENT NOTES [1939-1943], is organized in alphabetical order by class department.

Chemistry 1
circa 1939-1941

Box 1: folder 1
Chemistry 2
1941

Box 1: folder 2
Economics 1
circa 1939-1943

Box 1: folder 3
German
1941

Box 1: folder 4
History 1
circa 1939-1943

Box 1: folder 5
Math 2b
circa 1939-1943

Box 1: folder 6
Math 5c (Professor Brown)
circa 1940-1943

Box 1: folder 7
Math 9
circa 1940-1943

Box 1: folder 8
Introduction to Modern Physics
circa 1939-1941

Box 1: folder 9
Physics 2
1941-1942

Box 1: folder 10
Physics 3
1941-1942

Box 1: folder 11
Physics 100
circa 1942-1943

Box 1: folder 12
Physics 104 notes
1943-1944

Box 1: folder 13
Physics 104 Reports
1943-1944

Box 1: folder 14
"Report on Geiger Counter Work"
1944

Box 1: folder 15
Nuclear Physics notes
1945-1946

Box 1: folder 16
Exams
1941-1943, undated

Box 1: folder 17
Undergraduate physics exams
circa 1939-1943

Box 1: folder 18
Series 2, TEACHING NOTES and ASSIGNMENTS [1943-1975, undated]
1943-1975, undated


Arrangement:

Series 2, TEACHING NOTES and ASSIGNMENTS, is arranged in order of course number.

Colloquium 12, Spring 1973
1972-1973

Box 1: folder 19
Colloquium 12, Spring 1974
1974

Box 1: folder 20
Colloquium 12, Spring 1975
1974-1975

Box 1: folder 21
Colloquium 12 readings
undated

Box 1: folder 22
Mechanics 26
undated

Box 1: folder 23
Physics 14 schedule and notes
undated

Box 1: folder 24
Physics 14
1967-1970

Box 1: folder 25
Physics 26
1972

Box 1: folder 26
Physics 46 notes


Box 1: folder 27
Physics 48 (includes Physics 41 assigments from 1943)
1943, undated

Box 1: folder 28
Physics 54 exams and notes
1957-1960

Box 1: folder 29
Physics 54 exams and answers
1961

Box 1: folder 30
Physics 58 worksheets
1962

Box 1: folder 31
Physics 58 exams, answer sheets, notes, and class list
1967

Box 1: folder 32
Physics 71 (Modern Physics) notes and assignments
1947-1950

Box 1: folder 33
Physics exams (various courses)
1947-1950

Box 1: folder 34
Physics problems
undated

Box 1: folder 35
Series 3, PUBLICATIONS AND DRAFT WRITINGS [1946-1984, undated]
1946-1984, undated


Arrangement:

Series 3, PUBLICATIONS AND DRAFT WRITINGS [1946-1984, undated], is arranged chronologically by publication date.

Publications on Gamma and Proton rays
1946-1948

Box 1: folder 36
Drafts and publications on ocean water isotopes
1959-1961

Box 1: folder 37
Publications on aqueous isotopes
1973-1984

Box 1: folder 38
"Oscillatory motion" draft
undated

Box 1: folder 39
"Ultra high-speed photography" draft
undated

Box 1: folder 40
Series 4, ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS [1956-1977]
1956-1977


Committee on Future Size
1956-1957

Box 2: folder 1
Committee on Future Size
1958

Box 2: folder 2
"Report of the Committee on the Future Size of the College and Related Subjects"
1958

Box 2: folder 3
President's Advisory Committee (1 of 2)
1960-1961

Box 2: folder 4
President's Advisory Committee (2 of 2)
1960-1961

Box 2: folder 5
"Fund-raising potentials for Amherst College"
1961

Box 2: folder 6
Science at Amherst
1960-1962

Box 2: folder 7
Honorary degree committee
1975-1977

Box 2: folder 8
Series 5, PHOTOGRAPHS and CORRESPONDENCE [circa 1960-1988]
circa 1960-1988


Photographs
circa 1960-1969

Box 2: folder 9
Correspondence to Benson
1964-1988

Box 2: folder 10

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Amherst College -- Alumni and alumnae -- Sources
  • Amherst College -- Faculty -- Sources
  • Benson, Bruce B. (Bruce Buzzell)
  • Oceanography
  • Physics -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Massachusetts -- Amherst


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