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Oral History
David Wood Oral History Interview with Shirley K. Cohen [sound recording]

An interview in two sessions in 1994 with David S. Wood, Caltech professor of materials science (1950-1988), associate dean of students (1968-1974), and alumnus (BS, 1941; MS, 1946; PhD, 1949). He recalls growing up in Sierra Madre, California, and attending school in Pasadena; family friendship with Russell Porter leads to application to Caltech; bachelor's in 1941. Recalls engineering program in the late 1930s: professors F. Thomas, D. Clark, R. Knapp, F. Converse, H. Clapp; employment with B. Sage and Knapp; Caltech's Pump Lab. Develops interest in metallurgy; work with D. Clark in Impact Lab to study properties of metals. Wartime work on metals with P. Duwez; towards end of war goes to Los Alamos to work on mechanical design of uranium 235 (atomic) bomb; meets later colleagues R. Christy, R. Walker, R. Bacher, and R. Feynman. Postwar return to Caltech; graduate study and thesis on rapid load testing machine; cutaway drawing by R. Porter. Begins collaboration with Thad Vreeland; theory of dislocations in crystals. Recalls Caltech in postwar period and Lee A. DuBridge's presidency. Becomes associate dean of students (1968, under dean P. Eaton); organizes Freshman Camp; involvement with minority students program. Recalls participation with his wife Connie in campus musicals written by Kent Clark and Elliot Davis. Consulting work; work on stress analysis for industry. Remarks about improvement in pedagogy at Caltech; notes Feynman's lectures in physics as starting point of that trend.

ID: 1994-00088
Wood, David Shotwell (Materials scientist)

Creation May. 25, 1994 through Jun. 1, 1994

MEDIUM: Sound recording; FORMAT: Sound cassette: analog; QUANTITY: 1 set (2 cassettes per set)

Topics: Engineering

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